BOSTON – So another World AIDS Day has come and gone.
A few stories on HIV/AIDS made the news as the world marked the day on December 1. But now too many of us in the media will retreat back into the collective indifference that for too long has enveloped us on the issue of HIV infection.
Two reporters who I know will never let GlobalPost retreat to apathy are GlobalPost’s Emily Judem and Tracy Jarrett. They were both global health reporting fellows last summer through our partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation and covered the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC for us as part of our Special Report titled “AIDS: A Turning Point.”
Judem is working with GlobalPost full time now as a multimedia producer for Special Reports and wrote a powerful story for World AIDS Day, evaluating the ‘turning point’ on AIDS.
She also took the time to do a skype interview (above) with her colleague Jarrett, who is still working on writing a long-form version of her own journey. As part of our video series, ‘the story behind the story,’ Jarrett reflected on the blog series she wrote last summer, titled “A Daughter’s Journey,” and about her personal odyssey. When she was five years old, she lost her mom to AIDS. Last summer, she traveled to South Africa to report on HIV/AIDS for GlobalPost.
This year, some of the World AIDS Day news focused on the idea that we might be at the beginning of the end of the global AIDS crisis.
And that kind of "good news" is potentially even more dangerous than the apathy.
Here’s why. If it looks like the world is on the path to eradicating the disease, it is possible the media will think, "okay, problem solved," and go on to the next issue. After all, news happens every minute, and newsrooms are increasingly pressed for resources. It’s rare these days to have the time to look deeply into an issue and keep following the story.
At GlobalPost we hope the good news proves to be genuine, and meanwhile we are going to do our best to remind each other to stay with the dramatic and still-unfolding story of AIDS around the world.
Someone has to stay on it. Someone has to ask the hard questions and make people accountable for their work, so the world stays on track to reach the ‘AIDS-free generation’ that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton keeps talking about. GlobalPost is dedicated to staying with the story. In addition to our special report, AIDS: A Turning Point, this week our team also published an in-depth series, “The State of AIDS.” We are determined to keep moving the story forward.