Online Program

Improving rural newspaper coverage of nutrition stories: An educational assessment of editors' learning needs

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Faryle Nothwehr, MPH, PhD, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Julie Andsager, PhD, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Matthew Chrisman, PhD, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Introduction: Recent data show that 86% of rural residents have read a local newspaper in the past week. Rural newspaper editors write most of the nutrition stories in their papers; however, few have received training in health reporting, much less training on writing about nutrition- related issues. Studies show that editors are interested in topic-specific training that will assist them in their work. Prior to designing an educational program for rural editors, it is essential to understand their learning needs with regard to writing evidence-based nutrition stories. Methods: A sample of 166 newspaper editors in rural Iowa counties was selected using the Iowa Newspaper Association database. Editors were sent an e-mail describing the study with a link to an online survey. Remuneration of $20 was offered for completing the survey. The pretested, theory-based survey instrument contained both closed and open-ended questions about their self-efficacy in writing nutrition-related stories, story sources, related knowledge and skills they would like to develop, past training, and preferences for program format. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics while common themes were identified in qualitative data. Results: The presentation will identify perceived knowledge and skill deficits, most used sources of information, as well as the most preferred formats for presentation. Discussion: Results can be used to design a web-based educational program for editors of rural newspapers that is intended to increase the quantity and quality of nutrition-related stories they write, and to train editors to be advocates for improving the nutrition environment in their communities.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Identify the most common perceived knowledge and skill deficits of rural newspaper editors. List the most frequently used sources of nutrition information by rural newspaper editors.

Keyword(s): Media, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of multiple grants focused on health promotion in rural communities. Many of these projects involved partnerships with local media, including rural newspapers. I also teach graduate level health education courses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.