Media Coverage of the Flu

"How the Media Handles the Flu"

The Trust for America's Health find that journalists covering public health issues reveals that we are living in a time when a government and society is greatly unprepared for a pandemic outbreak of the flu.

For the month of May, the Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted twenty one on one phone interviews of twenty of the most influential and prominent figures in journalism. The interviews asked a multitude of questions regarding how well we are prepared for a pandemic, how serious the threat really is, and the obstacles needed to overcome in order to over come the pandemic.  The study also examined how the journalists' attitudes towards to role of the media. And overwhelming the response they got from the twenty interviews lead the Research associates to feel that the media was ill prepared to relay the information to people. 

That's not to say that media coverage has gotten better. In 1997 for the outbreak of the H5N1 virus had 165 articles dealing with the pandemic.  That number rose significantly in 2005 when coverage of the pandemic continued to include over 8,700 articles dealing with the H5N1 virus.

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