Academic journal article Journalism Quarterly

Bad Tidings: Communication and Catastrophe

Academic journal article Journalism Quarterly

Bad Tidings: Communication and Catastrophe

Article excerpt

MASS COMMUNICATION AND SOCIETY WALTERS. LYNNE MASEL. LEE WILKINS. and TIM WALTERS. Bad Tidings: Communication and Catastrophe. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989. 213 pp. $29.95 cloth.

The field of disaster studies is roughly 35 years old, and the study of mass communication and catastrophe is even more recent, although there are antecedents in the area of science communications. "Disaster studies" is the world of E. L. Quarantelli and the Disaster Research Center, now at the University of Delaware. The study of mass communication and catastrophe, the subject of this book of articles, is for these editors an eclectic mixture, including AIDS and terrorism along with natural and technological hazards.

These scholars from the Houston Area Research Center, the University of ColoradoBoulder, and the University of Texas at Austin are very good editors and they make some excellent choices. They begin with an overview by Quarantelli, "The Social Science Study of Disasters and Mass Communication." Then Lee Wilkins' case study of Bhopal turns to interesting issues of mediated risk in "Bhopal: The Politics of Mediated Risk."

"The Sound and the Fury: Mass Media and Hurricanes" by John A. Ledingham and Lynne Masel Walters reports surveys of residents of Galveston, Texas, while "Communicating Threat Information for Volcano Hazards" by Ronald W. Perry and Michael K. Lindell examines Mt. St. Helens and seems particularly useful for emergency managers. The first half of the book appears to end with Sharon M. Friedman presenting the clearly central case of Three Mile Island in "TMI: The Media Story That Will Not Die."

Then the editors change directions with Gene Burd's "Preventive Journalism and AIDS Editorials: Dilemmas for Private and Public Health," and again with Joseph Scanlon's "The Hostage Taker, the Terrorist, the Media: Partners in Public Crime," before coming back to Philip Patterson's "Reporting Chernobyl: Cutting The Government Fog to Cover the Nuclear Cloud," Russell E. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.