Monitoring injury reporting in selected Australian media: a potential advocacy strategy?
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Issue addressed: This review of injury articles describes how selected primary print media sources in Australia report injury events and explores how this may impact on public perception of the injury risk and the opportunities it may present to health professionals. Methods: Media articles specific to injury, compiled by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (PHAIWA) through their MediaWatch service during 2011, were collated and analysed. Articles were gathered from The West Australian, The Australian and The Sunday Times newspapers and ABC Online. Each article was categorised into injury topics and target groups, and preventive strategies were identified. Results: Of the 546 articles that contained injury as a key word, 424 articles were used for the present study. The majority of articles related to community-based injuries (65%) and the most frequent reported injury was violence and assault. The results also indicate that although there is regular media reporting on injury issues, only one-fifth of reports discuss possible preventive measures.Conclusions: Selected Australian newspapers and the ABC Online are important and low-cost sources of injury-related information for the general public and can impact how the public perceives injury. It is important for public health professionals to embrace media advocacy strategies to assist in influencing and setting local public policy. So what?: Public attitudes and understanding of issues are influenced by media coverage. Media monitoring is one tool to track what media sources are reporting about public health issues, the industry and stakeholders. Influencing the quantity and quality of media coverage is critical to advancing healthy public policy, particularly when advocating for prevention strategies to be reported and acted upon. Advocacy is an important health promotion strategy; it is therefore important for health professionals to understand media advocacy and position public health issues as societal issues with policy solutions.
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