Media reporting of global health issues and events in New Zealand daily newspapers

Health Promot J Austr. 2011 Dec;22(3):228-30. doi: 10.1071/he11228.


Issue addressed: In the context of a globalised world, reports on health that extend personal or country borders have increasing relevance. Media can promote opportunities to identify and address gaps in important global health issues. In light of the potential role of media as an advocacy tool for global health, we examined how global health issues are represented in mainstream media in New Zealand.

Methods: We conducted a content analysis of media reports on global health issues in the four highest circulation newspapers in New Zealand between June 2007 and May 2009. Search terms included 'global health, 'international health' and 'world health'.

Results: Communicable disease was the most frequently reported global health issue in New Zealand newspapers, followed by environment (e.g. climate change), general health risks (unsafe pharmaceuticals) and substance use (tobacco and alcohol). Chronic disease, injury or their determinants were less frequently reported.

Conclusions: Mainstream media favours health-related reports based on crisis, epidemic or acute conditions over chronic or non-communicable diseases or disability. Health issues facing the Asia Pacific region increasingly include chronic diseases, which would benefit from greater media coverage to increase advocacy and political awareness of global health challenges.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Global Health / classification*
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • New Zealand
  • Newspapers as Topic / statistics & numerical data*