Characteristics of genetics-related news content in black weekly newspapers

C. A. Caburnay, P. Babb, K. A. Kaphingst, J. Roberts, S. Rath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background/Aims/Objectives: The media are an important source of health information, especially for those with less access to regular health care. Black news outlets such as Black newspapers are a source of health information for African Americans. This study characterized media coverage of genetics-related information in Black weekly newspapers and general audience newspapers from the same communities. Methods: All health stories in a sample of 24 Black weekly newspapers and 12 general audience newspapers from January 2004 to December 2007 were reviewed for genetics-related stories. These stories were further coded for both journalistic and public health variables. Results: Of all health-related stories identified, only 2% (n = 357) were considered genetics related. Genetics-related stories in Black newspapers - compared to those in general audience newspapers - were larger, more locally and racially relevant, and more likely to contain recommendations or action steps to improve health or reduce disease risks and to mention the importance of knowing one's family history. Stories in general audience newspapers were more likely to discuss causes of disease, mention genetic testing or therapy, and suggest a high/moderate degree of genetic determinism. Conclusions: Black newspapers are a viable communication channel to disseminate findings and implications of human genome research to African American audiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • African Americans
  • Black newspaper
  • Cancer disparities
  • News


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