Building capacity for citizen science communication of water quality risks: exploring the enhancement of the communication infrastructure in Letcher County, Kentucky

Laura M. Fischer, Dan O’Hair, Madison Wallace, Xianlin Jin, Jason Unrine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

In regions of Eastern Kentucky, access to potable water has been diminished due to pollution and ageing infrastructure. Current communications regarding contaminated water are often inaccessible and infrequent to appropriately address the issues in target communities. To explore possible improvements to the community’s communication infrastructure, the researchers explored what types of stories should be used to communicate about water quality risks, who should communicate the stories, and how stories should be communicated. Researchers conduct 24 interviews with community members to derive emergent themes. The researchers concluded the communication infrastructure should be enhanced to engage the public about water quality risks. Risk messaging should share water quality information through stories that are designed to be easily digested and frequently distributed using laypeople’s terms, visuals, graphs, and maps. These stories should be shared using an integrated communication infrastructure where key community storytellers work together to share risk information across platforms and channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-379
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 National Communication Association.

Keywords

  • Water quality
  • citizen science
  • communication infrastructure approach
  • risk communication
  • scientific literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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