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Table 1 Quantitative media evaluation of online articles published on local newspapers in the study period

From: Meningococcal disease in Italy: public concern, media coverage and policy change

Area Items Total (n = 112) No. (%) Pre policy (n = 29) No. (%) Post policy (n = 83) No. (%) P value
Article characteristics Type of article
 Editorials 26 (23) 7 (24) 19 (23) ns
 General news 86 (77) 22 (76) 64 (77) ns
Main theme
 Disease description 7 (6) 3 (10) 4 (5) ns
 Vaccination 24 (21) 1 (4) 23 (28) 0.007a
 Policy 12 (11) 3 (10) 9 (11) nsa
 Meningitis case reporting 42 (38) 17 (59) 25 (30) 0.002
 Other 27 (24) 5 (17) 22 (27) ns
 New information 62 (55) 22 (76) 40 (48) 0.01
 Mention of institutions or literature 13 (12) 3 (10) 10 (12) nsa
 Health information provided by professionals 9 (8) 4 (14) 5 (6) nsa
Information about meningococcal disease Case description 43 (38) 11 (37) 32 (39) ns
Signs and symptoms 16 (14) 11 (38) 5 (6) < 0.001a
Long term effects 3 (3) 1 (3) 2 (2) nsa
Preventive recommendations 17 (15) 9 (31) 8 (10) 0.006
Information about meningococcal vaccine Available vaccines 28 (25) 6 (21) 22 (27) ns
Cost of vaccination 23 (21) 4 (14) 19 (23) nsa
Risks and/or benefits 5 (4) 2 (7) 3 (4) nsa
Vaccination centre’s contacts 18 (16) 1 (3) 17 (20) 0.038
LHA activity Link to institutional sources 5 (4) 1 (3) 4 (5) nsa
Description of LHA interventions 70 (63) 19 (66) 51 (61) ns
Accuracy of information Inaccurate information 7 (6) 1 (3) 6 (7) nsa
Misinformation 1 (0.9) 0 1 (1.2)
Tone Reassuring 19 (17) 7 (24) 12 (15) ns
Neutral 83 (74) 16 (55) 67 (81) 0.007
Alarmist 10 (9) 6 (21) 4 (5) 0.03a
  1. a Fisher’s exact test
  2. LHA Local Health Authority, ns not significant