Bay Area soda tax debates: Media analysis and lessons for advocates
News is important because it sets the agenda for policy debates and shapes the information that voters and policy makers use when they consider whether or not to support an issue. As such, we wanted to learn more about the media conversation surrounding whether or not to tax sugary drinks.
With support from the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University, the Voices for Healthy Kids program, a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association, and the UC Berkeley Food Institute, we examined Bay Area soda tax debates. We partnered with UC Berkeley School of Public Health professors Kristine Madsen and Karen Sokal-Gutierrez to look specifically at how proposals in Berkeley and San Francisco were discussed in news coverage, social media, and pro- and anti-tax campaigns.
Additionally, with our partners from John Snow, Inc., we analyzed the use of social media by the Berkeley vs. Big Soda campaign, which helped create momentum for Berkeley's historic success in passing the nation's first soda tax in November of 2014.
View our findings
See our report, case study, blog and infographic below: