Consulting, Research and Speaking on Health and Media Issues

Media competence: Do we have it?

Here is a summary of my remarks at the Future and Reality of Gaming (F.R.O.G.) Conference in Vienna, Austria in October, 2011. I was asked to introduce the topic, “What the FROG is Media Competence?” I started my career as a media producer, not an academic. The reason I went back to university to earn a doctorate was to learn how to evaluate my media work and make it ... [Continue Reading]

Op-ed in New York Times

I was invited to submit an op-ed on the Supreme Court’s ruling on violent video games, which appeared in the June 27, 2011 issue of the New York Times. It’s been an interesting and enlightening experience conducting research and giving media interviews on such a controversial topic! An excerpt: Many people assume that video game violence is consistently and unspeakably ... [Continue Reading]

Questioning assumptions

When I work with researchers or clinicians on media training and strategy, one thing I warn them about is false or misleading premises. Here is an example. I just did an interview on CNN’s Headline News, where the focus was a story that’s kicked around for several years: a 2006 video game sold in Japan, called RapeLay, that allows players to grope (with a disembodied hand) ... [Continue Reading]

Jamie Oliver’s fat chance

As a public health booster, you’d expect me to like the new Jamie Oliver reality show on ABC. The young British chef parachutes into a West Virginia town that boasts a frighteningly high obesity rate. There’s a new nutrition sheriff in town who’s gonna clean up this place–er, put healthful food on their school lunch plates. I do believe he truly wants to help. And it’s clear ... [Continue Reading]

Change the defaults

The other day, I heard an NPR health podcast titled “Bad Habits Die Hard–Will We Die With Them?” It includes an interview with Charlotte Schoenborn, a CDC statistician, who notes ruefully that after years of health education campaigns, there’s relatively little to show for these efforts: “It’s amazing how hard it is to change these personal health behaviors.” One problem is ... [Continue Reading]

Are you using the right metrics?

A non-profit client was concerned because the number of applicants for its college scholarships had declined from the previous year, from 880 to 840. The client, a foundation, only awarded about 35 of these scholarships per year, so they didn’t lack for applicants. Still, they wondered whether the decline in applications meant that the money they had spent promoting the ... [Continue Reading]