USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 25, No. 1 (March 2007)

Articles by:

    John E. Farley, "Call-to-Action Statements in Tornado Warnings: Do They Reflect Recent Developments in Tornado-Safety Research?" pp. 1–36.

      Call-to-action statements in tornado warnings are content analyzed to determine to what extent their wording has been influenced by recent research calling into question official safety guidelines and traditional advice regarding vehicles and mobile homes.  While the statements do not directly contradict official guidelines and advice, there is significant variation among NWS offices regarding what advice is given and what guidelines are emphasized in call-to-action statements in tornado warnings.  Some of this variation is regional, and interviews with NWS meteorologists reveal a frequent opinion that what is best to do if in a vehicle during a tornado warning may vary by region, time of day, and terrain.  The interviews also reveal widespread awareness among NWS meteorologists of debates over tornado safety in vehicles and mobile homes, and strong support for local office autonomy in decisions about the wording of call-to-action statements.  (AA)

    Steven D. Stehr, "The Changing Roles and Responsibilities of the Local Emergency Manager: An Empirical Study," pp. 37–55.

      A number of observers have speculated that a "new" style of emergency management has emerged in the United States in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.  To date, there has been relatively little empirical evidence marshaled to assess this claim.  This article reports the results of an ongoing project designed to track how the staff of an office of emergency management in a large urban region allocate their time on a routine basis.  This project began in the late 1990s, allowing for a year-by-year comparison of time allotted to different emergency management functions.  Among the findings reported here are that, prior to 2002, emergency management staff spent the majority of their time on hazard preparedness projects, but this time allocation shifted dramatically when a variety of federal homeland security grants became available to state and local governments.  This shift in responsibilities may be a sign that domestic security concerns have supplanted the all-hazards approach to emergency management at the local level.  But this paper argues that it may also be a product of the manner in which federal homeland security grants are administered and the dynamics of the intergovernmental structure of emergency management in the U.S.  (AA)

    Kristen Alley Swain, "Sourcing Patterns in News Coverage of the Anthrax Attacks," pp. 57–96.

      This content analysis examined attribution of 12 source types in news coverage of the 2001 anthrax attacks that appeared in 833 stories from 272 U.S. newspapers, Associated Press, National Public Radio, and four U.S. television networks.  Sourcing patterns were examined across disaster phases, media types, attribution type, advice type, uncertainty factors, and explanation types.  Prominent sourcing shifted from federal politicians to federal health officials after journalists began receiving tainted letters, and first responders emerged as the top source type after the attacks ended.  Nearly half of all attributions were unnamed sources. Law enforcement officials were the most commonly quoted sources in stories that mentioned outrage rhetoric, speculation, hoaxes, and false alarms.  The findings highlight routines that journalists use in disaster situations fraught with dread and uncertainty, as well as the types of information they seek during different phases of a crisis and by different types of sources.  (AA)

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School of Policy, Planning, and Development
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