This paper reviews work in several disciplines to distinguish between image, reputation and stigma. It also shows that there has been little research on the process by which area reputations are established and sustained through transmission processes. This paper reports on research into the portrayal of two social housing estates in the printed media over an extended period of time (14 years). It was found that negative and mixed coverage of the estates dominated, with the amount of positive coverage being very small. By examining the way in which dominant themes were used by newspapers in respect of each estate, questions are raised about the mode of operation of the press and the communities' collective right to challenge this. By identifying the way regeneration stories are covered and the nature of the content of positive stories, lessons are drawn for programmes of area transformation. The need for social regeneration activities is identified as an important ingredient for changing deprived-area reputations.
- Area reputation