Strategic zoning is a type of land-use planning that can be used to improve the environments that contribute to chronic health problems. But before advocates can implement zoning policy, they must first know how to make the case for it. This study analyzes news coverage and legal documentation of efforts to restrict fast-food restaurants to find out how such policies have are debated.
This study analyzes how the tobacco industry has used "freedom of choice" language and appeals to personal responsibility both in the media and in the courtroom to prevent litigation and blame consumers for the health consequences of using tobacco. Conducted with our colleagues at the Public Health Advocacy Institute, the study also looks at implications for other industries like soda and junk food, which have replicated and refined tobacco industry tactics.
In 2012 and 2013, Richmond and El Monte, CA, and Telluride, CO, became the first communities in the country to vote on citywide sugary drink taxes. In the face of massive spending from the soda industry, all three proposals failed, but the vigorous public debates they inspired provide valuable insights for future policy efforts. BMSG analyzed local and national news coverage of the three proposals to find out what arguments were being made for and against the taxes, whose voices dominated the coverage, and what this means for advocates.
In this webinar, the second in a series from The California Endowment, BMSG Director Lori Dorfman and UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Katherine Schaff discuss lessons learned from advocates working to develop health-related media campaigns in Alameda County, California.
BMSG Director Lori Dorfman shares research on soda industry marketing in this panel, as part of a speaker series leading up to the November 2014 election, which featured soda tax ballot measures in Berkeley and San Francisco. Dorfman discusses how the soda industry has become the number one educator influencing what kids drink and the tactics it uses to target children of color.
At an October 14, 2014, hearing of the California Assembly Select Committee on Domestic Violence, BMSG Senior Media Researcher Pamela Mejia speaks about the influence of news coverage on the public's and policymakers' understanding of domestic violence and how to address it.
In 2013, the small mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, proposed a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. Like two similar soda tax measures that came before it in Richmond and El Monte, California, the proposal failed. In this report, we analyze what arguments were made for and against the tax in the news, whose voices dominated the conversation, and how coverage of Telluride compared with that of Richmond and El Monte. Read more >
What tactics are food and beverage companies using to target youth — especially youth of color — with marketing for unhealthy products? How do kids' brains respond to seeing food ads and logos? Is industry self-regulation working? In this paper, BMSG's Andrew Cheyne, Pamela Mejia, Laura Nixon and Lori Dorfman explore these questions and discuss implications for policy interventions.
In this webinar, as part of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's Health for a Change series, BMSG trainers Julieta Kusnir and Fernando Quintero help participants understand message development; describe the difference between media advocacy and health education messaging; and discuss how advocates can frame their messages to show the environmental context for health and demonstrate the need for policy change.
Despite the efforts of nutrition advocates and health educators, food and beverage companies are a major source of children's education about food, and most of the marketing messages they receive are for unhealthy products. In this entry for the Encyclopedia of Health Communication, we provide an overview of food marketing to kids, its link to health inequities in communities of color, and the policy landscape for intervening.
In this July 23 presentation for the 2014 Colorado Health Symposium, BMSG Director Lori Dorfman discusses why health education and data don't go far enough toward improving health at the population-level, and how communication, particularly media advocacy, can be used to change policy and create environments that better support health for everyone.
How do we make the case for implementing wellness policies, for improving menu selections and all of the other community-wide healthy policy changes we want to see? Many professionals are working on health equity issues but have a hard time talking about it. In this webinar, Berkeley Media Studies Group reviews tools to help groups that are working to reframe and effectively communicate the importance of their efforts.
Stoking fears of job loss and strategically positioning itself on the side of civil rights groups, the tobacco industry influenced news coverage of mentholated cigarettes — which disproportionately impact the health of African Americans — to prevent a ban on them, found researchers at BMSG and the Public Health Advocacy Institute in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes cause 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States. In this video, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and public health attorney Michele Simon join Nicholas Freudenberg, author of Lethal but legal: Corporations, consumption and protecting public health, to discuss how the business practices of alcohol, tobacco, food and other industries are causing these illnesses and what tools, including policy, advocates can use to prevent them.
To deflect blame for its products' health harms, the tobacco industry consistently frames smoking as a personal issue rather than the responsibility of cigarette companies. A study from BMSG and our colleagues at the Public Health Advocacy Institute, published in the American Journal of Public Health, identifies when personal responsibility framing became a major element of the industry's discourse and explores how its messages evolved over time to meet political and legal challenges.
Media advocacy can bolster public health practitioners' efforts to advance social justice and work to solve some of our country's most complex social and political issues. In this article, published in the American Review of Public Health, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Ingrid Daffner Krasnow discuss key components of media advocacy and offer tips for advocates, including framing pitfalls to avoid, ways to make data meaningful to broad audiences, and how to use compelling visuals to get a reporter's attention.
Effective storytelling is an important way for advocates to bring media attention to important public health issues. As the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program's Genoveva Islas points out in this brown bag as part of BMSG's 20th anniversary series, if public health advocates don't tell their own stories, someone else will, but from a different perspective. Along with CCROPP's Brandie Banks-Bey, Islas shares three steps that advocates can take to get better at articulating the problems in their communities and what can be done to address them.
In 2012, the California cities of Richmond and El Monte made headlines when they asked voters to consider taxing soda and other sugary drinks. Wanting to avoid a regulatory precedent, the soda industry spent $4 million to oppose the ballot measures, which ultimately failed. In this news analysis, we explore how the tax proposals were portrayed in the news, what arguments were made both for and against them, and what this means for public health advocates looking to regulate sugary beverages in other communities.
Values are an important part of communicating, but where do they come from and how are they created? Who gets to matter in public conversations, and how can advocates make their voices more powerful? In this brown bag, a part of BMSG's 20th anniversary series, Praxis Project Executive Director Makani Themba discusses the role of institutional actors in producing values and encourages advocates to get involved in that process. She urges us to move beyond fleeting sound bites and develop a deeper communication strategy — one that addresses power imbalances and puts advocates in front of the mic.
With young people's growing use of digital devices, food and beverage companies are now able to target them in more ways than ever, often with deceptive content that makes it harder for youth to recognize as marketing. Some legal protections have yet to catch up with advances in digital marketing, but existing prohibitions on unfair and deceptive practices can be used to protect kids.
The toll in human suffering and health costs from diet-related disease is stark. Addressing the digital marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to youth is a key step toward easing this toll and ensuring a healthy future. This report from the Public Health Advocacy Institute, Berkeley Media Studies Group and Center for Digital Democracy describes state legal approaches available to stem the harmful tide of digital food marketing targeted at children and teens.
Digital games are a popular tactic that food and beverage companies use to market unhealthy products to kids and teens. Research shows there is a connection between gaming and obesity, and advergames can have a harmful effect on kids' eating habits. However, the sheer volume of gaming platforms and apps makes state regulation a challenge.
In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature passed a ground-breaking health reform law that included a provision to address the root causes of poor heath, with the aim of reducing rising health care costs. In this news analysis, we assess how the program was framed in the media and offer recommendations to help public health advocates make the case for prevention.
Addressing food marketing is critical to improving child nutrition and health. This webinar, hosted by ASTHO, the Food Marketing Workgroup and NPLAN, and moderated by BMSG's Lori Dorfman, explores past challenges and victories to help advocates reduce junk food marketing to kids in the present.