AIDS and the News Media
Milbank Quarterly. 1991; 69(2): 293-307.
This article is about how AIDS is reported in newspapers and popular magazines. I am focusing on the print media because they are a major source of news about AIDS, for television conveys mainly images, often through fictionalized accounts. As background, I will first review some general characteristics of risk reporting, suggesting how the norms and practices of journalism, the technical uncertainties of risk evaluation, and the pressures applied by various advocacy groups influence the news. I will illustrate how these pressures and constraints have affected the coverage of AIDS. Finally, using the case of AIDS, I will draw from studies of risk communication to suggest the influence of the print media on public perceptions, personal behavior, and policy agendas; that is, on the issues of concern to David Willis [editor of the