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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 9 Media coverage was measured using The Associated Press (AP). AP is used by over 6,000 broadcast stations and almost 90% of newspapers in the US (Fan, Brosius, & Kepplinger, 1994; Fan & Tims, 1989; Fan, 1988) , and is a valid representation of the national news environment (Fan et al., 1994; Fan & Tims, 1989; Fan, 1988) . However, the reliance on only one news source precludes estimations of the absolute quantity of skin cancer news coverage. The unit of analysis was a story primarily about skin cancer, identified using a process of successive filtration. First, an open search term was developed to capture every story primarily about skin cancer. Based on formative research we have been conducting, we have found that search terms that contain at least 3 mentions of cancer retrieve 86% of all stories primarily about cancer. To be more inclusive, the open search term we used retrieved all stories that made two mentions of skin cancer, melanoma, squamous cell, or basal cell. The open search term retrieved 1587 AP stories between September 1979 and September 2002. For descriptions of news coverage over time, stories were grouped from September to August of each year. This was done for practical rather than substantive reasons; data collection ended in September 2002, and such a grouping would allow for the inclusion of recent skin cancer articles. Articles were reviewed for their relevance, and two coders applied the coding instrument to any article primarily about skin cancer. Intercoder reliability was established on a sample of 80 stories. All variables (including whether or not an article was primarily about skin cancer) had Kappas no less than .70. Of the 1587 articles retrieved by the open search term, 55.5% (N = 880) were primarily about skin cancer. All of the articles were coded for the primary topic (celebrity experience; new research; policy; or other), types of skin cancer discussed, whether or not risk was discussed, and whether

Authors: Stryker, Jo. and Solky, Benjamin.
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Skin cancer news coverage
9
Media coverage was measured using The Associated Press (AP). AP is used by over 6,000
broadcast stations and almost 90% of newspapers in the US
(Fan, Brosius, & Kepplinger,
1994; Fan & Tims, 1989; Fan, 1988)
, and is a valid representation of the national news
environment
(Fan et al., 1994; Fan & Tims, 1989; Fan, 1988)
. However, the reliance on only
one news source precludes estimations of the absolute quantity of skin cancer news coverage.
The unit of analysis was a story primarily about skin cancer, identified using a process
of successive filtration. First, an open search term was developed to capture every story
primarily about skin cancer. Based on formative research we have been conducting, we have
found that search terms that contain at least 3 mentions of cancer retrieve 86% of all stories
primarily about cancer. To be more inclusive, the open search term we used retrieved all stories
that made two mentions of skin cancer, melanoma, squamous cell, or basal cell. The open
search term retrieved 1587 AP stories between September 1979 and September 2002. For
descriptions of news coverage over time, stories were grouped from September to August of
each year. This was done for practical rather than substantive reasons; data collection ended in
September 2002, and such a grouping would allow for the inclusion of recent skin cancer
articles.
Articles were reviewed for their relevance, and two coders applied the coding
instrument to any article primarily about skin cancer. Intercoder reliability was established on a
sample of 80 stories. All variables (including whether or not an article was primarily about skin
cancer) had Kappas no less than .70. Of the 1587 articles retrieved by the open search term,
55.5% (N = 880) were primarily about skin cancer.
All of the articles were coded for the primary topic (celebrity experience; new research;
policy; or other), types of skin cancer discussed, whether or not risk was discussed, and whether


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