Germs: friend or foe? How media influences our perceptions of disease

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


An accurate understanding of disease is vital to our society. In order for our public health system to protect us from new threats, we need to be adequately informed. Much of the information the public receives about infectious diseases comes from visual sources. With a shift away from broadcast media to internet-based sources, story becomes emphasized over accuracy. This sensationalizes diseases, leading to the spread of misinformation and the amplification of stigmas. Accurate portrayals of diseases are crucial to society's ability to fight them, and as content creators, filmmakers have a responsibility to limit the spread of misinformation. In this paper, I explore the effect sensationalism and stigma have on the perpetuation of disease outbreaks and the importance of accuracy and transparency in our media, including the news, Hollywood film, and documentary.


Illuminating Disease is a film that is part of the student's thesis project.



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