AIMS To examine the possibilities for research into news reporting and its role in reflecting and informing public and political beliefs and action in relation to alcohol and drinking practices. METHOD Studies on media and alcohol, focusing on the role of media in relation to alcohol consumption and drinking-related practices, policies and beliefs. RESULTS Most research on alcohol and media has focused on either advertising or entertainment media content, rather than on news reporting and its wider social implications. CONCLUSION The role of news reporting could usefully be widened. We offer a framework for analysing the role of news media in relation to public debate and practice with regard to alcohol and drinking.