United Kingdom newsprint media reporting on sexual health and blood-borne viruses in 2010

Article English OPEN
Martin, S. ; Hilton, S. ; McDaid, L. (2013)

Background: Improving sexual health and blood-borne virus (BBV) outcomes continue to be of high priority within the United Kingdom (UK) and it is evident that the media can and do impact the public health agenda. This paper presents the first large-scale exploration of UK national newsprint media representations of sexual health and BBVs. Methods: Using keyword searches in electronic databases, 677 articles published during 2010 were identified from 12 national (UK-wide and Scottish) newspapers. Content analysis was used to identify manifest content and to examine the tone of articles. Results: Although there was a mixed picture overall in terms of tone, negatively toned articles, which focussed on failures or blame, were common, particularly within HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and other sexually transmissible infection coverage (41% were assessed as containing negative content; 46% had negative headlines). Differences were found by newspaper genre, with ‘serious’ newspaper articles appearing more positive and informative than ‘midmarket’ newspapers or ‘tabloids’. Across the sample, particular individuals, behaviours and risk groups were focussed on, not always accurately, and there was little mention of deprivation and inequalities (9%). A gender imbalance was evident, particularly within reproductive health articles (71% focussed on women; 23% on men), raising questions concerning gender stereotyping. Conclusions: There is a need to challenge the role that media messages have in the reinforcement of a negative culture around sexual health in the UK and for a strong collective advocacy voice to ensure that future media coverage is positively portrayed.
  • References (28)
    28 references, page 1 of 3

    1 Department of Health (DoH). A framework for sexual health improvement in England. London: DoH; 2010. Available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/142592/9287-2900714-TSOSexualHealthPolicyNW_ACCESSIBLE.pdf [verified September 2013].

    2 Scottish Government. The sexual health and blood borne virus framework 2011-15. Edinburgh: Scottish Government; 2011. Available online at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/ 356286/0120395.pdf [verified September 2013].

    3 Westwood B, Westwood G. Assessment of newspaper reporting of public health and the medical model: a methodological case study. Health Promot Int 1999; 14(1): 53-64. doi:10.1093/heapro/14.1.53

    4 Davidson AE, Wallack L. A content analysis of sexually transmitted diseases in the print news media. J Health Commun 2004; 9(2): 111-7. doi:10.1080/10810730490425268

    5 Glasgow University Media Group. More bad news. London: Routledge; 1980.

    6 Entman RM. Framing: towards clarification of a fractured paradigm. J Commun 1993; 43(4): 51-8. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993. tb01304.x

    7 Pan Z, Kosicki G. Framing analysis: an approach to news discourse. Polit Commun 1993; 10(1): 55-75. doi:10.1080/10584609.1993. 9962963

    8 Iyengar S. Framing responsibility for political issues: the case of poverty. Polit Behav 1990; 12(1): 19-40. doi:10.1007/BF00992330

    9 McCombs ME, Shaw DL. The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opin Q 1972; 36(2): 176-87. doi:10.1086/267990

    10 Hilton S, Hunt K, Langan M, Bedford H, Petticrew M. Newsprint media representations of the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme for cervical cancer prevention in the UK (2005-2008). Soc Sci Med 2010; 70(6): 942-50. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.11.027

  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark