The number of leaders and columns in the national press jumped from nine last August (when Goody was first diagnosed with cervical cancer) to 47 last month, after news broke that her cancer was terminal.
The research discovered mentions in broadsheet columns had jumped from two to 22. The tone and sentiment in the articles had also changed to become warmer and included words such as ‘transformation’ and ‘praise’.
Goody’s publicist Max Clifford told PRWeek that aside from setting up deals with the media, he had not called a single person. ‘I’m just responding. It is full on. I have been handling 50-60 media enquiries a day for three or four weeks from all over the world.’
He said journalists were increasingly open to positive coverage: ‘The public has been so openly sympathetic that even the Daily Mail has been kind to her. It’s very difficult for even the most cynical journalist to be critical of someone who’s dying of cancer.’
Meanwhile, Gary Farrow, CEO and chairman of The Corporation, said the positive coverage was particularly notable ‘when you consider that not very long ago Goody was described as a “pig” in the papers’. He added: ‘Max has done an exceptional job. There’s not much new. A week ago she was dying and this week she is still dying. But the pictures are incredibly powerful and they keep moving the story on.’