ANCHOR LEAD: MEDIA NEED TO GET INVOLVED IN LINKING NEWS EVENTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGES, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Lindsay Lohan is just the latest celebrity to appear in news media globally related to her arrest for driving while intoxicated with alcohol. Elizabeth Klag-Smith, an injury prevention expert at Johns Hopkins and colleagues, have studied such media coverage and say that an important opportunity to educate the public is being missed.
SMITH: We became aware of highly publicized celebrity drinking and driving events. Given that drinking and driving is still such a public health concern we were interested in understanding whether these newsworthy events were giving a public health message, and what we found was that unfortunately there’s rarely a public health message given in coverage of these events, but rather instead, news coverage may actually serve to glamorize drinking and driving, which is particularly concerning given how influential celebrities are for our newest drivers. :29
Smith advocates media framing such events in the grim statistics related to deaths among teenagers who drink and drive. At Johns Hopkins I’m Elizabeth Tracey.