Associate Research Specialist Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Background: Bullying is common in adolescence and can lead to negative health, social and academic consequences. One way that adolescents and families learn about bullying is through news media, which often highlights tragic cases of suicide linked to bullying. Journalists have potential to be public health partners to promote prevention or intervention approaches via news media. The perspectives of journalists on needed stakeholders, such as pediatricians, and resources from researchers is not known.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to understand perspectives of journalists on critical stakeholders and resources to promote youth bullying prevention via news media.
Design/Methods: We identified journalists who had covered youth-focused topics by reviewing published news stories about bullying. Participants were recruited from multiple sources, including print and online newspapers. Semi-structured phone interviews were conducted. Questions explored journalists’ perspectives regarding stakeholders and resources in reporting about bullying. Qualitative analysis included three researchers using the constant comparative method.
Results: A total of 20 journalists were interviewed. They were 70% female and 80% Caucasian, with an average age of 42.7 (SD=12.06) years. Regarding current stakeholders to inform news stories, journalists commonly mentioned educators and researchers. One quote described “researchers, educators….who’s really focused on bullying.” Regarding needed resources, most journalists focused on wanting information including prevention approaches, tips on language describing bullying, and ways to help teens and families. Journalists mentioned “researchers could summarize their research in a way that feels easy for journalists to pull from.” Regarding pediatricians, journalists described recommending pediatrician involvement, one journalist explained “We’ve always tried to [recommend] ‘go to your pediatrician.” No journalist reported experiences working with pediatricians as stakeholders, though there was interest in developing these collaborations. Conclusion(s): Findings illustrate that journalists commonly work with educators and researchers for youth bullying news stories. Further, there is interest in partnering with pediatricians as stakeholders. As news stories may provide information to teens and families about bullying, these partnerships may ensure that public health approaches are better disseminated.
Authors/Institutions: Maggie Bushman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States; Reese Hyzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States; Karen Pletta, University of Wisconsin Madison, Stoughton, Wisconsin, United States; Megan A. Moreno, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States