Introduction: Little is known about the impact of media outreach on news media coverage of tobacco control.
Methods: Media outreach data were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health (CDC/OSH) from 2003 to 2006; one to six types of outreach activities for 50 scientific publications were performed during 35 discrete time periods. The authors analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively 205 newspaper articles generated based on the CDC/OSH scientific publications.
Results: Media coverage of specific CDC/OSH-related tobacco themes was highest for disparities (100%) and tobacco statistics (98%). More outreach activities increased the likelihood of moderate pickup of the number of themes in newspaper articles (odds ratio = 2.0, 95% confidence interval = 1.5-2.8), but there appeared to be a ceiling effect. Certain types of outreach were more strongly associated with front page and headline coverage.
Conclusions: The extent and type of outreach were associated with increased newspaper coverage but the relationship is not necessarily straightforward. Additional research is needed to better understand relationships between scientific findings, outreach, and news media coverage of tobacco.