Title

Risk As an Inherent Element In the Study of Crisis Communication

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-13-2008

Department

Communication Studies

School

Communication

Abstract

Despite the fact that most Mississippians living on the gulf coast knew about the approach of Hurricane Katrina and had adequate time to evacuate, only one-third of that population left. Almost two-thirds of those who stayed indicated that they did so because they did not think the storm would be that bad (Harvard, 2006). Emergency risk messages that appeared in the most popular newspaper in the region attempted to communicate the grave danger of this massive storm. Unfortunately, these messages often relied on comparing the imminent threat to 1969's Hurricane Camille. If community members viewed Camille as causing few deaths or serious injuries, they would have little reason to accept evacuation as better than staying. This study analyzes emergency risk messages presented in the Biloxi Sun Herald and explains how people could construe an interpretation of reality that would lead them to remain in the path of one of the deadliest storms in American history.

Publication Title

Southern Communication Journal

Volume

73

Issue

3

First Page

197

Last Page

210

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