Health media research

In 2013, the Wesleyan Media Project expanded its reach into the realm of health policy analysis with a study examining media coverage accompanying the Fall 2013 rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace.

Results from a first-cut analysis of news and advertising content were published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law in summer 2014.

Read more about how the project began, including the huge effort put forth by our WMP students, on Wesleyan’s news page.

The analysis found dramatic geographic differences in the volume and tone of local news coverage, insurance product ads and political ads in 210 local media markets during the two-week period of Oct. 1-17, 2013 following the launch of the health insurance marketplace. Specifically, media messaging was significantly more negative in states where the political climate was generally hostile toward the ACA—those states which chose not to operate their own insurance exchanges, but instead run federal or partnership exchanges. The disparity in volume of coverage was also striking … Given these regional disparities, the authors urge researchers and policymakers evaluating the implementation of the ACA marketplaces to consider the role of media influences.

Follow our blog for updates on our news media tracking.

Our Academic Partners

Colleen L. Barry (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)
Sarah E. Gollust (University of Minnesota)
Jeff Niederdeppe (Cornell University)

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