Using the News Media to Disseminate Seat Belt Information to the American Public: How Police Interact with the Media and How Can We Improve It

The local news media commonly report motor vehicle crashes (MVC). Police have been identified as prominent spokespeople during these news stories and when interviewed, convey more prevention information to the public. Despite this, little is known about the interaction between police and the news media, the police officers perception of their role in MVC prevention or police officers previous media training. To address these issues, this project conducted a content analysis of local newspaper MVC reporting along with in-depth interviews with police information officers in a midwestern city of 100,000 population and used this information to develop a web-based MVC media training tool. Police information officers regularly interacting with the news media, report very little, if any, formal media training, view MVC prevention as a significant part of their job description, and believe that a web-based MVC media training tool is useful to them and their colleagues. Training police officers how to insert prevention messages into “everyday” news stories about MVC may be a cost effective way of reaching the public with important information about seat belt use and motor vehicle safety. A web-based training tool may be helpful to optimize this opportunity provided by the news media.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 21p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01358005
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMTRI-2010-7
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-06-H-00055
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 18 2011 4:10PM