Risk communication

15/11/2021

“Follow the science” became the mantra for responding to COVID-19 pandemic. However, for the public this also meant “follow the scientists”, and this led to uneasiness as some viewed scientists as not credible. We investigate how beliefs about the way scientists develop their findings affect pandemic-related views. Our analysis shows that beliefs about scientists' objectivity predict views regrading coronavirus-related risks, behavioral changes, and policy priorities. While political party identity also predicts views about COVID-19-related concerns, these vary by political leaders whose approaches embraced versus dismissed science-based strategies, highlighting the importance of perceptions of scientists in shaping pandemic-related attitudes and beliefs.

22/09/2021

The inaugural "Mr. Science" Science Communication Conference was held in Suzhou, China on July 9, 2021. It was the largest Chinese conference on science communication study since the start of the 21st century. More than 260 scholars discussed the spirit and culture of science, science communication during the COVID-19 crisis, the public understanding of science, and the ethical aspects of science communication. The conference aimed to develop a system for researching science communication within China. This review outlines the content of the conference and summarizes the key trends in science communication research in China.

08/09/2021

During global health crises, the mass media plays a key role in the construction of risk society. This paper analyses people's perception during the confinement in Spain regarding the role of mass media and its relationship with psychological responses and attitudes towards social control. Results from the survey (n=704) suggest that certain groups have been more affected by the messages distributed by the media, rendering them more vulnerable to suffering from negative psychological responses. The mass media interferes with the manner in which people psychologically deal with this crisis and the behaviour that results from their perception of risk.

30/08/2021

Since early 2020, communicating risks associated with COVID-19 and providing safety advice have been top priorities for health agencies and governments. With an increase in employees working remotely following the global spread of coronavirus coupled with increasingly sophisticated marketing strategies, global brands unsurprisingly engaged consumers and publics by acknowledging the crisis that engulfed the world. An increase in online marketing was observed in an already existing trend online where hybrids of consumer, brand and product-as-object interacted as equals, using contemporary informal codes of social media discourse and often using irony and humour. However, this paper critically assesses how such important communication responsibilities about coronavirus were taken up by private companies. Online and social media outputs were analysed through a lens of anthropomorphising and posthuman brands. A typology of brand strategies was developed based on engagement and how COVID-19 science, care and prevention were communicated. The paper concludes with a reflection on where this may lead health and environmental communication and what it means for science communicators.

21/06/2021

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global community, politicians as well as scientists increasingly turn to Twitter to share urgent health information using various message styles. The results of our 2x2 between-subject experiment show that if a Tweet is written in lower-case letters, participants perceive the information source as more trustworthy. Furthermore, the information is perceived as more credible, and people are more willing to read the health information and share it via social media. Furthermore, scientists are perceived as possessing more expertise than politicians. However, politicians are perceived as possessing more integrity and benevolence than scientists.

14/12/2020

The study examines the effect of COVID-19 on the fact-checking resources in Tunisia. Through developing monographies, we traced the trajectory of most fact-checking platforms in the Tunisian media and explored their teams and working strategies. We noticed a clear spike in the creation of fact-checking platforms during and after February 2020 and determined that the pandemic created a context in which these platforms emerged and flourished. However, many of these platforms, were a product of journalists' individual initiatives and lacked a clear editorial and strategic inclusion of fact-checking. Besides, we found a lack of prior training and an absence of fact-checkers specialized in science and health communication.

14/12/2020

Twelve researchers from 11 countries used autoethnographic techniques, keeping diaries over 10 weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, to observe and reflect on changes in the role and cultural authority of science during important stages of viral activity and government action in their respective countries. We followed arguments, discussions and ideas generated by mass and social media about science and scientific expertise, observed patterns and shifts in narratives, and made international comparisons. During regular meetings via video conference, the participating researchers discussed theoretical approaches and our joint methodology for reflecting on our observations. This project is informed by social representations theory, agenda-setting, and frames of meaning associated with the rise and fall of expertise and trust. This paper presents our observations and reflections on the role and authority of science in our countries from March 10 to May 31, 2020. This is the first stage of a longer-term project that aims to identify, analyse and compare changes in science-society relationships over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

14/12/2020

This study mainly explores the communication preferences of the public; their level of trust in the government; and the factors affecting their risk/crisis perception amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The key findings —derived from the data collected through an online survey and analysis using descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations, and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), provide insights on how Local Government Units (LGUs) can improve their risk/crisis communication in this current health crisis. Among the key takeaways include the use of social media platforms, like Facebook, and native/local language for effective risk/crisis communication which may, consequently, foster trust building between the LGUs and the public.

14/12/2020

This article is about manga-based messaging for risk communication on COVID-19, describing the practice of collaboration between a group of experts and a popular manga artist. Collaborative storytelling through popular manga provides an effective discussion platform for diverse experts in various specialties, ages, and genders to discuss a topic in a short time. These “stories” can integrate social meaning, legitimacy, and a local context into scientific messages. They also provide the public with a deeper understanding of the messages through the characters and their “real-life” situations, as long as the messages remain consistent with the worldview of the original work.

30/09/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in ways not seen since the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu. Disinformation campaigns targeting health crisis communication during this pandemic seek to cripple the medical response to the novel coronavirus and instrumentalize the pandemic for political purposes. Propaganda from Russia and other factions is increasingly infiltrating public and social media in Ukraine. Still, scientific literature has only a limited amount of evidence of hybrid attacks and disinformation campaigns focusing on COVID-19 in Ukraine. We conducted a review to retrospectively examine reports of disinformation surrounding health crisis communication in Ukraine during the COVID-19 response. Based on the themes that emerged in the literature, our recommendations are twofold: 1) increase transparency with verified health crisis messaging and, 2) address the leadership gap in reliable regional information about COVID-19 resources and support in Ukraine.

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