PRINT MEDIA COVERAGE OF MATERNAL HEALTH: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF THE PEOPLE DAILY AND STAR NEWSPAPER

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ABSTRACT
This study sought to explore the print media’s coverage of maternal health issues in Kenya. Specifically, it examined the level of prominence the People Daily and the Star Newspapers provide to maternal health issues; it also explored the key issues in maternal health that were important to the media during the coverage. Additionally, the study investigated the factors that affect editorial decisions in covering maternal health issues and what needs to be done to improve the coverage of maternal health issues by the print media in Kenya. The research utilised mixed-methods research approach. Interviewer-guided questionnaires were used for the quantitative data while interviews were used for qualitative data. The content analysis was used to examine the content of the two newspapers published between January 2014 and December 2016, while key informants were also interviewed to triangulate the results. The study relied on agenda setting and framing theories. The findings of the study revealed that the coverage in 2015 gave more prominent to the maternal health issues compared to 2016. Findings revealed that key issues of maternal health covered include financing, related diseases and the circumstances at the time of the coverage. Results also showed that most of the factors influencing editors and reporters in their coverage of maternal health corresponded with the challenges facing journalism practice in developing countries such as poor training, time constraints and institutional policies. Lastly, findings reveal that most editors and journalists view training of all gate-keepers as the best way to improve coverage of health issues. In conclusion, mass media rely on agenda initiated by elites in the society, where most of the issues that gain prominence are the ones championed by these elites. Additionally, issues that found in the media are those practically facing people on the ground. The study recommends a review of the journalism curriculum to align it with the emerging needs of the journalism profession. There are critical areas of research as follow-up to this study.

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