This study investigates an association between press release and news media response on tobacco-related issues in South Korea. We retrieved 231 tobacco-related newspaper articles from all major dailies throughout the year 2005. In total, 37 press releases on tobacco-related issues and policies published by the Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare were obtained from the Ministry website. Content analysis and appropriate statistical tests were performed. Results from our content analysis suggest that producing more press releases on tobacco-related issues may result in a greater volume of newspaper articles, and that a press release on a new topical issue may effect more intense media coverage. Findings also show that when Korean newspaper articles overall held less favorable views of tobacco-related policies and programs in 2005, taxation was the most frequent theme with a non-positive opinion. Findings from our multivariate logistic regression models imply that a newspaper article with a source press release-especially about a new topical issue-is more likely than an article without a source press release to discuss tobacco-related issues more positively. Our findings suggest that a press release may serve as an effective media strategy for reaching out to the public by disseminating tobacco-control efforts and policies.
Keywords: news coverage; newspaper; press release; smoking; tobacco control.