Issue 14: Making the case for paid family leave: How California's landmark law was framed in the news

On September 24, 2002, California made history as the first state in the nation to enact paid family leave. Issue 14 shows how the battle for paid family leave was framed by opponents and proponents in California and national news coverage. It also provides insights for both advocates and journalists as paid family leave moves into implementation in California and onto the public agenda in other states across the nation.

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Food and beverage industry marketing practices aimed at children: Developing strategies for preventing obesity and diabetes [pdf]

Public health professionals working to prevent childhood obesity want to know the best avenues of addressing food and beverage marketing aimed at children. This report looks at the relationship between the way foods and beverages are marketed to children and the rising trends in childhood overweight and explores strategies that might engage the food and beverage industry in reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

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Bucking tobacco sponsorship at rodeos: Strategies for media advocacy and public engagement [pdf]

This report offers a media advocacy plan to counter the aggressive marketing by the tobacco industry at family sporting events. It aims to shift the focus from current arguments that frame tobacco marketing as a children's issue back to an issue of irresponsible industry marketing.

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Issue 13: Distracted by drama: How California newspapers portray intimate partner violence

Battered women's advocates and feminist scholars have long complained about how intimate partner violence appears in the news. But because the evidence has been anecdotal, the extent that U.S. news media downplay violence against women has been difficult to gauge. Do most news stories blame the victim? Do they mitigate the perpetrator? Overall, how is intimate partner violence depicted in newspapers? We decided to find out by examining a year's worth of articles in two major newspapers.

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Website: Health and safety

This prototype website incorporates data and resources about violence to show how journalists can use a data-driven approach to crime reporting. It can also serve as a model for web-based reporting on other public health issues. Learn here about how web shells can enhance coverage of violence and other issues.

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Voices for change: A taxonomy of public communications campaigns and their evaluation challenges [pdf]

The Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington DC commissioned this paper as part of a collaborative project designed to research, develop, test, and disseminate principles for evaluating nonprofit communications. The paper profiles various strategic communication campaigns that differ in purpose, scope, and maturity to identify the evaluation challenges each presents in its messy real-world context.

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Youth violence stories focus on events, not causes

A content analysis of three major California newspapers shows that routine coverage about youth crimes fails to provide context to help readers make sense of such events. This context should include the contributions to violent behavior that poverty, inadequate schools, discrimination, abuse, easy access to weapons, the over-commercialization of liquor, and other environmental factors make. Unreported, these elements have less chance of being understood and remedied.

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Issue 12: American values and the news about children's health

The term "values" often acts as political shorthand, usually for the political agenda of social conservatives. Yet values systems are crucial to any political culture. How competing American value systems of individualism and what we call interconnection are represented in news stories will influence readers' interpretations of the stories. The news about children's health provides a useful lens for analyzing American values in the news since both conservative and progressive voices claim to "leave no child behind."

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Issue 11: Silent revolution: How U.S. newspapers portray child care

In an information economy dependent on education, child care brims with news value. But an analysis of national news on child care shows that is far from the case. Issue 11 compares every story about child care published on the business pages of 11 newspapers in 1999 and 2000 to child care stories in other parts of the same newspapers to see not only how frequent coverage is, but also how the stories are framed and who gets quoted the most within them.

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What a health and safety section or 'shell' looks like on a news organization's website

Context and continuity are hard to come by in print and television. But on the web, stories of the day can be presented as part of web "shells," packages that contain links to data, community resources, stories that have been previously published, and background information.

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Reporting on violence: New ideas for print, television and web [pdf]

This reporter's handbook offers data, resources and suggestions on how to develop data-driven crime and violence stories. We have distributed nearly 1,000 copies to reporters and others in more than 131 news media outlets, journalism programs or affiliated organizations in California and across the country.

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Issue 10: Newspaper coverage of childhood nutrition policies

Childhood obesity is on the rise, reaching epidemic proportions. Public health advocates have many mechanisms to arrest this trend, but are they getting the attention of policy makers through the news? To find out, Issue 10 analyzes two years of news coverage on childhood nutrition issues in California's major newspapers.

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Reporting on violence: Bringing a public health perspective into the newsroom

This case study documents how journalists can be meaningfully engaged on this topic with people from public health despite typical barriers to access faced by public health practitioners and solid resistance from many editors and reporters. The authors describe goals, objectives, and activities across five daily newspapers along with journalists' reactions, concerns, and resistance to the issues raised.

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Off balance: Youth, race & crime in the news [pdf]

This report assesses findings from content analyses on crime news, investigating whether news coverage reflects actual crime trends; how news coverage depicts minorities and crime; and whether news coverage disproportionately depicts minority youth as perpetrators.

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Reporting on violence: Instructor's guide [pdf]

This handbook was created to help instructors infuse a data-driven approach into teaching journalism students how to report on violence.

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youth homicide
Videos: A public health approach to reporting on youth violence

These videos were developed as part of a project to educate journalists on how to apply a public health approach to reporting on crime and violence. They show the original and revised versions of a local newscast on youth homicide. 

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hate crime reporting
Videos: A public health approach to reporting on hate crimes

These videos were developed as part of a project to educate journalists on how to apply a public health approach to reporting on crime and violence. They show the original and revised versions of a local newscast on hate crimes.

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bomb threat
Videos: A public health approach to reporting on bomb threats

These videos were developed as part of a project to educate journalists on how to apply a public health approach to reporting on crime and violence. They show the original and revised versions of a local newscast on a bomb threat.

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Issue 9: Youth and violence in California newspapers

In the week following the Columbine shootings, news reporting was so ubiquitous that it frightened students, teachers, and parents coast-to-coast -- even though schools are one of the safest places for children to be. This Issue measures how reporting about more proximate and probable threats to California young people compares with coverage of dangers rare and remote.

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Issue 8: The debate on gun policies in U.S. and midwest newspapers

Gun violence and its prevention were thrust onto the public's agenda on April 20, 1999, with the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. But the shootings did not happen in a vacuum. In this Issue, we explore the context of gun policy debate in newspapers during the spring of 1999.

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Myths about defensive gun use and permissive gun carry laws [pdf]

Some researchers have argued that communities are safer when more residents carry guns. But are they? Daniel Webster and Jens Ludwig examine the evidence put forth in various studies by John Lott and Gary Kleck to assess the question. Until proven otherwise, they write, the best science indicates that more guns will lead to more deaths.

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The gun control movement has found its voice: But still needs to find its way [pdf]

The majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws, and they are silent no more. They are telling newscasters, pollsters, and politicians that they want something done to end the ease with which people can get guns. This report traces the trajectory of public opinion on guns and makes recommendations for violence prevention advocates who want to amplify the public's voice on this issue.

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The California Violence Prevention Initiative: Advancing policy to ban Saturday night specials

The California Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) was conceived in 1993 as a policy advocacy effort to reduce violence among youth. The VPI included an emphasis on shifting societys definition of violence to include a public health perspective, reducing access to alcohol and other drugs, and limiting availability of handguns. Prior to the VPI, there were no local SNS bans. Now, there are bans in 41 California jurisdictions.

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Gun policy in seven midwestern states: A brief analysis [pdf]

This report explores gun laws in seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. These states, whose laws vary from unusually restrictive to remarkably permissive, present a host of challenges and opportunities for gun violence prevention advocates.

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News for a change: An advocate's guide to working with the media

News for a Change provides step-by-step instructions for public health advocates working with the media to promote social change. The book provides a guide to media advocacy -- the strategic use of mass media to advance policies that improve health.

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