By: SARAH BRADDOCK
Following the launch of Weight Watchers’ rebranding efforts, including the new “WW” name, many news outlets focused their attention on the wrong issues at hand instead of addressing the core issues of diet-culture.
Initially, most of the articles covering the rebranding elaborate on the changes taking place within the company’s practices. This includes a new application, partnership with meditation app Headspace, and incentives for logging various health-related activities.
Then, the pieces go one of two ways. Exhibited in People’s article, “Weight Watchers Rebrands to WW and Refocuses on Health and Wellness” by Julie Mazziotta, many of the pieces fail to provide more than one side to the perception of the rebrand.
The article does well in explaining the new changes taking place, but the only opinion given in the piece is from CEO Mindy Grossman and major WW investor, Oprah Winfrey.
Only including opinions from sources who will undoubtedly speak in favor of the company creates a bias within the article’s content.
Another way the coverage of WW’s new look goes is portrayed in Independent’s, “Weight Watchers Rebrands as WW in Bid to Distance Itself From Dieting,” by Rachel Hosie.
Hosie also covers Grossman’s account on the rebranding of the company, but she elaborates on the backlash the company has received. She cites London-based nutritionist Laura Thomas also holds a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences at Texas A&M.
Thomas is notoriously anti-diet through her social media presence and nutrition practice. Including another opinion on the possibly dishonest intentions of Weight Watchers’ supposed well-intentioned rebranding adds credibility to the article.
Following Thomas’s feedback, however, the article goes on to elaborate on Oprah Winfrey’s role within the company.
This is where the majority of my issues arise with media coverage of this event. Many articles use Winfrey’s support and role in WW as a crutch.
Through covering the damage diet culture has on young women and the way WW promotes this, discussing the success Winfrey has had within the program devalues any good intentions the article, writer or publication may have had.