Coverage of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition in major Australian newspapers, 1996-2015

Jennifer Browne, Deborah Gleeson, Karen Adams, Petah Atkinson, Rick Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine the extent and nature of coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition issues in major Australian newspapers over two decades.

Methods: Content and framing analysis of Australian newspaper articles published between 1996 and 2015 that included the terms ‘Aboriginal or Indigenous’ and ‘nutrition or diet’ in the headline and/or lead paragraph. Analysis focused on the nature of coverage, trends over time, stakeholder representation and how coverage related to policy.

Results: A total of 79 articles were included. Coverage of nutrition fluctuated over time, with peaks in 1998 and 2008. The majority of articles focused on remote Aboriginal communities. Both individual and structural representations of nutrition were used and dietary quality and food insecurity were the most commonly reported nutrition issues. Few articles employed positive representations of Aboriginal peoples. Six policy functions of articles were identified: highlighting problems; reporting government announcements; promoting programs; advocating solutions; critiquing government; and defending policy.

Conclusion: The coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition in newspapers does not reflect the diversity and strengths of Australia’s First Peoples.

Implications for public health: This study highlights the role of the media in policy advocacy; however, advocates should ensure that they do not perpetuate negative representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Indigenous health
  • Media analysis
  • Nutrition
  • Policy analysis

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