Thursday, September 24, 2009

Disaster Communications

Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World by Kim S Haddow and George Haddow (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008) gives some useful general tips on media management for government and non-government disaster management organisations. This book is not about the technicalities of how to provide telecommunications during a disaster, it is about how to talk to the media, and through the media to the population. It also touches on the use of new media, email, SMS, the web and instant messaging. However, the bulk of the book is common-sense advice which applies to any media. The book suffers from a strong US bias, dealing the history of FEMA. There are a comical number of photos of public officials talking to journalists. There are some useful case studies. However, overall the book is disappointing, as the message seems to be than public communication is about a spokesman (yes, they are almost all male) standing up giving an interview to the TV and radio.

Some topics: incident command system, national response framework, social media, neighbourhood communications networks, mitigation messages, preparedness messages, first informers, changing media world, trusted community leaders, emergency management operations, next disaster strikes, disaster messages, emergency officials, emergency management organisations, cable news outlets, citizen journalists, media partnership, emergency managers, mitigation initiative, online news sites, traditional media outlets, citizen journalism, disaster information, participatory journalism, incident management system

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