Online Program

Teen dating violence: How is it framed in California newspapers and education news sources?

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Laura Nixon, MPH, Research Team, Berkeley Media Studies Group, Berkeley, CA
Pamela Mejia, MPH, MS, Research Team, Berkeley Media Studies Group, Berkeley, CA
Lori Dorfman, DrPH, Public Health Institute, Berkeley Media Studies Group, Berkeley, CA
Krista ´╗┐´╗┐Niemczyk, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Sacramento, CA
Kathy Moore, MSW, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Sacramento, CA

Middle and high schools are a promising point of intervention for preventing teen dating violence. However, there are multiple obstacles to implementing effective school policies, including competing funding priorities and a lack of knowledge about the issue among staff. To craft effective strategies to engage educators it is important to understand how they currently understand teen dating violence, and how it appears in the news sources where they are likely to learn about the issues affecting their students.


We used ethnographic content analysis to analyze newspaper coverage of teen dating violence in California from 2012-2014. We also scanned professional education news sources from this time period for any reference to teen dating violence. Finally, we conducted in-depth interviews with key stakeholders representing diverse sectors within California schools.


We found that teen dating violence was rarely discussed in California newspaper coverage or in professional education news sources. When teen dating violence did appear in the news, schools were largely absent. For example, school representatives spoke in less than 15% of articles, and responsibility for addressing relationship abuse was seldom placed with schools or other institutions. In interviews, stakeholders identified a variety of school-based prevention strategies and approaches for discussing dating abuse with education leaders.


We offer recommendations for how health practitioners, advocates, and journalists can increase and improve news coverage of teen dating violence to inform education leaders and engage them in efforts to implement strong policies to prevent and address teen dating violence in schools.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Name key messages present in the news coverage of teen dating violence. Identify which sectors or individuals are implicated in addressing teen dating violence in news coverage Describe how media advocacy techniques can support efforts to implement school policies to prevent and address teen dating violence.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research on the news coverage of violence, including sexual violence. I collaborated in designing and conducting the study described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.