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Culture, Health and Sexuality. 2007 Jul-Aug; 9(4):403-414.This paper examines teenage pregnancy as a social-historical construction of increasing concern in Brazil. It presents findings from over five years of empirical research alongside an analysis of a sample of newspaper articles representative of the dominant positions in the Brazilian press concerning teenage pregnancy. In contrast to mainstream arguments and to broader moral panic surrounding teenage pregnancy, we argue that contemporary patterns of sexual behaviour among young people in Brazil do not signal growing permissiveness and are not straightforwardly related to poverty, family dysfunction or lack of life projects on the part of young people themselves. On the contrary, early pregnancy and parenthood retain strong continuities with core Brazilian values and norms of sexual culture. (author's)
Family Coordinator. 1970 Apr; 19(2):159-164.Spurned as a subject unfit for even private conversation, let alone the pages of a magazine, in the early twentieth century, birth control is now discussed openly in every kind of communications medium. In the early years of the birth control movement, however, only journals which enjoyed some kind of financial security would dare include such an inflammatory subject. As Americans encountered economic difficulties in the 1930s and adopted a more enlightened view of sexual relations, birth control became an acceptable topic, even to those who opposed the practice. Public acceptance of and interest in the issue has been reflected in periodical coverage of the subject. (author's)
In: The state of humanity, edited by Julian L. Simon. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishers, 1995. 619-27.The author of this monograph chapter states that during the period of the mid-1960s to the end of the 1970s population growth issues were newsworthy coverage in the US and coverage increased dramatically in the New York Times. The Washington Post, in the 1970s, covered population issues differently from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. During the 1980s, the Times and the Journal reduced the coverage of the negative effects of population growth, and the Post increased its negative coverage. During the 1980s, coverage declined in the Times and to some extent in the Post. The Journal maintained the same level of coverage. National opinion polls indicate that the general public has been concerned about population growth issues over the past 45 years. Most people believe that both world population growth and US population growth are too high. Increased population size is associated in the public's mind with increased energy consumption, increased air and water pollution, and too many immigrants in the US. In 1971, 41% of those polled thought population growth was a major problem, and 27% thought it was somewhat of a problem. 19% viewed it as a potential problem. 25% believed it would affect their quality of life and 29% believed in its potential to affect their life. 27% thought it could affect the quality of their life, but were unconcerned. 65% in 1971 considered that US population growth was a serious problem. 57% accepted present US population size as appropriate and 22% desired a smaller population size. During 1947 and 1974, public opinion shifted in the direction of greater concern about population growth and its negative consequences. In 1991, 65% believed overpopulation to be a serious problem. During 1976-88, concern about overpopulation declined. Increased concern appeared in 1988 and peaked in 1991. Environmental concerns also increased during 1974 and 1991.
In: AIDS. Prevention through education: a world view, edited by Jaime Sepulveda, Harvey Fineberg, Jonathan Mann. New York, New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. 255-72.US public health officials have depended on the broadcast media to deliver potent anti-AIDS messages to vast audiences. While most Americans now know a great deal about AIDS, this knowledge has not always resulted in the adoption of preventive behavior. Since promoting condom use will result in the greatest reduction in AIDS transmission, messages which are targeted to homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual audiences and are designed to address the psychological barriers to condom use are needed. It is difficult to convince the broadcast media to communicate targeted messages, even to heterosexuals, for fear of the political and economic repercussions of viewer alienation. The media has been used successfully to promote health, and anti-AIDS campaigns have achieved a high level of understanding of the disease on the part of the public. These include the American Red Cross' "Rumors Are Spreading Faster Than AIDS" and the Centers for Disease Control's "America Responds to AIDS" and print advertisements for condom use. The news media has played a role in informing, and sometimes confusing, the public by presenting unchallenged and unsubstantiated inaccurate reports, especially in the early days of the disease. Surveys now indicate that AIDS knowledge is good in areas that have been the focus of media reports, and awareness of the role of condoms to prevent transmission is high, higher in fact than the use of condoms. It is time to move beyond delivering current information and to begin motivating condom use. Condoms are maligned in the US and are associated with reduced pleasure or "illicit" sex, requesting their use also raises issues of interpersonal trust. These specific concerns need to be addressed, but the current standards of the national broadcast media block delivery of messages to motivate condom use. Entertainment programming is a possible source, since it is only subject to general guidelines, depending on audience and context, but these opportunities are not frequent enough to make a significant difference. To successfully promote condoms, their image has to be changed to that of a product used by couples rather than individuals which might actually enhance sexual pleasure, and peer consensus in favor of condom use must be implied. Marketing efforts using suggestive names and slogans and offering different shapes, colors, and textures are attempting such an image change. In light of current media restrictions, it is important to develop community-based educational programs which focus on condom promotion and can be assisted by local mass media. Local sentiment will ultimately dictate whether paid condom adds or public service spots will be used to address the psychological barriers to condom use.
INTEGRATION. 1992 Jun; (32):41-3.The Center for Family Orientation (COF), a private family planning agency with clinics in 8 provinces of Bolivia, initiated a bold, scientifically planned, and successful mass media campaign in 1986. As late as 1978 the Bolivian government had been hostile to COF. The Johns Hopkins University/Population Communication Services helped COF determine that the Bolivian public and its leaders were open to more information about family planning. Bolivia, the poorest Latin American country, then had 7 million people, expected to double in 27 years. There are 2 distinct indigenous groups, the Aymara and the Quechua, and Spanish-speaking people, centered in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz, respectively. Only 4% of couples use modern family planning methods. Initial surveys of 522 opinion leaders, 300 family planning users, focus groups of users, and a population survey of 1300 people in 8 provinces showed that 90% wanted modern family planning services. Radio was chosen to inform potential users about COF's services, to increase clinic attendance, and to involve men. To obtain support from public leaders, 10 conferences were held. The 1st series of radio messages focused on health benefits of family planning and responsible parenthood; the 2nd series gave specific benefits, information on child spacing, breast feeding, and optimal ages for childbearing. Besides 36,800 radio spots broadcast on 17 stations, booklets, posters, calendars, promotional items, and audiotapes to be played in public busses, were all designed, pretested, and revised. New acceptors increased 71% during the 11-month campaign. Success of the project influenced the start of the National Reproductive Health Project and new IEC efforts planned through cooperation of public and private institutions.
JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION. 1981 Spring; 31(2):106-15.The nature of science reporting for the U.S. mass media is detailed as an introduction to a brief analysis of the effect of media coverage on public opposition to science issues. There are a small number of scientist "stars" often seen on television, and a similar small number of influential reporters of science, about 50, who dominate the print media. There is a localized, slender communication link between the science community and the journalist community, with friendly exchange of information and favors. This local bias is exemplified by the public relations received on publication of the book "Sociobiology, A Science of Altruism," described as a manufactured "science event" turned into a national controversy via this narrow communications channel. It is possible to demonstrate fluctuations in media coverage, such as by numbers of articles indexed in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, and Television News: Index and Abstracts. When publicity of issues is plotted vs. public opinion polls, on issues such as fluoridation and nuclear power plants, an increase in public hostility can be seen with each rise in publicity. Media exposure to scientific issues seems to encourage public opposition and suspicion, suggesting that the public is either discriminatory, or perhaps anxious in a counter-productive direction.
POPULI. 1989 Jun; 16(2):30-7.An explosion of demographic information has taken place in the last 10 years. Yet, the public does not seem to be concerned about population growth. Population must compete with many other issues which have also "exploded." In 1983, an article in the New York Times carried a headline that assumed that the UN had lowered its world population projection for the year 2000. No such downturn actually took place. Other such mistakes are also reported. In 1982, an article in the Christian Science Monitor had a headline that suggested that the population bomb had fizzled. However, it did publish another article stating that the population bomb had not fizzled. However, it did publish another article stating that the population bomb had not fizzled. The public has grown tired of crises. They are inclined to "tune out" the dire predictions of experts. An editorial page article from the Mobil Corporation is an example. Popular opinion on world population growth is the result of a process of what can be gleaned from the mass media. The consistent, accurate dissemination of world demographic pattern information to the public should be a high priority for the field of demographics, but is not. The mechanics of population change should be separated from the effects of that change. The demographic community should impart an understanding of the world situation and how it came about. Among the concepts that are not well understood, but not too complex are the fact that population growth has taken place in developed and developing countries in different ways. Too often population projections are taken too literally. An understanding of the simple arithmetic of population growth is basic to considering the impact of population growth upon countries. Now is the time to increase population understanding. Knowledge of population growth should not be left to demographers alone.
Social Science and Medicine. 1989; 29(4):545-53.This article addresses the high incidence of AIDS in Puerto Rico (PR). Reasons include the high incidence of homosexuality and drug usage on the island, and the high rates of return migration and tourism between New York and PR. Since there is very little material on AIDS in PR, much of the data on the public's knowledge and awareness of the disease has been taken from the daily press. All copies of the 5 major daily newspapers were reviewed from January 1981 to the present. 1981 was the 1st year that AIDS was accepted as a disease, the year the 1st medical articles appeared describing it, and the year it was named. Nearly all information regarding the AIDS epidemic in PR has been turned into major controversies: the incidence of the disease (actual cases), testing for it, funding of AIDS research and patient care, methods of preventing the disease (education), the use of condoms, methods of contacting the disease and how infection can be avoided, and protection of prisoners. The victims of AIDS: the homosexuals, drug addicts, and hemophiliacs were left out of the controversies as participants. The controversies were nonmedical and nonscientific, suggesting that the public perceived insufficient interest on the part of medical and political leaders and was expropriating the problem. AIDS was seen as more of a political question than a medical one, with politicians turning the controversies into debates. It can be concluded that unless a strong apolitical socially organized assault is mounted on AIDS by the people, a society such as PR will have difficulty surviving the epidemic.
In: Rice RE, Paisley WJ, ed. Public communication campaigns. Beverly Hills, California, Sage, 1981. 181-98.The author studies the conduct of political campaigns in the context that they are collectively of general benefit to society and yet propagated by special interest groups that are in direct conflict with one another. He also studies why the role of mass media has been expanding and how the set of 3 interactions among campaigners, their target audiences, and mass media is structured in today's political process. Political campaigns center around the mobilization of support for candidates. Channels of communication are keyed to the changes in goals and targets at different phases of the campaign; a campaign can be viewed as a set of relationships involving the political system, the electorate, and the press. In the 1940s party power and affiliation was strong but the reduced state of the major parties in the 1950s-80s has meant that a candidate has to rely more on media and less on personal contacts. In addition there has been a rise in issue-based voting which requires a great deal of communication. As a result for the campaigner the shift of the burden of mass communication to television had meant that different skills are needed and budgets must be organized differently. The public opinion poll has changed campaigns more than any other aspect and polls have become a major topic of interaction between campaigners and the press. The product of campaigner-press interactions is a selected set of messages than can reach over 80% of the adult population via the mass media. Media events also provide a stimulus to political discussion and act as a substitute for interpersonal contact. The press mediates between competitors and between different kinds of audience members who do not interact directly. While the politcal effectiveness of a single campaign message may be limited, the cumulative impact of a total campaign can be great, especially when evaluated in terms of the extent to which it produces informed poltical decisions.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. April 15, 1971; 109(8):1118-1127.The 1970 Nelson Committee hearings were held to determine whether Pill users were properly told about the side effects and suspected complications. The author charges the Committee hearings of sensationalizing adverse results of the Pill, causing 18% of all U.S. users to stop this treatment and another 23% to seriously consider quitting. A survey following the Nelson hearings showed 97% of the 13,000 U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists questioned believed oral contraceptives to be medically acceptable. The Scowen report of England (1970) said the Pill is the best contraceptive available, and the low-estrogen pill (50 mcg) is the safest. Because of the relationship of the pill to thromboembolism brought out by Nelson hearings oral contraceptives now must carry a health warning, and the result of the Scowen Committee will most likely encourage doctors to prescribe low dosage estrogen pills.
In: McDaniel EB, ed. Second Asian Regional Workshop on Injectable Contraceptives. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, World Neighbors, 1982. 74-83.To prevent anti Depo-Provera publicity family planning associations have used a number of techniques. They have helped to create positive attitudes to family planning by identifying, contacting, and informing decision makers and community opinion leaders. They have also pinpointed the opposition and tried to find areas of agreement. The author suggests that in reassuring the public serious concerns about Depo-Provera should be investigated and corrected and that a possible complication should not be covered up. The anti Depo-Provera publicity is mostly concentrated in the international women's movement and it is suggested to try to establish communication with women's groups which are not completely opposed to Depo-Provera. Planning family planning with a broader social context has depended on adjusting family planning programs to local development needs. If family planning organizations are seen as helping with community health and better living conditions there might be more positive attitudes toward the use of Depo-Provera as a family planning product. Successful Depo-Provera users also need to be encouraged to speak openly, especially if they are in influential positions. In addition journalists can be invited to hear the positive arguments for Depo-Provera and about family planning organizations in general, and if the confidence of the journalism community is gained then the family planning organization will be asked for its viewpoint more often. Some suggestions for creating good relations with media are: 1) hold press lunches, 2) hold informal briefings, 3) mail background information, 4) have third party medical support with the media, and 5) always be prepared to answer questions.