A number of high-risk behaviors within the college population have captured the mass media’s attention, from high-risk alcohol use to misuse of prescription medications. Media focus on these problems is important and helps members of the public understand the depth and severity of these problems. Indeed, news articles and broadcast segments comprise an important component of the environment that helps to shape the behavior of students, and the manner in which such incidents are portrayed helps set the stage for acceptance and implementation of proposed solutions.
In many instances, the perspective the media offers typically includes a portrait of a student engaged in these high-risk behaviors. While it is helpful to the public to illustrate certain dimensions of these problems, these portrayals can often lead to victim-blaming and a stronger focus on individual-based prevention efforts than may be warranted. When the media focus on the environmental determinants of behaviors – the social, political, and cultural underpinnings of these problems – prevention practitioners and other concerned parties are more likely to succeed in their attempts to implement broader, lasting and effective change strategies.
This section of the site is designed for members of the media, with resources and materials to satisfy likely queries from interested media professionals. For more information on appropriate prevention strategies to address the problems facing the college population, visit the Effective Prevention section of this site.