Risk Communication: A Handbook for Communicating Environmental, Safety, and Health Risks / Edition 5

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When health, safety, or environmental risks take center stage, communicating risk information can be a daunting challenge. The increased visibility of global terrorism and other catastrophic emergencies underscores the potential for human tragedy- along with economic, social, and political consequences. Communication must be targeted, understandable, and effective without inadvertently provoking hostility and mistrust. For 10 years, Risk Communication, a handbook of strategies and guidance for conveying risk information effectively, has proved to be a valuable resource on areas such as current laws, stakeholder participation methods, and working with the news media.

This significantly expanded third edition contains all new sections on communicating about acts of bioterrorism and other emergencies, developing messages, and using facilitated deliberation and alternative dispute resolution methods. Sections on using technology in communication, choosing visuals, understanding stigma and privacy issues, and evaluating communication results have been expanded to include the latest methods and research-driven examples.

A valuable resource for 10 years, Risk Communication is divided into five self-contained parts: (1) Background information on basic theories and practices, (2) Planning a communication effort, (3) Putting risk communication into action, (4) Evaluating risk communication efforts, and (5) Communicating risk during and after an emergency.

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Editorial Reviews

An aid for scientists, engineers, and writers to communicating more effectively about environmental, safety, and health risks to a variety of audiences. Explains planning the communication, developing the messages, and evaluating the effort. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118456934
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/29/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Regina E. Lundgren is an independent consultant with more than twenty years of experience in communicating environmental, safety, and health risks to lay audiences. The recipient of national and international awards, she developed the risk communication plan for the most sophisticated cancer cluster investigation in the nation's history and one of the first state-level public health emergency risk communication plans.

Andrea H. Mcmakin is a marketing and communications specialist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory. For more than twenty years, she's been involved with risk communication programs in national and global security, climate change, health and environmental impacts, worker chemical exposure, and risk perception research. Her work has been published and cited in technical journals, scientific and trade publications, and major regional newspapers.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Approaches to communicating risk 13
3 Laws that mandate risk communication 29
4 Constraints to effective risk communication 47
5 Ethical issues 73
6 Principles of risk communication 95
7 Determine purpose and objectives 115
8 Analyze your audience 123
9 Develop your message 143
10 Determine the appropriate methods 157
11 Set a schedule 171
12 Develop a communication plan 181
13 Information materials 195
14 Visual representation of risks 213
15 Face-to-face communication 249
16 Working with the media 271
17 Stakeholder participation 301
18 Technology-assisted communication 337
19 Evaluating risk communication efforts 375
20 Risk communication before, during, and after emergencies 389
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    When a few years ago the new particle accelerator was scheduled

    When a few years ago the new particle accelerator was scheduled to open at CERN one of the journalists asked a certain CERN Physicist about the rumors that the new powerful machine would create a tiny black hole. The Physicist, being the exact science type of guy, gave the journalist the estimate of such an event, which turned out to be so small that the exponential notation was required to express it. Unfortunately, most of the public is not familiar with such a notation, and even those who are have hard time conceptually grasping numbers that are so small. Under most circumstances this does not create much of a problem in our day to day lives (such numbers are, almost by definition, entirely outside of our normal experience), but as black holes have become a part of our intellectual culture, this entirely true but largely irrelevant statement by the honest Physicist became a cause of a lot of alarm and even panic in the popular press. This lead CERN to require of its entire staff to from then on say that the chance of a “black hole event” happening was exactly zero. The moral of this story is that risk communication is a very important subject, and there are the right ways and the wrong ways of going about it. 

    Most of the high-risk situations and circumstances don’t involve such exotic objects as black holes and particle accelerators. They primarily involve environmental, safety and health risks, and this handbook is an excellent source of ideas and best practices involving those risks. 

    The book is very well written and it has primarily practitioners in mind. It provides many useful and to-the-point tips and suggestions, including several checklists and other practical materials. Throughout the book there are many important examples and case studies designed to help the reader with the understanding of this subject. The book can be used as a reference, stand-alone resource, or as a textbook for a class on this subject. It covers a lot of material and it references an impressive amount of primary material. The book can even be of some use to all public relations officials and practitioners, even in the areas that are far removed from its intended audience. 

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