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A content analysis of news coverage of skin cancer prevention and detection, 1979-2002
Unformatted Document Text:  Skin cancer news coverage 10 or not skin cancer prevention, detection/diagnosis, treatment, and causes were discussed. However, it was possible that a valid story (i.e. one primarily about skin cancer) did not contain any additional educational information. For example, a story about Ronald Reagan’s skin cancer may have reported that the former president was being treated, but contained no other information. Of the 880 stories primarily about skin cancer, 9.4% (83) contained no educational information. Because we content analyzed the census of AP skin cancer stories rather than a sample, our results are not estimates of the “true” values. Hence the point values we present do not require confidence intervals around the values we present are not required. While we selectively provide graphical longitudinal data for some variables we coded, and discuss certain events that stimulated coverage during different time periods, we did not conduct statistical tests of structural differences over time. When we discuss specific events responsible for producing increases in media coverage, this information was based on a review of all of the stories within a certain category. Results The amount of media attention to skin cancer has varied over time (Figure 1). The amount of coverage increased between 1979 and 1987. The most media attention to skin cancer occurred during 1986-1987, with 66 stories primarily about skin cancer. Two factors were responsible for the large number of stories during this time period: 1) Ronald Reagan had a basal cell carcinoma removed from his nose (for the second time), and 2) scientists discovered that the ozone layer (which shields ultraviolet radiation and hence helps protect against skin cancer) was diminishing. Following a small decline between 1987-1990, skin cancer coverage remained relatively stable with approximately 45 stories per year until the present, with the

Authors: Stryker, Jo. and Solky, Benjamin.
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Skin cancer news coverage
10
or not skin cancer prevention, detection/diagnosis, treatment, and causes were discussed.
However, it was possible that a valid story (i.e. one primarily about skin cancer) did not contain
any additional educational information. For example, a story about Ronald Reagan’s skin
cancer may have reported that the former president was being treated, but contained no other
information. Of the 880 stories primarily about skin cancer, 9.4% (83) contained no educational
information.
Because we content analyzed the census of AP skin cancer stories rather than a sample,
our results are not estimates of the “true” values. Hence the point values we present do not
require confidence intervals around the values we present are not required. While we
selectively provide graphical longitudinal data for some variables we coded, and discuss certain
events that stimulated coverage during different time periods, we did not conduct statistical
tests of structural differences over time. When we discuss specific events responsible for
producing increases in media coverage, this information was based on a review of all of the
stories within a certain category.
Results
The amount of media attention to skin cancer has varied over time (Figure 1). The
amount of coverage increased between 1979 and 1987. The most media attention to skin cancer
occurred during 1986-1987, with 66 stories primarily about skin cancer. Two factors were
responsible for the large number of stories during this time period: 1) Ronald Reagan had a
basal cell carcinoma removed from his nose (for the second time), and 2) scientists discovered
that the ozone layer (which shields ultraviolet radiation and hence helps protect against skin
cancer) was diminishing. Following a small decline between 1987-1990, skin cancer coverage
remained relatively stable with approximately 45 stories per year until the present, with the


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