AIDS and the News Media

News reports on AIDS have appeared at a time of general public concern about health risks, and, like the coverage of risk, the reporting on AIDS has been controversial. Perceptions of this disease have been linked to economic and personal stakes, professional ideologies, administrative responsibilities, and moral beliefs. It is from this perspective that news coverage of AIDS must be understood. The norms and practices of journalism, the technical uncertainties of risk evaluation, and the pressures placed on the media by various interests have influenced the reporting on this disease. However, media reports also shape the social context of the epidemic, affecting public perceptions, personal behavior, and policy agendas.

Author(s): Dorothy Nelkin

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Volume 69, Issue 2 (pages 293–307)
Published in 1991