Subject and source trends in the Star Tribune's coverage of the medical literature.

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Abstract

Medical developments are front-page news, and many health-related news reports are based on articles from the medical research literature. We analyzed the subjects and sources of literature-based medical news articles that appeared in Minnesota's largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, from May 1994 through December 2002. Data were collected by searching Health and Medicine in the News (http://www.biomed.lib.umn.edu/hmed), an online database that catalogues Star Tribune articles on health and medical topics. The most common topics of the 3,419 literature-based medical news articles appearing during the period were cancer, obesity/diet/exercise, and heart disease. The New England Journal of Medicine was the source cited most often, followed by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Science, and Nature. We compared the most common subjects covered in the news articles with those covered in MEDLINE and with the most common causes of death in the United States. Diet, smoking, AIDS, and Alzheimer's disease are represented much more often in the Star Tribune than in the medical literature in general, and articles on genetics and pregnancy were found much more often in the medical literature than in this sample of newspaper articles. Cancer and heart disease, which were the first and third most-often-covered topics in the Star Tribune, are 2 of the 3 top causes of death in this country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalMinnesota medicine
Volume86
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003

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