children playing

Hiding the elephant: Child care coverage in four newspapers

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Journal of Comparative Family Studies, vol.41, no 5
Albanese, P.; Rahula, A.; Ferns, C.; Johnstone, J.; Lam, J. & Atack, E.
Publication Date: 
1 Oct 2010


As more adult women with young children have entered the paid workforce in the last decade, more Canadian families are seeking access to affordable child care. One might expect to observe a measurable and decided increase in coverage of child care in major media in that time. Yet, in terms of articles recorded and analyzed in four major Canadian dailies, child care has remained marginal, moving in and out of the spotlight and often all but disappearing. Even the Toronto Star, which covered the issue the most frequently of the dailies examined, had coverage that varied markedly between 2000 and 2007. By counting articles about child care, we found that the greatest jumps in coverage in all four dailies were spikes in 2000 and 2005-2006- coinciding with federal election campaigns. A closer look at the 2005-2006 period revealed that the National Post had the least extensive coverage. Nonetheless, it too had higher than normal coverage during the campaign. At the time the newspapers' coverage nearly doubled, in all but one paper, before falling to their average (low) yearly coverage, in 2007 - again despite continuing unmet demand for affordable child care among Canadian families.