Background to the Article
Time magazine has named health workers caring for Ebola victims in West Africa as its “Person of the Year 2014” and compared them to “military special forces who volunteered to fight the epidemic when governments were unprepared.”
While this award acknowledges and applauds medical workers for their vital frontline role in containing the spread of Ebola, the media itself also has an important role to play in reporting epidemics. First, it needs to inform the public with evidence-based facts about the disease. And second, to lessen fear and stigma by accurate and timely coverage. Research shows this approach leads to a better understanding of and response to infectious diseases.
But is this how the media have reported Ebola?
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).