Media reporting on alcohol and other drugs in Australia and the Mindframe guidelines: Baseline data


The aim of this study was to generate a baseline database of print media reporting on alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues prior to the release of the Mindframe guidelines in March 2019. Specifically, to: (i) describe the content associated with media entries that focus on AOD use in Australian news media; (ii) determine how the media entries compare to several domains associated with recently developed Mindframe guidelines for publicly reporting on AOD; and (iii) identify content factors associated with different scores.


Media entries between July 2016 and June 2017 were searched for key AOD-related terms using the Australian and New Zealand Newsstream database. Two coding schemes were developed to rate a stratified sample of 50% of the media entries against the Mindframe guidelines. Associations between content and total comparison scores were determined using linear regression models.


Detailed coding of the 2007 articles identified as relevant for the current study indicated that a majority (67%) were focused on one of three substances: alcohol, cannabis or methamphetamine. Most of the entries were either law enforcement (22%) or criminal justice related (19%). Entries that focused on methamphetamine scored significantly lower than entries on alcohol when compared to the Mindframe guidelines, similarly entries focused on crime/justice-related topics scored significantly lower than entries focused on positive outcomes.

Discussion and conclusions:

A disproportionate number of print media entries, particularly those related methamphetamine use, focused on crime or justice-related topics, potentially further contributing to stigma, and emphasising the legal consequences of AOD use.


alcohol; cannabis; media monitoring; methamphetamine; stigma.

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