Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World

Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World

2nd Edition - December 14, 2013

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  • Authors: George Haddow, Kim Haddow
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124079250
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124078680

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Communications are key to the success of disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Accurate information disseminated to the general public, to elected officials and community leaders, as well as to the media, reduces risk, saves lives and property, and speeds recovery. Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World, Second Edition, provides valuable information for navigating these priorities in the age of evolving media. The emergence of new media like the Internet, email, blogs, text messaging, cell phone photos, and the increasing influence of first informers are redefining the roles of government and media. The tools and rules of communications are evolving, and disaster communications must also evolve to accommodate these changes and exploit the opportunities they provide. Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World, Second Edition, illuminates the path to effective disaster communication, including the need for transparency, increased accessibility, trustworthiness and reliability, and partnerships with the media.

Key Features

  • Includes case studies from recent disasters including Hurricane Sandy, the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and the Boston Marathon bombings
  • Demonstrates how to use blogs, text messages, and cell phone cameras, as well as government channels and traditional media, to communicate during a crisis
  • Examines current social media programs conducted by FEMA, the American Red Cross, state and local emergency managers, and the private sector
  • Updated information in each chapter, especially on how social media has emerged as a force in disaster communications


Emergency management professionals; security managers; homeland security directors; corporate communications and PR professionals

Table of Contents

  • Dedication


    Digital Assets

    For the Instructor

    For the Student

    The Butterworth-Heinemann Homeland Security Series

    Other Titles in the Series

    Other Related Titles of Interest



    Chapter One. Communications: The Critical Function





    Chapter Two. The Changing Media World

    Social Media, News, and Disasters

    What IS Social Media?

    Social Media and Disasters


    Chapter Three. The “New” News Room

    The Evolution of the Newsroom

    Changing Roles and Responsibilities

    Social Media Editors

    Journalists as Curators

    Social Media in the Newsroom

    Social Media as One Part of a Comprehensive Disaster Communications Program


    Chapter Four. Disaster Coverage Past and Present

    How did This Evolution Occur?

    The Emergence of Social Media as a Disaster Communications Tool

    The Use of Digital Media During Disasters Will Continue to Skyrocket


    Chapter Five. Principles of a Successful Communications Strategy

    Principle: Focus on the Needs of your Customers

    Principle: Make a Commitment to Effective Communications

    Principle: Make Communications an Integral Part of All Planning and Operations

    Principle: Be Transparent in Your Communications

    Principle: Ensure that Your Information is Accurate

    Principle: Release Information in a Timely Manner

    Principle: Make Yourself, Your Staff, and Technical Experts (Where Appropriate) Available and Accessible

    Principle: Create an Emotional Connection with Your Audience

    Principle: Build a Partnership with the Media



    Chapter Six. Application of Communications Principles to All Four Phases of Emergency Management


    Preparedness Programs and Actions





    Chapter Seven. Disaster Communications Audiences

    The Public

    Elected Officials and Community Leaders

    Partners and Stakeholders

    The Media



    Chapter Eight. How to Adapt to the Changing Media Environment

    Social Media as a Critical and Indispensable Element in Disaster and Crisis Communications

    Best Social Media Practices for Emergency Managers

    Media Relations 101

    Keys to All Successful Media Outreach


    Chapter Nine. Case Studies

    The Boston Marathon Bombings

    Hurricane Sandy

    The Great East Japan Earthquake

    Haiti Earthquake


    Chapter Ten. Climate Change

    Climate Change Communications

    What Adaptation Communicators and Disaster Communicators Have in Common

    How Adaptation and Disaster Communictors Can Work Together



    Chapter Eleven. Communicating During a Public Health Crisis

    Health Departments and Social Media Use

    Trends in Social Media Use in Public Health

    How Audiences Assess Messages in a Crisis

    Crisis Communications Tactics


    Chapter Twelve. Building an Effective Disaster Communications Capability in a Changing Media World


    A Communication Plan

    Information Coming in

    Information Going Out



    Training and Exercises

    Monitoring, Updating, and Adapting



    Glossary of Terms

    Social Media Terms

    Traditional Media Terms

    Emergency Management Terms



Product details

  • No. of pages: 282
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Butterworth-Heinemann 2014
  • Published: December 14, 2013
  • Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124079250
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124078680

About the Authors

George Haddow

George Haddow
George Haddow currently serves as a Senior Fellow and an Adjunct Professor at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Prior to joining academia, Mr. Haddow worked for eight years in the Office of the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the White House Liaison and the deputy Chief of Staff. He is a founding partner of Bullock & Haddow LLC, a disaster management consulting firm.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Fellow and an Adjunct Professor at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.

Kim Haddow

Kim Haddow
Kim Haddow is the president of Haddow Communications in New Orleans – a company specializing in strategic media planning, messaging, and developing research-driven media content, branding and advertising materials for non-profits. Clients have included: the Rockefeller Family Fund, Sierra Club, Make It Right Foundation, U.S. State Department, Public Campaign, and the Trust for America’s Health. Haddow also worked for eight years at Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns (GMMB), a Washington, DC- based media consulting firm, advising political campaigns and non-profits. Haddow began her career at WWL-AM in New Orleans where she managed the news department

Affiliations and Expertise

National Communications Director, Sierra Club

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