With support from the Healthy Eating Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Public Health Advocacy Institute examined news coverage and legislative documents from 10 states around the country to better understand how advocates, the food industry, policymakers and others have shaped discussions about school nutrition guidelines since the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This webinar recording includes a summary of our findings, as well as a discussion of how they might inform future communications efforts around healthy school food environments at the state and local level.
In the summer of 2016, BMSG was honored to join the RYSE Center, along with a group of practitioners, researchers and community advocates in Richmond, California, to discuss the connections among racial oppression, white privilege, childhood trauma and health outcomes. This memo captures highlights from the group's exploration of how racial justice can be positioned at the center of trauma-informed work.
One potential — but often overlooked — barrier to successful breastfeeding is the widespread marketing of infant formula. Infant formula marketers spend millions on direct-to-consumer advertising each year, exposing women to marketing in health care settings, retail stores, print ads and online. However, digital infant formula advertising is understudied and poorly understood. To help address this research gap, we’ve conducted a preliminary analysis of how infant formula is marketed through social media.
Historically, the infant formula industry has focused heavily on health care provider-directed marketing to reach new mothers. Now, it also seeks to engage women with an ever-expanding range of direct-to-consumer marketing tactics that include traditional marketing on television, coupons, elaborate websites, rewards programs, infant feeding advice hotlines, social media marketing and product packaging. This memo provides a preliminary overview of consumer protection policies that govern infant formula marketing and related self-regulation and international codes of conduct.
BMSG's recent analysis of how soda tax debates are characterized in the news revealed that oral health professionals seldom appear. By elevating their expert voices, oral health practitioners can contribute new and salient arguments for soda taxes to the public discourse and help advance public policy that improves oral health outcomes. In this journal article for the California Dental Association, we propose media advocacy strategies that oral health professionals can use to increase their visibility in the news to make the case for soda taxes.
It will be easier to make the big changes our communities need to prevent violence if we change the narrative around it and make prevention a visible part of the conversation. In this webinar, Berkeley Media Studies Group, Prevention Institute and the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Department discuss their recent study on news portrayals of community violence and how to shift the media's discourse to elevate prevention and multi-sector collaboration.
It will be easier to make the big changes our communities need to prevent violence if we change the narrative around it and make prevention a visible part of the conversation. In this report, Berkeley Media Studies Group, in partnership with the Prevention Institute and with support from the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Department, explores news portrayals of community violence and makes recommendations for how to shift one piece of the discourse — the news media — to elevate prevention and multi-sector collaboration.
Media representations play a crucial role in informing public and policy opinions about the causes of, and solutions to, ill-health. This paper, co-authored by BMSG's Lori Dorfman and published in BMC Public Health, reviews studies analyzing media coverage of non-communicable disease debates, focusing on how the industries marketing commodities that increase disease risk are represented.
In October 2015, the Center for Climate Change and Health convened a group of 20 health and communication experts to discuss how past health communication campaigns can inform work on climate change. This summary of that workship, which was developed with consultation from BMSG's Lori Dorfman, includes insights from tobacco control, obesity prevention, media advocacy and health equity communications. It also features recommendations for policy-change goals, research, framing and messaging.
This case study from the Vision Zero Network, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, examines the communication approaches that San Francisco and New York City have used to frame traffic deaths as preventable and foster both individual and institutional change. The case study includes contributions and insights from BMSG's Pamela Mejia on the media's role in influencing the public's and policymakers' perceptions of the issue.
Public health officials often view food companies as legitimate partners in improving population health, even as they eschew interactions with the tobacco and alcohol industries. In this journal article for Frontiers in Public Health, BMSG's Lori Dorfman, along with colleagues from the U.S., U.K. and Germany, explore why this is the case, in spite of significant health harms associated with all three industries. They also make recommendations for steps that public health researchers can take to reduce harmful corporate influences on health.
Developing effective, values-based messaging is an essential aspect of public health advocacy. In this webinar, Phil Wilbur, a consultant for the Berkeley Media Studies Group, discusses message framing as a crucial part of an overall strategy for tobacco control. Phil explains the concepts and contexts behind public health messages of prevention, and leaves viewers with takeaways for future message development that can help programs link problems to effective policy solutions.
Environments play a large role in influencing the public's health. Yet, in the United States, most people think that individuals are masters of their own destiny. Advocates can use this resource to learn how to create messages that broaden individual responsibility frames and help people see that environments affect health. When people understand that connection, they are more likely to support policies that improve those environments.
In this news analysis, we explore what arguments pro- and anti-tax campaigns made, how the soda industry was characterized in news coverage, and what this means for advocates looking to reduce soda consumption in other cities.
Advocates can use this case study, produced in collaboration with our partners at John Snow, Inc., to strategize about using social media in their campaigns to pass sugary drink taxes, fight chronic diseases and protect public health.
In 2014, the residents of Berkeley, California, launched an effort to institute the nation's first tax on sugary drinks. Along with our partners at JSI, we examined the social media activism surrounding the successful "Berkeley vs. Big Soda" campaign on Twitter and Facebook. Based on our findings, we offer nine recommendations for advocates looking to promote similar policy changes.
As part of an Institute of Medicine workshop on the social and cultural norms that underlie the acceptance of violence, BMSG's Lori Dorfman discusses the role of the news media, how connections among violence, youth and race get distorted in news reports on crime, and the prevalence of language in the news that minimizes the act of sexual violence. She also addresses the need to reframe news coverage in ways that highlight the social context for violence and potential solutions.
BMSG's Lori Dorfman was among several public health panelists at the October 2015 European Public Health Conference in Milan, Italy. Drawing on recent BMSG research, Dorfman discussed U.S. news coverage of corporate actors in food and beverage policy debates.
Children who experience trauma are at an increased risk of developing mental and physical health issues later in life, with profound implications for every sector of society. Because the media play an important role in shaping policy, we examined the news to see how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are portrayed, and we identified opportunities for advocates to improve the volume and quality of coverage.
To advance public health policy goals, advocates must know how to communicate strategically about the issue they want to address, why it matters, and what should be done about it. Use this worksheet to practice developing messages for your target audience.
Being strategic means anticipating your opposition's arguments and preparing for hard questions, whether they're from a news reporter, your target decision-maker(s), or even a community member who could one day become an ally. Use this worksheet with colleagues or others to brainstorm hard questions and practice your responses.
It's one thing to develop a strategic message. It's an entirely different skill to deliver your message in a strategic way. Use this mock interview activity to help you stay on message and further your policy goals.
Creating a media advocacy calendar can help you identify key moments in the political process or opportunities — such as holidays, anniversaries or other key dates — that you can leverage to garner media attention. Use this worksheet to help you identify news hooks and prepare for newsworthy events in advance.
Media coverage can provide a powerful way for advocates to shape public conversations and public policy. But gaining coverage requires understanding what makes an issue newsworthy. Use this worksheet to brainstorm ways to make your issue relevant to the media.