Emergency management communication: The paradox of the positive in public communication for preparedness

Article


Johnston, Kim A., Taylor, Maureen and Ryan, Barbara. 2020. "Emergency management communication: The paradox of the positive in public communication for preparedness." Public Relations Review. 46 (2), pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2020.101903
Article Title

Emergency management communication: The paradox of the positive in public communication for preparedness

ERA Journal ID31121
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsJohnston, Kim A. (Author), Taylor, Maureen (Author) and Ryan, Barbara (Author)
Journal TitlePublic Relations Review
Journal Citation46 (2), pp. 1-10
Article Number101903
Number of Pages10
Year2020
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0363-8111
1873-4537
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2020.101903
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S036381112030028X
Abstract

Government emergency management agencies use public communication to inform and educate around risks such as floods, fires, storms, and earthquakes with the aim to help communities understand how to prepare for these emergency events. This study of government communication relating to emergency management preparedness examines an Australian context to understand the types of messages preparing community members for natural hazards. Findings suggest that agencies employ a two-track approach combining warranting and engagement messages. Yet a deeper look at the messages suggests a “paradox of the positive” that overemphasizes the capacity of local agencies to respond to crises and underemphasizes citizen shared responsibility. Implications for the paradox of the positive in other national contexts and public relations theory building are also discussed.

KeywordsPublic communication; Community engagement; Emergency; Natural hazard; Preparation; Paradox of the positive
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470101. Communication studies
Public Notes

The project from which this paper comes was funded by the Australian Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research along with industry partners NSW State Emergency Service, Inspector General of Emergency Management Qld, Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Cairns Regional Council, Ipswich City Council, Tablelands Regional Council.

Byline AffiliationsQueensland University of Technology
University of Technology Sydney
School of Humanities and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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