Finding Hope in Media Hype: The Challenges of Crisis Communications During Disease Outbreak

Aylesworth-Spink, S. 2017. Finding Hope in Media Hype: The Challenges of Crisis Communications During Disease Outbreak. Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations. 3 (2).

TitleFinding Hope in Media Hype: The Challenges of Crisis Communications During Disease Outbreak
AuthorsAylesworth-Spink, S.
Abstract

Raging influenza, an unthinkable return of measles and the plague, and the scourge of Ebola–such deadly and miserable diseases and viruses shape real and imagined threats all around us. Nowhere does our imagination run wilder, nor does the world appear more on edge, than through news stories and broadcasts. Given this state of affairs, the public relations agenda with respect to health crisis communications planning and execution is seriously challenged. This article uses media-hype theory to examine these unique challenges by comparing what happened and why during an influenza pandemic outbreak in 2009. It draws from a larger study of news coverage and interviews with public relations practitioners, journalists and medical leaders involved with public communications during a pandemic in Canada. Certainly, media-hype was present during the outbreak with the amount and type of news coverage unevenly representing the severity of the outbreak. Findings from this analysis extend the media-hype phenomenon by looking at the triggers for such intense media attention, highlighting the role of not only the news media but public relations practitioners in our hyper health-threatened world.

Keywordshealth public relations, media hype, pandemic communications, outbreak communications
JournalResearch Journal of the Institute for Public Relations
Journal citation3 (2)
Year2017
PublisherInstitute for Public Relations
Web address (URL)http://www.instituteforpr.org/finding-hope-media-hype-challenges-crisis-communications-disease-outbreaks/
Publication dates
Published23 Feb 2017

Related outputs

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Aylesworth-Spink, S. 2019. Health Public Relations. in: Brunner, B.R. (ed.) Public Relations Theory: Application and Understanding Wiley. pp. 203-218

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