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The Racialization of HIV/AIDS in U.S. News Media Coverage, 1981-2015

Project 19
Name: Kevin M. Moseby (; 215.571.3267)
Department: Sociology


The existing research on HIV/AIDS and the media have provided substantial critiques of institutional representations of the disease and their social, cultural and political impact. Yet, it fails to contend with and explain how the discourse on HIV/AIDS and race has changed over 30-plus-year epidemic in the United States. Zeroing in on the case of representation of black Americans; empirical and theoretical puzzles are left to investigate, including: At which points during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and to what effects, did the news media represent race and racial minorities in their coverage of the disease? Was print media coverage representative of actual surveillance data, reflecting the impact of HIV and AIDS in ‘Black America,’ or did the media limit themselves to “newsworthy” events—focusing on sports stars and other public figures (such as Magic Johnson)—thereby rending other impacted communities more invisible? This research project will tackle this puzzle by carrying out a content and textual analysis of representations of race paying particular attention to the representations of black Americans, across articles published on HIV/AIDS in The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution from 1981 to 2015.

Associated Independent Study

The student’s summer research project will consist of a series of tutorials covering 1) the methodology of content and textual analysis; 2) the ethics of social science research, and 3) sociological studies of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

Gained Experience

In this fellowship, the student will:

  • Learn how to conduct context and textual analysis;
  • Learn how to use the web-based mixed-method software application known as Dedoose;
  • Gain knowledge of the sociological research on HIV/AIDS in the U.S.;
  • If desired, co-author a peer reviewed article drafted from the completed research.


An article written for submittal to the journal, Dubois Review: Social Science Research on Race is the expected outcome of this research project.


The student’s primary responsibility, once trained, is to assist in coding and excerpting a database of 300 hundred newspaper articles (compiled with the assistance of two Summer STAR Fellows in the Summer 2016). The coding would require the student to create memos tracking their analytical thinking as they code the articles.


The student will have an assigned cubicle in the student working area of the Sociology Department located at 3600 Market St, 7th Floor. I will also be working at 3600 Market.


The student and I would talk informally during the week as questions arise with formally scheduled meetings twice weekly, Monday and Thursday between 10:30 am - 2:30 pm.

Interview Availability

April 10, April 11