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Media response to colon cancer campaigns in Switzerland 2005-2007: regional newspapers are the most reliable among the printed media

Carine F Wang-Buholzer, Marta Lomazzi and Bettina Borisch*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Geneva, University Medical Centre, rue Michel Servet 1, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:177  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-177

Published: 24 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Health campaigns are frequently covered by printed media, but coverage is not homogeneous across different types of newspapers. Switzerland as a multilinguistic country with many newspapers offers a good field for study. A better understanding of how printed media report on national campaigns against colon cancer in the three main linguistic regions may help to improve future public health interventions. Therefore, we analyzed articles published between 2005 and 2007 during the campaigns "Darmkrebs-nie?" and "Self-Care" in the German, French and Italian regions of Switzerland.

Findings

Some 65% of articles reporting on colon cancer were in German, 23% and 12% were in French and Italian respectively. During the campaign, topics linked to colon cancer were increasingly covered by the media. Regional newspapers (66%) reported significantly more about colon cancer and produced the most detailed articles.

Both gain- and loss-framed messages have been used by journalists, whereas the campaigns used merely gain-framed messages. Latin (French and Italian) newspapers mixed gain- and loss-framed messages in the same articles, while German articles mainly used a single frame throughout.

Conclusions

Swiss-German papers reported more about the topic and the reporting was quantitatively and qualitatively more prominent in regional papers. The press followed the campaigns closely only during the period of campaigning, with high coverage. We propose to consider the regional press as an important vehicle of health information. Moreover, slight differences in framing can be observed between German and Latin articles.