By Timothy Fung, PF&R Chair
Panel #1: Natural disasters and publics: Strategic crisis communication in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (co-sponsored with Public Relations Division)
This panel will explore communication before, during, and after natural disasters Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These natural disasters resulted in record urban catastrophes. The hurricanes also brought forth some new contexts through which to understand crisis communication For example, Hurricane Harvey devastated communities from all socioeconomic levels, and as such, communicators must understand how to send meaningful messages to different publics. Furthermore, as social media are ubiquitous platforms, to what extent were social media able to better provide non-discriminating information to affected publics? Also, how do different publics perceive the different social media platforms as credible? This panel questions existing theoretical and empirical boundaries by proposing new theories that examine social media, crisis, and publics.
Lucinda Austin (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Erica Ciszek (University of Houston)
Brian Houston (University of Missouri)
Kim Golombisky (University of South Florida)
Jen Vardeman-Winter (University of Houston)
Panel #2: Communicating environment, health, and science related risks across sociocultural contexts (co-sponsored with International Communication Division)
Global risk-related issues (e.g., climate change, influenza pandemic, nanotechnology) have a political, social, and ethical impact on society that often transcend cultural and national boundaries. Addressing the risks of global health, environment, and science issues requires international action. However, the sociocultural environment has a contextual influence on how people from different societies and countries make sense of the risky issues and on how they form their decisions to address the risks. Therefore, communication plays an important role to mobilize the international effort to deal with the risks. This panel showcases the challenges faced by communicators such as journalists, public officials, advocates from non-profit organizations, public relation specialists to communicate global risks across cultural and national boundaries. Through comparative research on the risks related to environment, health, and science issues, panelists will discuss the role of the media in the communication process. The panelists will also discuss the implications for researchers and scientists to reach out global audience.
Dominique Brossard (University of Wisconsin – Madison)
Jianbin Jin (Tsinghua University)
Dean Cummings (Georgia Southern University)
Additional panelists TBA-Stay Tuned!
Panel #3: Localized Fear: Communicating Science and Risk for Communities (Co-sponsored with Participatory Journalism Interest Group)
Coverage of complex science and risk-related issues, especially at the local and community level, presents a number of challenges and opportunities. Using theoretical and practical approaches as well as case study examples, this panel will broadly approach how such reporting works, to what means, and how such reporting might be improved. Specifically, this panel discusses how engagement with the public within these communities and through multiple channels (e.g., social media, traditional media) can improve such reporting and its impact.
Panelists: Pending. Stay Tuned!