The alarming STD problem in the US is brought about by a combination of factors, the primary one being that people are not knowledgeable about the disease - its causes and effects, modes of transfer, dangers and risks. This shows in the lifestyle of most Americans and their condescending attitude toward premarital sex, multiple sex partners, casual and unprotected sex. Such practices erode the moral fabric of American society and, on the health implications of STDs, deprive this country of a healthy and robust citizenry.
On the need to address the perceived lack of awareness of Americans on STD, it is agreed that media is a potent medium for that purpose. But the question is, does American media recognize the extent of the problem and the role it is being called upon to play
The media in modern times has served as the primary means people use to gain insight into the various issues that bedevil American society. Media feed people information about current issues ranging from politics, global affairs, economics, and public health and is the information mix with the most extensive reach. The influence of media in people's lives is so vast it can sway public perception and opinion towards one side (Stoughton, 1994). Thus media can promote awareness of important issues such as STDs just as easily as it can prompt awareness regarding violence.
This paper will discuss the role of one form of media, newspapers, in increasing public knowledge and awareness of STDs. News articles published in the nationally-circulated newspapers that tackle the issue of STDs will be analyzed to determine the ways in which the issue is presented and discussed. The primary objective is to determine how the print news media informs the public about sexually transmitted diseases.
Four daily newspapers representing American mainstream media are herein presented for their views and editorial policies on the subject of STD: the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald. The four newspapers enjoy the widest circulation and readership and carry the potential to sway not only public opinion but also government policies.
In this section, past studies will be discussed to determine the scope and intensity of coverage that the print news media devote to the subject of STD. Also, news articles from the nationally circulated newspap