The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4085.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 9:20 AM

Abstract #65233

Media Advocacy: Using news as a pressure tool for social change

Sonja Herbert, MPH and Lori Dorfman, DrPH. Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2140 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 804, Berkeley, CA 94704, 510.204.9700,

News coverage can either stimulate or stymie social change efforts, because the news media have a powerful influence on the agenda of policymakers, affecting which problems they think about, which solutions they can envision, and whom they hold responsible. When public health issues such as violence or obesity are framed as personal problems, policymakers focus on individually-oriented solutions rather than system change. Media advocates learn to identify the tension between personal responsibility and institutional accountability present in all public health issues, and make the case for a public health approach in the context of specific policy debates. As community activists and public health professionals we can create news that highlights the root causes of ill health, such as racism and poverty, linked to the upstream policy solutions likely to have the greatest impact. This session will describe the key components of media advocacy trainings – developing strategy and framing the debate. Presenters will show how interactive training methods have been used successfully to train seasoned advocates as well as first-timers on using media advocacy across a variety of public health issues, from tobacco and alcohol, where media advocacy was first developed, to newer applications in the areas of violence prevention and children’s health, including childhood obesity, child care, and paid family leave.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Media Advocacy, Social Justice

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Teaching Activism for Public Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA