Characteristics of Community Newspaper Coverage of Tobacco Control and Its Relationship to the Passage of Tobacco Ordinances
INTRODUCTION Smoke-free restaurant ordinance campaigns were conducted in 15 Wisconsin cities during 1992 through 2002. Community and health coalition organizational characteristics varied with each campaign; nine campaigns were successful in enacting ordinances, and six campaigns failed. METHODS Data on community and coalition characteristics were analyzed. Community characteristics included adjusted gross income, percentage of Democratic voters in recent elections, and county smoking prevalence. Coalition characteristics included the number of supporters identified, leadership experience, level of print news media coverage, and editorial position of local newspaper. RESULTS Successful campaigns were more likely to have leadership with high levels of political experience; eight of nine successful campaigns had leadership with high levels of experience, and two of six unsuccessful campaigns had leadership with high levels of experience. Every successful campaign had high levels of newspaper coverage and strong editorial support. None of the unsuccessful campaigns had high levels of news coverage or strong editorial support. CONCLUSION Characteristics controlled or influenced by coalitions are associated with successful outcomes. Community characteristics were not associated with outcomes. These results should assist communities planning to implement smoke-free ordinances or other health policy campaigns.