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Studying the News on Public Health: How Content Analysis Supports Media Advocacy

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Objective: To describe how content analysis of the news assists media advocates. Methods: A description of how findings from the Berkeley Media Studies Group's research on how 2 public health issues have been portrayed in the news has informed media advocacy. Results: For media advocates, the research suggests they make themselves available to reporters, prepare spokespeople representing key stakeholders, and make data available. For reporters, the research suggests they expand sources beyond the “usual suspects,” provide context in regular reporting, increase enterprise and investigative reporting, and ask better questions based on epidemiology and risk factors. Conclusion: Content analysis can help media advocates pinpoint areas for creating news to advance policy.
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Keywords: children; media advocacy; policy; primary prevention; violence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Berkeley Media Studies Group, Public Health Institute, Berkeley, CA.

Publication date: November 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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