410.663.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 4th Term | 3 Credit(s)
M 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    David Jernigan
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • use the news media to translate and disseminate relevant research findings, and communicate about and advocate for effective public health policies
    • view news coverage critically, and discuss and identify how different story frames direct attention to different kinds of solutions to social and health problems
    • grasp from a theoretical and practical perspective newsroom practices and constraints, and their impact on public health policy and practice
    • shape news stories to maximize the possibility that they will not only attract news coverage but also move forward public debate in ways that are consistent with public health goals
    • participate in public debate in the news media through vehicles such as pitching stories, writing letters to the editors and interviewing
    • apply principles of framing to the process of preparing for and participating in public and media debates about public health policies
  • Course Description
    Broadens students’ understanding of health communication to include the strategic use of the news media to support community organizing to change public health policy. Builds on theoretical and empirical work in mass communications, and uses case examples in a number of health policy areas to show how the strategies and tools of media advocacy may be applied to specific public health policy campaigns. Ample opportunities are provided for students to “practice” media advocacy, in the form of writing letters to the editor and opinion pieces, role-playing interviews, and so on. Introduces students to research literature about news media forms and practices; to framing techniques to influence news content and gain access to news channels; and to the relationship between media advocacy and other forms of health communication.
  • Intended Audience
    All students interested in media advocacy
  • Methods of Assessment
    Class participation, written assignments, and final project
  • Required Text(s)

    Wallack L, Woodruff K, Dorman L, Diaz L, News for A Change (Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, 1999)

    Wallack L, Dorfman L, Jernigan D, Themba M. Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996)

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at