In the heat of a campaign, it can be easy to forget that advocacy is about more than winning a particular policy change. It's about values and relationships -- and that requires dialogue. In this brown bag discussion, Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles, executive director of the Living Hope Wheelchair Association, encourages us to step outside our comfort zones and learn how to open the space for conversation so that we can become better allies to communities struggling for justice.
Advocates work tirelessly for social change on a variety of issues. But their efforts may be thwarted by underlying negative attitudes toward government and a widespread misunderstanding of its role in creating a healthy, functioning society. As part of BMSG's 20th anniversary brown bag discussion series, Patrick Bresette, program director for Public Works, explores how we can tackle this problem and build public support for a government dedicated to the common good.
Cereal companies, the third biggest food marketer to children, are using sophisticated online marketing techniques to target kids with unhealthy products and get them to engage with brands in ways not possible through television advertising. In this study, BMSG's Andrew Cheyne, Lori Dorfman and Eliana Bukofzer, along with the Yale Rudd Center's Jennifer Harris, explore cereal companies' digital marketing tactics and implications for public health.
Although research suggests that healthy products can be profitable for the food industry, marketers continue to target children with ads for foods and beverages that are unhealthy, cheap and widely available. Such marketing is linked to overweight, obesity and related health problems. This brief report, prepared by Healthy Eating Research based on BMSG research, explains the scope of the problem and offers recommendations for improvement.
American children and adolescents remain exposed to a disproportionate amount of marketing for unhealthy foods and beverages, in spite of some progress by industry, government and schools to improve young people's food environments. This report -- a review of academic and industry literature on trends in food marketing to youth, as well as policy interventions -- explains what this means for public health researchers and advocates looking to improve kids' health.
In spite of the role that sugar-sweetened beverages play in chronic health problems, public health advocates face formidable challenges in arguing for a tax on them. In this article, BMSG's Lori Dorfman explains the backdrop that makes passing a soda tax so difficult and what advocates can do to increase the public's understanding of and support for such a solution. (Purchase required to view full text.)
Blogging can be a powerful communications tool for media advocacy. Whether you are just getting started or have been blogging for years, here are some tips and tricks to help your organization build and maintain a better blog. Read more >
Children in the U.S. continue to grow up in environments saturated by food and beverage marketing, the bulk of it for foods low in nutrients and high in calories, sugars, salt or fats. In spite of the threat this poses to kids' health, the food industry has balked at adopting even voluntary guidelines to improve its marketing practices. As BMSG's Lori Dorfman and CSPI's Margo Wootan show in this article, addressing an issue of this magnitude will require an international commitment to healthy food marketing policies.
If you want to reduce and prevent health inequities, then you have to tackle their root social, economic and political causes. For busy health departments with tight deadlines and funding constraints, this no easy task. But, as one health department in California's Alameda County is showing, the results are worth it. And a few key strategies like collaborating with community and engaging the media can improve prospects for success.
News media coverage of child sexual abuse can help policymakers and the public understand what must be done to prevent future abuse, but coverage tends to focus on extreme cases. So how do the media frame child sexual abuse in the absence of high-profile cases? In this article, BMSG's Pamela Mejia, Andrew Cheyne and Lori Dorfman present an analysis of newspaper coverage of the issue and offer recommendations to help advocates shape reporting in ways that highlight the need for prevention.
Policy determines the structure of society and the rules by which we live. In this chapter, part of the 3rd edition of Community Organizing and Community Building for Health and Welfare, Lori Dorfman and Priscilla Gonzalez show how communities can use media advocacy to shape policy and influence social conditions and environments in ways that support health.
The rise of marketing strategies tailored to today's social media landscape have made children and teens increasingly vulnerable to food and beverage industry marketing -- often for unhealthy products. Marketers are exploiting youth's relationship with digital media to foster engagement with their brands. Authors Kathryn Montgomery, Jeff Chester, Sonya Grier and BMSG's Lori Dorfman call for a set of fair marketing principles and practices both to protect youth and allow them to participate online. (Registration required to view full text.)
In response to concerns about the link between sugary beverages and obesity, soda manufacturers are using costly and elaborate corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns to shift the blame for their products' health harms onto consumers, boost product popularity, and prevent regulation. In this article for PLoS Medicine, authors from BMSG and Public Health Advocacy Institute show that such tactics resemble those used by the tobacco industry.
The media play a powerful role in the public's and policy leaders' understanding of the child sexual abuse and potential solutions. In this webinar, the second in a series of nine web conferences on Ending Child Sexual Abuse, BMSG and Frameworks Institute discuss studies related to the coverage of child sexual abuse and its prevention. This conference series is a collaboration between PreventConnect and Ms. Foundation for Women. View the webinar slides or recording.
By harnessing the power of the media to highlight effective environmental and policy solutions, advocates can advance the public discussion on health from the ground up. In this webinar, Strategic Alliance and BMSG helped participants learn to craft effective messages to reframe critical food and physical-activity related issues from an upstream perspective. Download the slides or view the recording.
In spite of high childhood obesity rates, food and beverage marketers continue to target youth with increasingly sophisticated ads for foods and drinks high in salt, sugars, and fats. The Institute of Medicine has made strong recommendations for how the food industry and government can reverse the situation, but a new report shows these groups have made little progress. In this commentary, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Margo Wootan, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, call for a national commitment to addressing food marketing to children.
The United States is in the middle of an obesity crisis that's putting large numbers of adults and children at risk of developing health problems such as diabetes and cancer. With its aggressive marketing of junk food to kids, the food industry is part of the problem. In this webinar, BMSG's Andrew Cheyne discusses how marketing works, common tactics food marketers use to reach children, and what we can do about it. The webcast also includes presentations on cancer prevention, community health, and tobacco marketing to kids.
News coverage of child sexual abuse is typically infrequent compared to how often it actually occurs. But in November 2011, the arrest of Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of child sexual abuse catapulted the issue into the spotlight and generated an extraordinary volume of coverage. In this report, BMSG examines news coverage generated in the first 9 days of the Sandusky case, compares it to our earlier findings about how child sexual abuse is usually covered, and offers suggestions to reporters and advocates based on our observations.
The explosion of digital culture in recent years has changed how fast food and soda companies market to children and teenagers. Today, powerful and intense promotions are completely, seamlessly integrated into young people's social relationships and minute-by-minute interactions. This report explores some of marketers' latest techniques, explains why they should concern public health advocates, and offers resources for taking action.
Physical activity is vital to children's lifelong health and success, yet many children aren't active enough. In fact, in California, nearly one in three teens is not regularly active. Improving physical education (P.E.) is one important way to help increase opportunities for students to be active. California schools can take steps in this direction by implementing some of the low-cost strategies covered in this brief.
Sexual and domestic violence advocates cannot change norms and environments without acknowledging and leveraging the critical role that media coverage has in shaping the understanding of, and conversations about, violence. ln this web conference, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Prevention Institute's Larry Cohen discuss how to make the case for prevention using data and other forms of media messaging. View the slides or the recording.
Everywhere children and youth go, marketing follows them, touting foods and drinks they would be much better off avoiding. This report illuminates the latest developments in the digital media marketplace and what it means for the health of young people.
Child sexual abuse is a tough and sensitive topic to discuss and to write about. In this Issue, we examine how child sexual abuse is portrayed in the news. We ask: How do journalists cover child sexual abuse, especially in the absence of a prominent case? Do sensationalist stories focusing on the "stranger danger" misconception dominate news coverage? Is preventing child sexual abuse discussed? We then use our findings to make specific recommendations for advocates and reporters.
The science is clear: The environments where children grow up, play and go to school affect their diets and health. In this research brief, prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research program, we show how children in the United States grow up in environments saturated by food and beverage marketing, the bulk of it for foods low in nutrients and high in calories, sugars, salt and fat.
Digital techniques are quickly evolving and unprecedentedly immersive. To assess the best ways to understand these new media effects, we convened a group of scholars to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of the digital practices on food and beverage consumption among children and youth and a research agenda to guide future studies of that impact.