Using entertainment television to build a context for prevention news stories

Crystale Purvis Cooper, Debra L. Roter, Alan M. Langlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective. A nationally syndicated television news series called 'Following ER' was developed to educate viewers about the health issues dramatized on 'ER,' NBC's award-winning medical drama. This study investigated the impact of this prime-time link on viewer attention, satisfaction, information recall, and perceptions about the uses and gratifications delivered by a news story. Methods. A total of 458 municipal jurors participated in a randomized 2 ('ER' tie-in vs no tie-in) x 2 (familiar vs novel story topic) experiment. The four experimental news stories required by this design were developed using footage of previously aired local newscasts. Results. In the case of the familiar topic story, the 'ER' tie-in enhanced the attention and satisfaction of viewers. Participants reported that the prime-time link added value by elevating the importance and relevance of the commonplace topic. However, the 'ER' tie-in did not generate any beneficial effects when paired with the novel topic story. Conclusions. Framing news stories about familiar health concerns in the context of television drama represents a viable strategy for legitimizing them as important and timely topics for public consumption and debate. (C) 2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Communication
  • Drama
  • Health education
  • Health promotion
  • Mass media
  • Recall
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Using entertainment television to build a context for prevention news stories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this