When minutes count: Tension and trust in the relationship between emergency managers and the media
Date of this Version
In crisis and disaster situations the accuracy, scope, credibility and timeliness of media information depend on relationships between journalists and emergency managers. In the chaos of an unfolding disaster this relationship relies heavily on trust. This specific area has received sparse research attention. Accordingly, we reviewed and synthesized literature on trust, and used qualitative analysis of interviews to examine how elite practitioners viewed the importance of trust in the relationships built up with one another both prior to and during disasters. Two main findings emerged: that there was a need to develop shared definitions of trust and articulation of common goals; and that institutional and personal relationships need to be nurtured in the periods between disasters rather than solely during crisis events. These findings warrant dissemination among both media and crisis managers and further research into establishing shared concepts of trust that both partners could use in more effective collaboration.
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