Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 92, Issue 5, pp 372–375 | Cite as

Cancer Coverage in Newspapers Serving Large and Small Communities in Ontario

  • Megan MacDonald
  • Laurie Hoffman-GoetzEmail author


Local newspapers are an important source of health news, especially in small communities. We describe the amount and type of cancer information in Ontario daily newspapers dichotomized by circulation size (>400,000 or <40,000) and community size (>250,000 or <25,000 people) for 1991. All cancer articles (n=1027) in five newspapers with large circulations, serving large communities, and five newspapers with small circulations, serving small communities, were read and evaluated for focus and newsplay. Although large newspapers had an absolute greater number of cancer articles, there were no significant differences by newspaper size in the number of cancer articles per 1,000 pages. Large newspapers included more cancer articles with a scientific vs. human interest focus than did small newspapers (p<0.001). Large newspapers tended to use wire services whereas small newspapers tended to use staff reporters. Differences in the type and amount of cancer information varies by newspaper and community size, potentially contributing to differences in community cancer information resources.


Les journaux sont une source importante de nouvelles sur la santé, surtout dans les petites localités. Pour décrire le nombre et le genre d’informations sur le cancer parues en 1991 dans les quotidiens ontariens, divisés selon leur tirage (>400 000 ou <40 000) et la taille de la localité (>250 000 ou <25 000 habitants), nous avons lu tous les articles sur le cancer (n=1 027) parus dans cinq journaux à grand tirage desservant de grandes localités et dans cinq journaux à faible tirage desservant de petites localités pour en évaluer la perspective et la source. En chiffres absolus, les grands journaux ont publié davantage d’articles sur le cancer, mais par tranche de 1 000 pages, nous n’avons constaté aucune différence significative liée à la taille du journal. Les grands journaux ont publié davantage d’articles sur le cancer de nature scientifique plutôt que d’intérêt général (p<0,001). À la différence des petits journaux, ils ont eu tendance à faire appel aux agences de transmission plutôt qu’à leurs propres reporters. Les différences dans le genre et le nombre d’informations sur le cancer varient selon la taille du journal et de la localité, ce qui pourrait contribuer aux écarts dans les ressources documentaires sur le cancer d’une localité à l’autre.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, Faculty of Applied Health SciencesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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