Proceedings from the 9th annual International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Tuesday, January 1st
12:00 AM

2019 ICRCC Proceedings Table of Contents

Conference Organizers, University of Central Florida

Orlando, Fl

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

These proceedings are a representative sample of the presentations given by professional practitioners and academic scholars at the 2019 International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference (ICRCC) held March 11-13, 2019. The ICRCC is an annual event that takes place the second week in March in beautiful sunny Orlando, Florida. The conference hosts are faculty and staff from the Nicholson School of Communication. The goal of the ICRCC is to bring together prominent professional practitioners and academic scholars that work directly with crisis and risk communication on a daily basis. We define crisis and risk broadly to include, for example, natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis), political crises, food safety issues, biosecurity, health pandemics, and so on.

The 2018 Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca: Application of Grunig’s Theory of Excellence Two-Way Communication Efforts to Avoid a Crisis

Saud A. Alsulaiman, Bowling Green State University
Terry L. Rentner, Bowling Green State University

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Every year, millions of Muslims converge in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. So how does a government prepare for a potential crisis when hosting an event of this magnitude? A content analysis guided this study on crisis communication strategies taken by the Saudi government before, during, and after Hajj 2018 and how Saudi Arabia utilized the media to deliver proactive messages to ensure a successful Hajj season. The study found that the government created and built a positive image in the media through the use of effective management, preemptive messages, and multiple communication channels.

Deaf mis-interpretation during Hurricane Irma: A case study and evaluation

Sherilyn D. Burris, Cascia Consulting LLC

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

In 2017, Manatee County Government (Florida, USA) used an untrained sign language interpreter during a media briefing on Hurricane Irma evacuation orders. The individual signed incorrectly, resulting in confusion for the community and embarrassment for the organization. This case study presents the background of accessible information in crisis management -- why and how disaster preparedness information is interpreted for the deaf community; provides the event's consequences, as well as local and global implications; and discusses ways to incorporate deaf and hard-of-hearing stakeholders and groups into existing structures and programs.

What influences our decision to vaccinate? The social amplification of risk framework and vaccination

Laura B. Carper, Louisiana State University

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

The current study applies the social amplification risk framework to the anti-vaccination movement, specifically to the social factors that influence the likelihood to vaccinate. A total of 264 participants were recruited using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk engine and students from a large southern university. Participants responded to questions about their personal, friend, and family experiences with vaccines, their discussion about vaccines, and trust in vaccine literature (CDC, Facebook, family, etc.). Lastly, participants responded to a modified Duke’s social support scale. Results indicated that the likelihood to vaccinate is impacted by several social factors and that those factors can be amplified based on the experiences of others. The results support using the social amplification of risk on individual perceptions of risk.

Tweeting to Prepare: An Examination of Government and Organizational Messages during National Preparedness Month

Jenna L. Currie-Mueller, State University of New York at Oswego

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Each year, disasters have devastating consequences in the United States. Consequences are long term and extend beyond the disaster’s immediate impact area. Establishing a culture of preparedness is necessary for the U.S. A prepared populace responds more effectively to disasters and is less stressful on community infrastructure and resources during the response phase. One of the ways government organizations and non-government organizations can encourage preparedness actions is via social media. This study examined preparedness messages existing independently of an emerging event disseminated on Twitter by government and non-government organizations. A total of 6,374 tweets were analyzed from data collected during National Preparedness Month. Tweets were analyzed for preparedness content and whether efficacy was included in preparedness messages.

Health Risk Tolerance as A Key Determinant of (Un)willingness to Behavior Change: Conceptualization and Scale Development

Hyoyeun Jun, University of Georgia
Yan Jin, University of Georgia

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

After the study of testing determinants of risk tolerance affecting information sharing, this study was conducted as a second step to actually develop the scale for risk tolerance. Firstly, this study followed qualitative steps, such as in-depth interview and focus group, to capture how public describes the situation when they are tolerating the risk, when they knew what the recommended behavior is to relieve the risk. Secondly, this study collected 1000 U.S. public sample for the survey questionnaire that are the items generated from the qualitative steps.

The Role of Risk Tolerance in Publics’ Health Risk Perception and Responses

Hyoyeun Jun, University of Georgia
Yen-I Lee, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

To better understand how uncertainty influences publics’ risk perception and responses, this study introduced risk tolerance as a new concept to public relations literature and then investigated how publics react to health risks with different temporal distances: climate change and foodborne illness. Through an online survey, this study found out that uncertainty, induced by risk temporal distance, leads to varied risk tolerance, which subsequently influences where and how people seek and share risk information.

Do not bank on us! Taking stock of transparency and accountability during crises in Uganda: the case of Crane Bank collapse

Angella Napakol, Uganda Christian University
Ann Mugunga, Hong Kong Baptist University

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

This study examined transparency and accountability as bridges to the interpretative and sense making capabilities of the public following the collapse of Crane Bank, Uganda. Content and critical discourse analysis methods were used to: investigate the nature of communication, the information shared; review honesty and responsibility in communication, and also analyze how accountability and transparency are constructed during crisis situations in the South. Assessment of 120 newspaper articles showed that both Crane Bank and Bank of Uganda mainly left it to the media to create and give meaning to stakeholders. Initial communication from both institutions was delayed and subsequent communication was made in a casual, vague and dismissive manner. Transparency and accountability either as information disclosure, responsibility or mutual understanding to translate into sense making for the audience were grossly undermined. Most of the shared information was not aligned to the interpretive capabilities of audiences; and there was no effort to create a good image or influence the audience. The research underscores the importance of transparency and accountability as essential for creating trust in leadership and management, in order to better manage crisis and risk situations.

Tumbling into a Crisis: Use of Corporate Apologia after USA Gymnastics Falls off the Balance Beam

Terry L. Rentner, Bowling Green State University
Cory Young, Ithaca College

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

In an open letter to U.S. gymnasts on Nov. 5, 2018, United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Sarah Hirshland told its more than 150,000 members “You deserve better” as it launched the Nuclear Clause that would revoke USA Gymnastics (USAG) as a governing body for the sport at the Olympic level [1]. This announcement comes in the wake of USAG’s ongoing crisis that includes a failure to protect athletes from team doctor Larry Nassar, imprisoned for sexually abusing more than 350 female gymnasts; investigations tied to Michigan State University; and the turnover of several USAG CEO’s in just two years. The research question addressed in this study asks how gymnastics can recover from a crisis that was decades in the making and two years in the public spotlight. Benoit’s (1997) Image Repair theory as well as Hearit and Courtright’s (2004) social constructionist approach and apologia discourse inform our critical analysis on how and why USAG has tumbled.

Priming the pump: Does providing information before a crisis communications simulation provide a better learning experience?

Matt Tidwell, University of Kansas

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Many crisis communications educators use simulations as a means for students to test their learning in a controlled environment meant to simulate a real-life crisis using an (often hypothetical) organization. This project explores whether providing background and historical information about the organization days or weeks in advance of the simulation can enhance learning. Survey results of students exposed to this method as well as a traditional scenario approach (where all information is provided at once) showed that students preferred the advanced exposure method. The learning experience was judged to be superior overall. In addition, the recognition of understanding risks as well as improvements in teamwork were also noted.

Understanding Flu Vaccination Acceptance Among U.S. Adults: The Health Belief Model and Media Sources

Tong Xie, University of Georgia
Connor Grady, University of Georgia
Michael Cacciatore, University of Georgia
Glen Nowak, University of Georgia

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Based on previous studies about the Health Belief Model (HBM) and the reinforcing relationship between media selectivity or preference and individual’s behavior, this study used a national representative adult sample to assess flu vaccination as the result of an appraisal of relevant health beliefs, trust towards the authoritative entities (e.g. CDC & FDA) and vaccine-related media information, in addition to one’s existing behavior pattern. Results showed that not-vaccinated individuals differ significantly in their vaccine-related health believes and the trust towards the authoritative information sources. This group acquired less recommendation from health care providers and more negative sentiments about flu vaccine overall. After controlling for the existing behavior, media selectivity and perceived vaccine benefit are predicting individual’s vaccination hesitancy and intention in the coming flu season.

Social listening during crises: A practitioner guide for crisis communication on social media

Cory Young, Ithaca College
Hunter Simmons, Ithaca College
Margaret Stewart, University of North Florida

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Stewart & Wilson (2016) created the STREMII model (pronounced STREAM-ee) as a means to assist institutions and organizations with social media crisis communication using a six-stage cyclical process, including: (1) social listening, (2) targeting audience(s), (3) engaging & responding, (4) monitoring and evaluating, (5) interacting, and (6) implementing changes [1] . Stewart & Young (2017) revisited the model, refining the stages to highlight the need for ongoing social listening and responsive engagement across all levels of crisis [2]. At present, the model is theoretical and applied only within a pedagogical context. In order for the STREMII model to be useful for practical implementation and relevant outside the theoretical and pedagogical contexts, we must develop a practical set of actionable steps for practitioners (crisis communicators and social media strategists). To accomplish this, we surveyed practitioners about the process they engage in listening, interacting and responding to audiences on social media during a crisis, and how they monitor and evaluate their responses and outcomes. The desired outcome of this research is to create a practical set of actionable steps for crisis practitioners and social media strategists, with specific guidelines, considerations and recommendations for adopting the STREMII model and integrating it into existing crisis management plans and social media strategies.

The Influence of Radical Environmentalists on Reputation and Communication Practices of Advocacy/Collaborative Nonprofits

Maria Zhigalina, Rutgers University - New Brunswick/Piscataway

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

The article focuses on features, activities and communication practices of environmental nonprofits / groups to demonstrate the importance of studying how negative reputation of the environmental sub-sector created by radical environmentalists can influence advocacy / collaborative environmental nonprofits. First, it reviews some relevant literature related to environmental organizations / groups and their external communication. Additionally, it provides some examples of radical environmentalism that have been recently discussed in the news. Finally, it describes directions for future research. It is important to understand the influence of the actions of radical environmentalists on advocacy / collaborative nonprofit organizations because it might impact the success of such nonprofits.

Secondary Crisis Communication. A question of Actual or perceived credibility?

Bengt Johansson, University of Gothenburg

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

An important aspect of crisis communication is secondary crisis communication, which focuses on how people communicate during a crisis. This study seeks to explore the mechanism of credibility in secondary crisis communication. Respondents in a large-scale experiment (N=2382) were exposed to a fictional news story about a terrorist attack and asked to what degree they would share the news story on social media. The design made it possible to test if the sharing of news stories was determined by its actual credibility (through the use of semiotic disclaimers in the news story), or by perceived credibility (the perceived credibility of the news story). Other factors, such as the severity of the threat in the story, trust in news media, to what extent emotions were evoked by the news story, gender, and age, were used as controls. Results indicated that the perceived credibility was more important than the actual message credibility.

Perceptions of Risk of Health Disparities amid Previously Identified Political Corruption and Ageism in Slovakia

Marta N. Lukacovic, Furman University
Deborah D. Sellnow-Richmond, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Monika Durechova, Independent Contractor

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

This study examines the role of traditional versus new media’s impact on citizens’ perceptions of risk within elder care. We analyzed survey data from 112 Slovak citizens regarding their social network activity and perceptions of corruption, ageism, and health disparities in the Slovak elder care system. Previous research (Lukacovic, Sellnow-Richmond, & Durechova, under contract) identified three prominent sociopolitical issues present in the Slovak medical system among Slovak UGC discourse regarding Slovak healthcare inequity: corruption, threats to dignity, and discrimination. Here, we examined the extent to which social media users perceive the prevalence and subsequent risk of experiencing health disparities within the elder care system differently than traditional media users, as well as the extent to which perceived risks of health disparities and mistreatment are stronger among women participants than men.

Run, Hide, Fight: Leveraging Academics to Enhance Emergency Preparedness Training for Active Shooter Events

Andrew S. Pyle, Clemson University
S. Paul Gennett, Clemson University
Darren L. Linvill, Clemson University

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

College and university campuses are regularly faced with various types of crises. One category of crisis that is becoming a more regular event of concern is the active shooter event. Trainings exist that can help individuals respond more confidently in the event of an active shooter incident on campus. However, the authors were concerned that students with certain personality traits may be less likely to abide by active shooter training guidelines. We surveyed undergraduate students and compared the Big Five personality traits with perceptions of self and response efficacy related to the “Run, Hide, Fight” active shooter training video. Our findings confirm prior research findings and suggest a small, significant relationship between certain personality types and perceptions of efficacy.