Risk Communication and the Blogland

One of the new twists in the Blogland that you'll notice is some sharing of my research and related information in the field of risk communication. Risk communication explores how risks are communicated, and how such messages are received and understood by the intended audiences. This can include safety, public safety, hurricanes, and all sorts of risks and hazards.

Risk communication is a branch of the communication discipline which I've become drawn to. Why? Because it has direct applications in my work, and allows me to take my research from academia and use it for the direct benefit of those who work with me in the construction industry.

... and because understanding problems, and working towards solving them, is such a refreshing change from the BS that is commonly associated with the political process.

Risk communication draws from a lot of areas of communication research, including organizational communication, intercultural and interpersonal communication, as well as public relations. It goes beyond the scientific assessment of risks (much of which we already know) and asks how to promote the kind of true understanding which can help to diminish the threats posed by hazards.

In fact, not only have I enjoyed my explorations into this field, but I've gotten some attention for my research and this may be the area which I draw upon for my thesis work. For which I must thank Dr. Amanda Ruth at the college for introducing me to this area in her Risk Communication class from this spring.

Watch for me to share research and findings, both from myself and others, in this field here on this blog. For those of you who may work in hazardous occupations, you are certainly welcome to take my work and apply it to your workplace. I'll have several postings on this and related subject material over the next few Wednesdays, so please stay tuned ...

8 Response to "Risk Communication and the Blogland"

  1. Communicate Us 3/9/07 20:41
    Okay Earl, we'll take the bait and ask: What is "risk communication"?
  2. Earl Capps 3/9/07 20:50
    Thanks for tripping me up with a critical shortcoming in my posting. I amended the first paragraph to explain a bit more:

    Risk communication explores how risks are communicated, and how such messages are received and understood by the intended audiences. This can include safety, public safety, hurricanes, and all sorts of risks and hazards.

    BUT if that's still too brainy-geeky, please ask. When it comes to sharing my academic work, there truly is no dumb question except the ones that go unasked.
  3. west_rhino 4/9/07 17:48
    As opposed to "hazard communications" mandated in the bureaucratic BS by OSH, how oh Great Oz do you compare these?

    (Having had a puzzled hazmat response to what must have been terribly causitc acid, since it was giving off steam... twas a still dumping boiling water through a run of copper pipe that someone hadn't alowed for expansion in the design).
  4. Earl Capps 4/9/07 17:55
    west, it's part of the same realm.
  5. Sharp Edges 4/9/07 18:01
    Earl,

    So, it's like "mass communication" involving "risk" situations? Cool.

    Sort of like saying "Danger, Will Robinson!" or "Watch Out For That Tree!" but to a large audience.

    How about this:
    http://www.premierphotographer.com/funny_signs_3.jpg

    Or this:
    http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_MY_P_I/0_my_photographs_italy_-_tuscany_road_signs_1nq21_largest.jpg
  6. Earl Capps 4/9/07 18:06
    sometimes it's not mass communication, but that certainly is one application.

    another is targeted at specific audiences, such as industrial or construction workers or a specific community that could be affected by a chemical plant.

    this is a huge field, and one major obstacle is the disconnect that often exists between knowing what a risk is, from an informed objective standpoint, and getting people to listen and realize there is a problem.
  7. Anonymous 5/9/07 09:55
    that still doesn't tell us why the chicken crossed the road, or if anyone tried to warn him about the risks of unsafe sex while crossing highays.
  8. west_rhino 5/9/07 10:58
    anon, would you be more specific regarding the context of chicken?

    Not that anoyne parses words around here.

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