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Media advocacy in community prevention: news as a means to advance policy change

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Abstract:

Media advocacy within the Community Trials Project refers to the strategic use of news media to advance a social or public policy initiative. First, this paper presents a conceptual model that guided analyses of media advocacy. Secondly, it documents increases in alcohol-related news coverage. Thirdly, it compares changes in perceived risk of arrest after drinking and driving that can be linked to increased DUI news coverage. Fourthly, it examines community awareness of enforcement efforts in terms of both media advocacy efforts and traditional public information campaigns. Results indicate that: (1) training in media advocacy can increase coverage of news events generated by local community members including volunteers, (2) increased news coverage can be generated for both electronic (television) and print media, (3) increased news coverage did focus public attention on specific issues in support of prevention components, (4) while there are differential audiences/readers for the print (newspaper) and electronic (TV) media, both audiences are affected and (5) media advocacy can be more effective than a paid public information campaign in increasing public awareness of alcohol issues.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1360-0443.92.6s1.3.x

Publication date: June 1, 1997

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