Straight News: A History of the Media's Coverage of Gays and Lesbians

December 24, 1996

Former CNN reporter, Edward Alwood, looked into the issue and concluded the media often acts as a mere conduit for a subculture’s image. He reminds us that when reporters do not have personal knowledge or experience with an issue, they rely on outside sources that are sometimes intrisically biased. In the case of gays and lesbians, a huge portion of the information came from psychiatrists and police and not from the community itself. He retraces the history of early gay and lesbian activists’ efforts to help the media understand there was more to be said about the subculture and that the coverage thus far had not been objective as was believed. Alwood also discusses the media’s coverage of AIDS from its beginnings and how it wasn’t until journalists started being personally affected by AIDS, that the coverage changed to reflect the true dimensions of the epidemic.

Keywords: Media Criticism, Gay and Lesbian Movement, AIDS

Guest Names: Edward Alwood former CNN reporter and author of "Straight