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Framing public crisis responses - a study on the effects of news frames in the social-mediated crisis communication of the local government

Velthorst, Joël (2015) Framing public crisis responses - a study on the effects of news frames in the social-mediated crisis communication of the local government.

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Abstract:This study took a first step in examining the effects of news frames in crisis communication via social media. The effects of social media in crisis communication on receivers are still understudied. Previous research mainly stressed the presence of certain news frames on social media and was merely directed to the appearance and presence of these news frames in media coverage. In a 2x5-design, the effects of five news frames during two types of crises on public crisis responses are examined. Looking at how the public responds is relevant, because they mark whether the local government succeeded in her crisis communication. Risk perception, secondary crisis communication, trust, benevolence, competence, integrity, willingness to depend, subjective probability of depending (intention to follow advice), reputation, personal involvement and the attribution of crisis responsibility are the public crisis response variables in this study. The effects were measured with the use of an online questionnaire in which the participants were exposed to a manipulated Facebook message, in which the frame and cluster were manipulated. In total, 304 participants participated in this study. An analysis on the mean scores within and between the conditions suggests that the conflict frame has the most positive effect on the public crisis responses and that the effect of this frame is different in both clusters. The results imply that the local government should emphasize the political conflict during a victim crisis to be perceived as more competent, and during a preventable crisis to be perceived as more benevolent and trustworthy. In both clusters the conflict frame leads to a higher perception of risk and secondary crisis communication. In addition to the effects of news frames and crisis cluster, this study looks at the effects of several public crisis responses on risk perception and at the intention to engage into secondary crisis communication. The findings indicate that a higher personal involvement leads to a higher risk perception and to more secondary crisis communication. Furthermore, a higher risk perception also directly leads to more secondary crisis communication.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/67758
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