Article (Scientific journals)
Entre gestion de crise et vigilance : quand les médias et l’administration publique sont appelés à construire un référentiel partagé
Fallon, Catherine; Joris, Geoffrey
2009In Communication et Organisation, 35
Peer reviewed


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Keywords :
risk communication; media; crisis management
Abstract :
[en] During periods of crisis, public authorities are assigned specific communication responsibilities. Analysis of crisis management, often strongly mediatized, are particularly fruitful to unveil collaboration problems between media and public authorities. Crisis represents a rupture threatening the social fabrics and urges the authorities to take decisions under time constrains when facts are uncertain and stakes high (Funtowicz et al.). Technological crisis are first and foremost information crisis and they are largely open to mediatized information. Communication deficits are often due to the fact that authorities are tight in administrative constrains which are often contradictory to the logics of crisis communication. Authorities too often limit their communication duty to pure information release, without building a process fostering stakeholders involvement. The administrative framework seems in several aspects irrelevant to the current information and communication regime, but under crisis conditions, the authorities are requested to develop partnerships with media.. Media are unavoidable to promote the enrolling of the public and to control the spreading of rumours which are currently reinforced through the new communication techniques (Web 2.0;gsm). Media construct and amplify accidents thereby transforming the possibilities for crisis management. But building partnership between media and administration is a difficult task. Media – administration partnership causes a confrontation between two professional logics with strong differences in terms of referring to authorities, using knowledge, communication regimes and consideration for the public Crisis communication should be considered as a rooted in “vigilance” communication. The analysis of the crisis communication patterns must also be linked to these periods in order to better unveil the contextual dimensions of informational and communicational regimes. Media play a central role in the construction of conceptual frames and values systems used for the representation of social world. Their presentation of public stakes is largely referred to by the public through a mutually reinforcing media-actors relationship when it comes to make sense for incumbent social events in a process only partially similar to a search for some objective truth. Media are also contributing to the citizen – policymakers relationship through selecting information and agenda setting. Mutations of media are therefore intertwined with the transformation of the politico-administrative system. The social transformations often described as characteristic to the ”risk society” tend to transform the role of media. Individualization makes citizens more sensitive to media information and this is reinforced by the weakening of institutions and of their communication structures. We observe the spreading of new media logics more geared to the emotional register and reinforcing the negativist bias in communication patterns. This affects strongly the management of crisis by public authorities. The analysis of public management of crisis offers a rich set of information for the researcher. It is timely to produce some coherent theoretical frame with reference to the material available from the case studies which are now numerous. This theoretical framework would help to develop relevant principles in order to help administration to develop new forms of communication, with due attention to the specificities of the communication partners and all stakeholders while making use of the emerging communication techniques. This could finally provide administration and media with a basis for defining new ways for “working together”.
Research center :
spiral-risque; spiral-app
Disciplines :
Political science, public administration & international relations
Author, co-author :
Fallon, Catherine ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Politologie générale et administration publique
Joris, Geoffrey ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Politologie générale et administration publique
Language :
Title :
Entre gestion de crise et vigilance : quand les médias et l’administration publique sont appelés à construire un référentiel partagé
Publication date :
Journal title :
Communication et Organisation
Publisher :
Institut des sciences de l'information et de la communication
Special issue title :
Pouvoirs Publics et Media
Volume :
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
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since 26 February 2009


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