Social construction of reality: Reporting first Ebola cases in America

   Social construction of reality.


Social construction of reality can be defined as the theory of knowledge that argues that reality is not a reflection from within but it comes about as we interact and discuss with other people. There is no one definition for social constructivism but we have discussed some characteristics that stand out in this school of knowledge. In this article however, we are going to talk about social construction of reality by the media. We choose how the American media reported first cases of Ebola in American soil in 2014 and analyze how media did or did not construct the social reality of the audience and some of the questions that we will ask are: what kind of coverage was this event given? In what ways did the media construct reality of this event? What legal or ethical issues were in this event? How did these affect the ways in which media construct reality? A purpose of this assignment, the social event chosen is the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and how the American media reported it when the first case of Ebola was reported in the US soil.

In his article in “USATODAY” Roger yu admits that the Ebola case in USA fired up the media. The media houses were hysterical with big headlines, with police covering their faces with mask. The media was accused of spreading fear among the American population. So did the media actually manage to spread fear among Americans? How did they do that? The answer here is simple, nearly all Americans had not experienced Ebola at their doorstep and they all depended on what the media said or reported. Whatever the media reported was the reality to many Americans. On the DAILYNEWS website they had a headline” New Yorkers on edge” with photos of subway riders wearing masks. Yet on closer look at the city, ninety-nine percent of new Yorkers were not having a mask on them. Anyone out of Ney York could easily believe that because media is a trusted source of information.

Matteo and Karin(2011) acknowledges the fact that media is has provided access to more information, but has also in some case been the source of false information that in the long run affect our perception of the things going on around us.

“An increase in the available information may or may not foster freedom depending on the      purpose and interest of those using the .but for information to become knowledge and a form of power, it must be organized in such a way as to have meaning in relation to the purpose of those involved; it has to be organized into concepts” (Matteo and Karin, 2011)

        The above event, we see we can talk about social construction because it involved people talking among themselves and then whatever that was spoken ended up affecting how the American citizens viewed the nation .communication is the way humans talk about reality (Matteo and Karin, 2011).From above social event of media reports on Ebola outbreak in united states, we see many conversations going on over the radio, television and over the social media networks.

Roy and Michael(2008) asserts that journalists must be fair and balanced, must research their stories well before reporting them and acknowledge and apologize any time they make any mistakes. It is ethical and a requirement by law that journalists must be responsible for their stories. However, the failure of the American state through its First amendment to ensure that journalists are vetted and licensed like other professionals lead to a lot of factual errors in the media reporting of the media outbreak in the USA, biasnessness in the reporting of the outbreak, the newspapers over-covering the event just because it was exciting and lead to more sales. Critics of media admit that having good journalism is not easy and that journalists in most cases are unethical in most of their reporting or coverage of an event. Some of the reasons that contribute to this unethical nature of the journalists include; (a) the rush to beat competition(b) the believe that whatever means you use to get the information will be justified by the end result(c) fear of losing their job if not delivering faster(d) they believe that other people also do the same, in their field and other fields(e)poor remunerations(f) the need to be loyal to their editors and the newsroom they work for(g) the culture has never talked against that practice(h)and bad instances from people involved in their coverage(Roy and Michael,2008).

In conclusion, we can say that the media the media constructed a reality from the way it covered the event of Ebola outbreak in the United States of America. The event proved and exposed ways in which the media affects, regulates and maintain relation between people. It is my strongest recommendation that countries all over the world should regulate and license all media professionals, from journalists to editors and ensure that those who venture into the field as journalists are well trained and qualified to be journalists. All through this that the media will be more trusted by the public and will also be able to pass not only information to their audience, but also knowledge.


  1. Matteo S, Karin K (2011) Critical media analysis: an introduction for media professionals.Frankfurt, Peter Lang publishers
  2. Roy. M, Michael. M. (Eds.). (2008) Media law and ethics. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis publishers.
  3. Roger, Y.(2014, October 25) Ebola in new York fires up the media USA TODAY


       4. Joseph, S, Kerry, B & Bill, H (2014, October 24) New Yorkers on edge. New York daily news