Why Isn’t Health a Priority? A survey of journalists serving Native American news media

Sherice Gearhart, Teresa Trumbly-Lamsam, Oluseyi Adegbola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study helps bridge the existing divide between the knowledge on health news reporting in mainstream mass media and health reporting in media outlets serving Native American populations in the United States. The current work presents the first survey of journalists working in Native-serving media outlets to identify role conceptions, perceived importance, and actual practices of health reporting. Aided in data collection by the Native American Journalists Association, findings indicate journalists (N = 100) place a high value on their role as disseminators of culturally relevant health information. However, results conflict in regard to the prioritization of health news reporting. Although journalists recognize health news should be a top priority, they point to a general lack of will from news leadership to make it an organizational priority. Additionally, results show that although journalists have comfort and confidence in health-related reporting, access to qualified sources remains an area for opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1200
Number of pages18
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 21 2018


  • Native American
  • health journalism
  • journalism studies
  • survey
  • tribal media


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