ERIC Number: ED373367
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Representation of AIDS in Televised Public Service Announcements: The Discursive Practices of Government in the Constitution of Knowledge about AIDS.
Myrick, Roger; And Others
Using a textualist approach (looking at meaning above and beyond overt message elements), a study examined televised public service announcements (PSAs) about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) produced by the Ad Council and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Both ads identify young people who should be concerned about the disease as only heterosexual. By ignoring the homosexual, the message becomes not one which educates teenagers in general, but rather one which constitutes the relevant, natural subject as the subject who engages in heterosexual activity. In the Ad Council PSA, the Council communicates an educative message about the dangers of drugs and the HIV infection. AIDS then comes to be defined not primarily as a medical problem, but rather as a social problem, like drugs--AIDS is defined as a punishment that befalls those members of the society who deviate from societal norms. In the government ads, specific information about AIDS is withheld and can only be obtained by calling a toll free phone number. Beyond the educative function of the phone, other avenues here seem to be films designed and shaped for specific psychographic and demographic audiences, the most recent direction the national health and gay organizations are taking. Communication researchers can follow two directions: study the power relationships and discursive practices in more detailed educational messages targeted at specific audiences; and examine ways of designing messages, primarily for a mass audience, which empower the voice of the gay community. (Contains 30 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Advertising Effectiveness; Health Communication; Message Design; Public Service Advertising
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (78th, Chicago, IL, October 28-November 1, 1992).