Introduction The goal of palliative care (PC) is to improve the quality of life of terminal stage patients and their families. The subject frequently appears in the mass-media and this helps create a socially accepted identity. The aim of this study is to describe and analyse PC related news items appeared in the Spanish written media. Methodology A descriptive cross-sectional study was designed. Considering diffusion, scope and the range in editorial policy criteria, four printed newspapers (PN) were selected, together with four exclusively digital media sources (DM). Through Mynews, a newspaper content depository, and the search tool for each DM website, articles published between 2009 and 2014 which included the terms "palliative care" and "palliative medicine" were sought. A questionnaire was created to characterise each article identified and a descriptive analysis was undertaken. Results A total of 627 articles were identified, of which 359 (57%) were published in PN (42% in the printed editions -PE- 16% in their online editions -OE-) and 268 (43%) in DM. In general, they appeared mainly in sections concerning Health (23%), Culture and Society (18%) and General/Home News (15%). In PE, just 2% were found in the Health section and nearly 70% in Culture and Society and General/Home News. Most of the articles were informative in nature and contained socio-political messages (90%). Statements by PC professionals were found in 35% of the articles and by politicians in 32%. The most frequent content was related to facing end of life (74%) and patient quality of life (70%). Conclusions The Spanish written media reflects the socio-political interest aroused by PC. Nevertheless, messages circulating about PC do not describe professional practice, or the contribution of the same for patients. Content more in line with the clinical practice might help contribute to the development of this new area of medicine.