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Old media, new media: is the news release dead yet? How social media are changing the way wildfire information is being shared




Chambers, Mary Ann, author
Champ, Joseph, advisor
Seel, Peter, committee member
Cheng, Tony, committee member

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This qualitative study examines the use of news releases and social media by public information officers (PIO) who work on wildfire responses, and journalists who cover wildfires. It also checks in with firefighters who may be (unknowingly or knowingly) contributing content to the media through their use of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Though social media is extremely popular and used by all groups interviewed, some of its content is unverifiable. More conventional ways of doing business, such as the news release, are filling in the gaps created by the lack of trust on the internet and social media sites and could be why the news release is not dead yet. The roles training, friends, and colleagues play in the adaptation of social media as a source is explored. For the practitioner, there are updates explaining what social media tools are most helpful to each group. For the theoretician, there is news about changes in agenda building and agenda setting theories caused by the use of social media. Clues are found about the diffusion of this innovation as it applies to social media.


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