Health reporting: The missing links

January 1, 2011

Background to the Abstract

There is a growing interest in health stories. This is evident from both the increase of health publications and online research for health information. But how accurate and reliable are these stories. Two surveys in the United States that examined the state of online health reporting exposed the extent of spin, the lack of medical evidence and the narrow frame and context of many health stories. This last point, narrowcasting, is the main focus of this article and the research questions examine why this is so and how coverage could be widened. Using press coverage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) as a case study, the author argues that health communication theories, and in particular, Social Change Communication (SCC), can help to widen the framing of HIV journalism and health journalism by reporting the social, economic, cultural, religious and political determinants of health. These links could be applied to coverage of other communicable and non-communicable diseases.

About the Author

Dr Trevor Cullen (PhD) is Professor of Journalism at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. Trevor is recognised as a national and international leader in the field of HIV/health Journalism and Journalism education. He has received several University and national teaching and research awards. These include two Australian Government awards – A National Teaching and Learning Fellowship (NTF) and the Australian Award for University Teaching. (AAUT).

Recommended Citation
Cullen, T. A. (2011). Health reporting: The missing links. Retrieved from

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