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Providing Messaging Insight and Media Tips for Soda Tax Advocates

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In 2014, voters in the cities of Berkeley and San Francisco, California, were asked to decide whether to place an excise tax on sugary drinks sold within their borders. Berkeley made history when it passed the nation's first tax on sugary drinks, despite an aggressive anti-tax campaign from the beverage industry. San Francisco's measure was approved by the majority of voters but failed to reach the two-thirds majority it needed to pass.

Given the prominence of these two policy battles and the likelihood that more will follow, PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group conducted an ethnographic content analysis of news articles, social media posts, and campaign materials related to the soda tax initiatives in Berkeley and San Francisco. Their research explores characteristics of the debates around the measures, and offers insights to future soda tax proponents. Read the brief and related resources.

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