News media tracking of tobacco control: a review of sampling methodologies

J Health Commun. 2005 Jul-Aug;10(5):403-17. doi: 10.1080/10810730591009781.


News media tracking can be used to understand the content of news coverage and quantify its influence on public opinion and the social environment. We hypothesize that a parsimonious sampling of public health news coverage can gather statistically equivalent information to capture a census of coverage. We tested two general approaches to sampling. First, we randomly selected articles within a timeframe. Second, we randomly selected dates during 2000. None of these strategies showed a substantial deviation from the 2000 census of articles. We conclude that sampling coverage can produce estimates statistically equivalent to a census. Researchers should utilize coverage sampling.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Databases as Topic
  • Humans
  • Mass Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Newspapers as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health*
  • Public Opinion
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Marketing
  • Tobacco Industry*