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The Journalist of Castro StreetThe Life of Randy Shilts$
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Andrew E. Stoner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042485

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042485.001.0001

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Becoming the AIDS Scribe

Becoming the AIDS Scribe

(p.89) Chapter 6 Becoming the AIDS Scribe
The Journalist of Castro Street

Andrew E. Stoner

University of Illinois Press

Shilts joins The San Francisco Chronicle as its first openly gay reporter on the newsroom staff. Hired to cover the “gay beat” in San Francisco, Shilts also is given general assignment stories. Shilts coordinates Chronicle coverage of the deadly October 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Newsroom colleagues overcome suspicions of the new “gay reporter” as Shilts lobbies publishers for non-discrimination policies and domestic partner benefits. Shilts picks up on rumors of a “gay cancer” affecting gay men in the Castro district. Reporting includes very first stories attempting to link exotic immune system related diseases with homosexual men in San Francisco and elsewhere. Shilts is becomes convinced the AIDS story is a major story and devotes himself nearly full-time to the subject.

Keywords:   first gay reporter, gay beat, gay news, journalist objectivity, AIDS reporting, general assignment reporting, GRID, Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, Kaposi’s sarcoma, KS, Dr. Marcus Conant, gay cancer, Dr. Selma Dritz, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Shanti Project, San Francisco General Hospital, AIDS ward, journalists and sources, gay sexual practices, gay sexual conduct, HIV transmission, contaminated blood supplies, Rock Hudson, Loma Prieta earthquake, Cyprus Viaduct, Oakland California, Legionnaires’ disease, toxic-shock syndrome, Newspaper Guild, William Randolph Hearts III, Richard Thieriot, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, domestic partner benefits, non-discrimination policies, Queen’s Tank, Proposition S, gay marriage, domestic partners, Shilts column, National Institutes of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci, AZT, azido thymidine, protease inhibitors, Burroughs-Wellcome, drug pricing, drug approval process, health care access, AIDSpeak, AIDS victim, person with AIDS, ACT-UP, People with Immune System Diseases, PISSED, Mother Jones magazine, Editor & Publisher magazine, AIDS reporter, minority reporters, AIDS in Africa, sexual transmission of HIV

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