In 2013, Telluride, Colo., proposed a tax on sugary drinks that would require local business owners to pay the city one cent per ounce of sugar-sweetened beverages sold. The proposed tax did not pass, but generated a large amount of news coverage and controversy. This report evaluates the news coverage the proposal generated, examining the types and quantity of coverage, the speakers quoted in the coverage, and the arguments that appeared on both sides of the debate. The investigators found that the news coverage in Telluride framed the soda tax issue primarily in terms of the potential ramifications for the health and economy of the town. They also compare Telluride coverage with the coverage of similar 2012 soda tax proposals in Richmond and El Monte, Calif., and identified both common patterns and differences in coverage from the three cities. These findings contribute to a growing body of knowledge on how soda tax news debates play out within the unique context of each community in which they are proposed.
Published: October 2014
ID #: CAS016
Publisher: Berkeley Media Studies Group
Authors: Nixon L, Mejia P, Dorfman L
Big Soda’s Long Shadow: News Coverage of Local Proposals to Tax Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Richmond, El Monte and TellurideTaxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has been identified as a key policy lever to reduce consumption of sugary drinks and to fund nutrition and physical activity programs. This paper analyzes news coverage of three SSB tax proposals in Richmond and El Monte, Calif., and Telluride, Colo., in 2012 and 2013. Although these three proposals failed, news More