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Press coverage of AIDS/HIV in the South Pacific: Short-term view of a long-term problem

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Cullen, T. (2003). Press Coverage of AIDS/HIV in the South Pacific: Short-term view of a long-term plan. Pacific Journalism Review, 9(1): 138-147.
Author(s): Trevor Cullen
Publication date: 
September, 2003

In 1999, the author conducted face-to-face interviews with 25 newspaper editors from several South Pacific countries. The findings highlighted a worrying sense of complacency and lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among the editors. Moreover, most of them were not convinced about the potential disastrous affect an HIV/AIDS epidemic would have on the political, social, economic and social landscape of their respective Pacific countries. The lack of editorials and front-page stories reinforced this view. New stories focused mainly on statistics and workshops. There was little moblising information or human-interest angles which might have motivated self-protective behaviours or changed socio-political educational apporaches. However, three year later, in September 2002, the author returned to the largest country in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea, and recorded a significant shift in attitude among the editors. What led to this 'change of heart' and will it result in a different approach to reporting HIV/AIDS?