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

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Public Relations Review, 2020, 46, (2), pp. 101903-101903
Issue Date:
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© 2020 Elsevier Inc. 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.
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