The Cultural Competence of Health Journalists: Obesity Coverage in Four Urban News Organizations

Dianne M. Garyantes, Priscilla Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study sought to identify indicators of cultural competence in 670 news stories covering obesity by four urban news organizations: two mainstream newspapers and two ethnic newspapers serving the African-American and Hispanic communities. Through semantic network analysis, the research found that the news organizations converged on five themes: unhealthy lifestyle, food access and education, healthy lifestyle, public policy, and research. Public policy solutions were favored by the mainstream newspapers, while self-efficacy was emphasized in the ethnic papers. In all four newspapers, indicators of cultural competence were mixed. Ethnic newspapers showed particular competence in certain areas, such as community-based sourcing, direct mention of groups at risk for obesity, and lack of medical jargon. Chi-square tests showed, however, that the African-American newspaper discussed obesity less than expected, while the metropolitan daily directly mentioned ethnic groups at risk for obesity less than expected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 28 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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