OBJECTIVE To compare the perceptions of patients, doctors, and journalists concerning the priority of health education topics in the media. DESIGN A cross sectional Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (K.A.P.) study. A self-administered questionnaire was used during 2 weeks in September 1990; it included questions on sociodemographic characteristics and on each group's perceived opinion of priority health topics for discussion in the media. SETTING Two university hospitals and six newspapers offices in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. PARTICIPANTS 300 randomly selected outpatients aged 12 years and over, and 77 doctors. 31 journalists from six local newspapers also participated. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE The ratio of respondents in the three study groups who believed there was a need for health education in 22 topics. RESULTS For most of these topics, statistically significant differences were found between the perceptions of the three groups. Doctors put more emphasis on preventive issues, while patients perceived new therapeutic and diagnostic methods as important more commonly than the other two groups. CONCLUSION A team consisting of doctors, journalists, and patients should be formed to select health education topics in the media. Priority should be given to topic preferences shared by both doctors and the public.