The Impact of Press Coverage on Social Beliefs: The Case of HIV Transmission

James K. Hertog, David P. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This study reviewed the impact of newspaper and newsmagazine coverage of AIDS from 1987 through 1991 on public beliefs concerning the likelihood of HIV transmission via toilets, sneezing, and insects. Fan's ideodynamic model was applied to an analysis of coverage in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report, and the United Press International newswire. The trend line formed was then compared to public opinion polls concerning each of the HIV transmission routes. A significant relationship was found, and when Granger causality tests were applied, prediction was unidirectional—from news content to public opinion and not from opinion to content. Implications for theories of media effect were noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-574
Number of pages30
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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