A Seattle news anchor talks about reporting on AIDS in the 80s

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An AMP Interview Stories, Historic, Writing / Reporting on HIV, Women, White
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Jean Enersen

Longtime KING-TV news anchor, Jean Enerson, reflects on her experiences with the AIDS epidemic in the early days, and is proud of the joint efforts made by medicine, science, and broadcasting in the Seattle area to better inform viewers with facts. When Jean was hired at KING-TV she faced many obstacles as one of only a few women working in the field. And with the support of the top management at the company, Jean became the lead reporter on AIDS, which was viewed as a humanitarian issue. In 1985, Jean produced the documentary “Living With AIDS” and highlighted the life of Carl Cobb, who was a father of five, minister, and person with AIDS. She saw first hand the experiences of those who lost their jobs, homes, and families, after being diagnosed with AIDS.

During much of the 80s, so much was unknown about what AIDS was and how it was transmitted, but Jean learned the facts and presented them to her viewers. Her beliefs to let “science lead the way” and that “as knowledge increases, fear decreases” prove continually relevant, as with the COVID-19 pandemic. Jean has always known that “it’s not those people, but it’s all of us” who have to work together to fight any epidemic, since “public health” represents the global community. It isn’t “I, but we” that matters when fighting a health crisis.

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