Can we enrich the health information environment in minority communities by providing local- and race-specific cancer stories to Black newspapers?
Black newspapers reach over 10 million African Americans every week. Their stories focus on issues in the local Black community and provide information and perspectives that are largely missing from general media.
To reach those readers, we created the Ozioma (Good News) News Service in 2005. It is the first national cancer information news service specifically for Black newspapers and the first to use community- and race-specific data to customize cancer news stories to local communities.
In a national study in 24 U.S. cities, Ozioma significantly increased the amount of cancer coverage, improved the quality of cancer news and was positively associated with readers’ talking about cancer, and looking for information about cancer.
Ozioma is now partnering with the American Cancer Society to further increase localization of cancer stories. ACS “news specialists” in each community provide Ozioma with local quotes, photographs and information for each story.
In a 36-city study, we are evaluating the effectiveness of enhanced localization in newspaper stories.
We have also developed localhealthdata.org, a fully automated online application for reporters and media-relations professionals to customize cancer data and resources for local communities.