Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Michelle Violanti

Committee Members

Kenneth Levine, Carolyn Lepre


This study compares and contrasts the way cancer and heart disease were framed in three major American news magazines from 1991-1995 and from 2001-2005. It is a partial replica of a 1992 study by Juanne Clarke titled “Cancer, Heart Disease and AIDS: What Do the Media Tell Us About These Diseases?” Every article about cancer and heart disease from these news magazines in these time periods was analyzed and coded into categories. The study concludes that cancer is a much more personal issue than heart disease; it is portrayed in a way that makes it more “serious” than heart disease. In these stories, cancer patients are affected to their very core by their condition, while heart disease patients are just regular people who have problems with a small part of their bodies. Cancer is represented much more often in the media than heart disease, possibly because of this personal aspect.

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Communication Commons