Start Date: December 2013

ID #: CAS016

Organization: Public Health Institute - Berkeley Media Studies Group

Project Lead: Lori Dorfman, DrPH, MPH

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Taxes on sugary drinks have been identified as a policy tool that could reduce consumption of these beverages or raise funds to address associated health expenses. To date, tax proposals have met stiff opposition from the beverage industry and others. An unsuccessful ballot measure in November 2013 to place a one-cent tax per ounce on sugary drinks within the city of Telluride, Colo., provides a recent opportunity to study the public debate over this issue. Analyzing news coverage is important because news sets the agenda for policy debates, and frames how voters and policy-makers consider whether to support an issue. This research project will collect local and national news coverage on Telluride’s ballot initiative, including traditional mainstream news outlets as well as online comments and blogs. A final report will provide a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of the news coverage of this tax measure.

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