Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Elena P. Bastidas

Second Advisor

Hugh Gladwin

Third Advisor

Alexia Georgakopoulos

Abstract

Major hurricane landfalls are the most dangerous natural hazard threats experienced in the U.S. Television news is a primary sources of hurricane hazard information and has the ability to influence what viewers understand about and how they respond to these events. While it is understood that media plays a central role in communicating weather, it is unknown whether or not news media content communicates the recommended hurricane hazard adjustments that are needed for preparedness and protection. Thus this study supports prior research calling for a closer examination of the role and effects of visual information in media documents. Using the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the present research employs qualitative media analysis to explore the framing of hurricane preparedness through television newscasts covering Hurricane Katrina from August 23-29, 2005. Key findings from this study suggest that there are five common frames through which hurricane information is presented to viewers of the national news broadcasts surveyed in this study. Preparedness information was found to be mainly represented through visual content but sparsely mentioned in reporting. The study also found that more often visuals were used to aid story development instead of provide educational or instructional messages that model the adoption of hazard adjustments and have the potential to motivate protective actions and behaviors by helping to increase self-efficacy. The present study concludes by discussing underlying aspects of conflict present within the media frames and offering recommendations for better integration of media content into risk communication campaigns for severe weather.

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