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Media Content: Televised News

  • By: Zheng Wang & Walter Gantz
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Nearly one out of four American adults very closely tracks news about health. Despite widespread use of the Internet and mobile news technologies, televised news remains an important source for health information. A 2012 report by the Pew Research Center revealed that network, local, and cable news all increased viewership in 2011, with local TV remaining the number one news source for most Americans. Well-established communication theories such as agenda setting, cultivation, social learning, framing, and knowledge gap have underlined how the extent and content of health news coverage can influence knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals—and also impact agendas and actions of institutions and policy makers.

Health Coverage in Television News

The most comprehensive and systematic examination of health content in news was conducted by

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