Institutional Processes and Competing Agendas

Health promotion professionals have long recognized the power of the media to influence health activities. However, mass media objectives differ from public health objectives, and each domain of popular media—journalism, entertainment, and advertising—is characterized by certain problems and possibilities that are important for health communication professionals to understand if their intended goal is to influence representations of public health priorities.

Journalism and Health

Ostensibly the goal of journalism is to provide the public with information from which to make trustworthy and sound decisions. To contribute to a healthier society, the news should provide up-to-date information about health threats as well as political, social, and individual strategies to reduce these threats.

To garner news media attention, stories must be relevant to journalists (i.e., meet traditional news values). In general, ...

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