Special issue: The message and the media: Media coverage of celebrity duis: Teachable moments or problematic social modeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim: Alcohol in the media influences norms around use, particularly for young people. A recent spate of celebrity arrests for drinking and driving (DUI) has received considerable media attention. We asked whether these newsworthy events serve as teachable moments or problematic social modeling for young women. Method: Qualitative analysis of US media coverage of four female celebrities (Michelle Rodriguez, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan) was conducted over the year following their DUI arrest (December 2005 through June 2008). The media sample included five television and three print sources and resulted in 150 print and 16 television stories. Results: Stories were brief, episodic and focused around glamorous celebrity images. They included routine discussion of the consequences of the DUI for the individual celebrities without much evidence of a consideration of the public health dimensions of drinking and driving or possible prevention measures. Conclusions: Our analysis found little material in the media coverage that dealt with preventing injury or promoting individual and collective responsibility for ensuring such protection. Media attention to such newsworthy events is a missed opportunity that can and should be addressed through media advocacy efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-260
Number of pages5
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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