Be the first to like this
Local newspapers spend many square inches each week covering how long the fire department was on the scene of the most recent house fire or how many burglaries the police department had reported. Analysis of this public safety coverage indicated that, as in prior agenda-setting studies, it is correlated with policy change if only minimally. Addition analysis of hundreds of news articles over a 10-year period in dozens of cities revealed that only about 1 percent of community newspaper coverage was devoted to pre-hospital healthcare — EMS. Subsequent qualitative investigation, which included interviews with EMS officials and newspaper reporters in cities identified with both high levels of coverage and low levels of coverage, found five potential reasons for the minimal coverage: (1) Reporters simply were more interested in police/fire coverage; (2) public information officers were more likely to serve police and fire; (3) legislation precludes coverage of EMS while other legislation makes information from other public safety agencies more accessible; (4) how EMS systems are managed often means they are not publicly accountable; and (5) EMS is not on the radar screen of the citizens.