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Communication Efforts of Florida Extension Faculty during the 2004 Hurricane Season

University of Florida Institutional Repository

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COMMUNICATION EFFORTS OF FLOR IDA EXTENSION FACULTY DURING THE 2004 HURRICANE SEASON By MELISSA DAWN MUEGGE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Melissa Dawn Muegge

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This document is dedicated to my parents, Michael and Vicky Muegge, and my brother, Brett, for their love and support.

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to express my sincere gratitu de to Dr. Ricky Telg for his guidance, encouragement, and commitment in helping me do my best during my education at the University of Florida. His mentorship and beli ef in my abilities have helped me to believe in myself and achieve goals I once thought were impossible. I would also like to thank Dr Tracy Irani for her expertis e in research methods and for helping me apply theory to my thesis and research interests. I thank Dr. Mark Kistler for sharing his background and knowledge of Ex tension and for his guidance. I owe both my sincere appreciation for their help with my thesis. Credit is due to Dr. Telg, Dr. Irani, Dr. Kistler, and also Dr. Nick Place for givi ng me the opportunity to compose my thesis from their original study on the 2004 Florida hurricanes. I thank my friends in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department for being the true definition of friends a nd for encouraging and uplifting me during my graduate work at UF. I would also like to espe cially thank Emily Rhoades for her mentorship and guidance in assisting me with the CALS Connection I thank Emily and Amanda Ruth for taking me under their wings and showing me the ropes of graduate school. A special thanks is also due to my dear friends Renee Durham, Sorrell Vickers, and Shirley Copeland for uplifting me and loving me each step of the way. I also thank my family, fellow Fightn Texas Aggies, and Texas roots for their support.

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v Lastly, I thank Jesus Christ for blessing me with two amazing parents, Michael and Vicky Muegge. I thank them for believing in me and allowing me to spread my wings in this new journey in life. I will forever be gr ateful for their endless love and never-ending sacrifices. I thank my brother Bre tt for his friendship and love.

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vi TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................ix ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... xi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY...........................................................................1 Introduction................................................................................................................... 1 Background...................................................................................................................5 Purpose........................................................................................................................ .7 Objectives..................................................................................................................... 8 Definition of Terms......................................................................................................8 Crisis......................................................................................................................8 Risk Communication.............................................................................................8 Disaster..................................................................................................................9 Extension Faculty..................................................................................................9 Cooperative Extension Service..............................................................................9 Media/Medium......................................................................................................9 Limitations of the Study...............................................................................................9 Organization of the Remaining Chapters...................................................................10 2 A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE........................................................................11 Overview.....................................................................................................................11 Crisis and Extension............................................................................................11 Crisis, Risk, and Issues Management..................................................................14 Crisis, Issues Management and Risk Communication.......................................21 Theoretical Framework...............................................................................................27 Excellence Theory...............................................................................................27 Relationship Theory............................................................................................31 Agenda-Setting Theory.......................................................................................34 Framing Theory...................................................................................................35 Summary.....................................................................................................................36

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vii 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................37 Introduction.................................................................................................................37 Research Design.........................................................................................................38 Population............................................................................................................38 Instrumentation....................................................................................................38 Data Collection....................................................................................................40 Variables..............................................................................................................41 Data Analysis.......................................................................................................41 Summary.....................................................................................................................42 4 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................43 Results........................................................................................................................ .43 Demographics of Respondents...................................................................................44 5 DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDA TIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS..........................60 Summary.....................................................................................................................60 Discussion...................................................................................................................61 Recommendations.......................................................................................................66 Recommendations for Future Research...............................................................66 Recommendations for Practice............................................................................67 Conclusion..................................................................................................................69 APPENDIX A PATHS OF 2004 FLORIDA HURRICANES............................................................71 B SURVEY RESULTS FRONT-LINE DI SASTER RESPONDERS: THE NEEDS OF FLORIDAS COUNTY EXTENSION PROFESSIONALS................................72 C QUESTIONNAIRE REQUEST LETTER TO IFAS EXTENSION FACULTY......76 D UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/IFAS EXTENSION ADMINISTRATION DISTRICTS................................................................................................................77 E EXTENSION FACULTIES USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO PROGRAM AREA............................78 F EXTENSION FACULTIES USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDI NG TO GEOGRAPHIC DISTRICT...............80 G EXTENSION FACULTIES USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDI NG TO YEARS OF EXTENSION.................81

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viii LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................82 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................89

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ix LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Number of Extension agents by age............................................................................44 4-2 Extension agents according to rank.............................................................................45 4-3 Extension agents with ad ministrative responsibilities.................................................45 4-4. Extension agents primary program area....................................................................46 4-5 Agents years of experience with the Cooperative Extension Service........................46 4-6 Number of Extension agents according to UF/IFAS administra tive districts who responded to study....................................................................................................47 4-7 Extension agents use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season.......................................................................................................48 4-8 Extension offices use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season.......................................................................................................48 4-9 Extent that communicat ion sources/channels were used by Extension agents during the 2004 hurricane season.............................................................................49 4-10 Extent that Extension agents used personal communication methods during the 2004 hurricane season..............................................................................................50 4-11 Extension agents perception of the ge neral publics awareness of Extensions efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.................................................................50 4-12 Extension agents perception of Extensi on clienteles awareness of their efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.............................................................................51 4-13 Sources/channels of communication pe rceived as most effective in conveying information to the public during the 2004 hurricane season....................................51 4-14 .Extension agents perception of most effective personal communication methods used during the 2004 hurricane season....................................................................53 4-15 Internal and external communication preparedness efforts used by Extension offices in a crisis like the2004 hurrica nes or other emergency situations................54

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x 4-16 Extension agents use of mass medi a channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season according to years of Extension service.......................................57

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xi Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science COMMUNICATION EFFORTS OF FLOR IDA EXTENSION FACULTY DURING THE 2004 HURRICANE SEASON By Melissa Dawn Muegge December 2005 Chair: Ricky Telg Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication From August 13 to September 26, 2004, the state of Florida was hit by more hurricanes in one year than any state in mo re than 120 years. The wrath of hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne left ho mes destroyed, lives lost, and businesses to rebuild. As a result, Extension faculty were ca lled to take an active role in this crisis situation. Determining how to communicate to their publics or clientele, what messages would be most effective, and how to do so in a timely manner, were just some of the communication issues facing Floridas Extension faculty. The purpose of this study was to examine what communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to better equip Extensi on faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters. Through a descriptive survey of quantitative and qualitative responses, this study described the percepti on of respondents communication efforts. A total of 208 people responded to the survey, for an overall response rate of 63.4%.

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xii Overall, one-third of respondents indicat ed that they did not use mass media channels at all during the hurricanes, and personal communication, such as word of mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of communication used. It can be inferred that due to the limited access of power and technology, agents had no other choice but to use these forms of comm unication. However, it can also be concluded that Extension agents chose forms of pe rsonal communication as the most effective means of insuring the well-being of their clie ntele. This study indi cates that Extension faculty with zero to five y ears of employment used face-to-face communication and on site visits more than any other faculty, while those with more than 30 years used them the least. The most often used source/channels to convey information was flyers/print materials, followed by newspapers. These findi ngs indicate that in times of natural disaster, people need information that is readily and easily accessible and is not constrained to limited technology or power re straints. However, while flyers, print materials, and newspapers were listed as the most effective sources/channels of communication, qualitative respons es indicated that some fe lt there was too much print information. More than three-fourths of respondents repo rted that their offices had an internal crisis communication plan, while half said their Extension office had an external plan. As a result of the lack of a unified crisis communication plan, cons istent internal and external outreach efforts on behalf of Exte nsion were, in many instances, not known and not obtained.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Introduction When Hurricane Charley came ashore on August 13, 2004, Florida residents began to feel the effects from what would soon be a total of four hu rricanes to sweep the state in just over a month (Sherman, 2004). From Augus t 13 to September 26, the state of Florida was hit by more hurricanes in one year duri ng the 2004 hurricane season than any state in more than 120 years (Appendix A). Hurricane Ch arley was the first to hit the west coast of Florida and tear across the peninsula in a matter of hours, followed by Hurricane Frances, on September 5, Hurricane Ivan on September 16, and Hurricane Jeanne on September 26 (Stewart, 2005). The wrath of hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne left homes destroyed, lives lost, and businesses to rebuild. One hundred and seventeen people died in the four hurricanes, and damage estimates reached mo re than $22 billion (Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, 2005). In agriculture and allied indus tries, estimates of hurricaneinflicted damages totaled more than $2 bill ion (UF/IFAS, 2005). The hurricanes affected key commodities, ranging from citrus and st rawberries to livestock and forestry. In response, the University of Florida/In stitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) formed a Hurricane Recovery Task Force to inventory UF/IFAS's immediate response during the six months following the hurricanes and "develop long-term strategies for dealing with these and future hurricanes or disasters, both natural and manmade" (UF/IFAS, 2005, p. 1). The Hurricane Re covery Task Force, headed by UF/IFAS

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2 Dean for Extension Larry Arrington and In terim Academic Dean Wayne Smith, was formed to develop more effective means of helping those in need (UF/IFAS, 2005, p.1). This plan included collaborat ing with UF/IFAS faculty a nd staff experts on every agricultural commodity in the state, support industries, natural resources, and the environment. Leading UF/IFAS faculty also were responsible for developing reports and recommendations for commodities and other pr ogram areas important to UF/IFAS. These leaders utilized any resources from trade a ssociations, other faculty, government faculty, etc. to meet their objectives (UF/IFAS, 2005, p. 1). These objectives included situation assessments of major damage across the st ate; immediate response steps for UF/IFAS to take immediately to assist those in need; and long-term response plans for future research and programs to prepare for the next hurricane (UF/IFAS, 2005). Among the recommendations for these obj ectives, UF/IFAS Extension identified the need to improve communication effo rts as a primary concern during the 2004 hurricane season (UF/IFAS, 2005). Providing Exte nsion faculty with a needed list of guidelines and resources for immediate res ponse to hurricanes, developing dark Web sites for disaster situatio ns, and producing public servic e announcements on behalf of Extension were just some of the needed co mmunication efforts identified. UF/IFAS also saw the importance of communication in disa ster-response training for Extension faculty, and for developing educational materials on how to manage and deal with specific commodities and livestock during disaster ti mes. Because UF/IFASs responsibilities include education and outreac h, Florida Cooperative Extension was identified as a means to provide outreach in relation to their comm unication to clientele, the general public, and the community (UF/IFAS, 2005).

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3 Historically, the Cooperative Extension Se rvice has responded to the problems and crises of communities from local depressions and regional droughts to more nation-wide cases, such as the Great Depression and wo rld wars (Cartwright, Case, Gallagher, & Hathaway, 2002). The farm crisis of the 1980s is one example of Extensions role in helping communities recover from stress and set-backs through the implementation of workshops, seminars, couple retreats, oneon-one outreach educa tion, support groups, 24-hour stress management hotlines, and financial management (Williams, 1996). In addition, Extension has responded in floods, ot her natural disasters, and even child abductions (Chenoweth, 1991; Stark, 1990). Exte nsion's primary role in many former crises was to provide reliable information delivered by various forms of communication media, such as radio (addressed question/an swer sessions); televi sion (interviews and informational segments); and Web site links a nd printed information such as fact sheets, information packets, and other publications (Cartwright et al., 2002). These techniques have often been associated with the respons ibilities of a facilitator rather than a technical expert during times of a crisis. Extension faculty, play ing the role of a facilitator, may be more likely to help the community take steps of problem resolution as a group (Cartwright et al., 2002). In relation to the Florida hurricane cris is of 2004, Extension faculty responded during these four disasters by supporting the hur ricane preparation and recovery efforts in their communities and nei ghboring counties. When their areas were raked by the hurricanes, faculty communicated through various means to provide important information to clientele groups through ma ss and personal channels (UF/IFAS, 2005).

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4 All UF/IFAS Extension faculty provided a variety of resources and services to agricultural producers and residents across the state, while simultaneously working with local, state, and federal government agencies to insure that people and agricultural industries recovered from the natural disast ers that struck the state (McGovney, 2005). In many instances, these faculty were the first pers ons to assist farmers and ranchers in rural and hard-to-reach areas. They also performed ta sks of locating generato rs, ice, water, and food, removing fallen trees, and getting animals to shelters (UF/IFAS, 2005). Although Extension faculty reached out to their communities, they, too, were impacted by the storm. In addition to re ndering aid to others, many of their homes, property, and belongings were damaged and needed attention (UF/IFAS, 2005). After the second hurricane, a small working group in the University of Floridas Department of Agricultural Education a nd Communication began discussions of the professional and personal development needs of county Extension faculty impacted by the hurricanes. The discussions evolve d to include communication channels, informational resources, and the impact the Extension Service had throughout the state. By the third hurricane, the working gr oup decided to develop a comprehensive questionnaire to examine these areas. With the support of Dean for Extension Larry Arrington, the survey was completed and disse minated to county Extension facultys and District Extension Directors at the end of the hurricane season. The comprehensive study sought to provide more clarity of the front -line response efforts of Florida's county Extension faculty. UF/IFAS Extensions clie ntele depended on Extension for their well being during the hurricane season. In return, it was Extensions role to reach out to its clientele, to provide resources, and to assist where needed (UF/IFAS, 2005).

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5 By examining the role of the Florida Coope rative Extension Service, with offices in 67 counties, UF/IFAS Extension can better correlate Extensions primary role with its communication to its clientele and identify their perception of communication messages and methods used to prepare for future hurricane or natural disaster situations. Background The concept of personal trust has been es tablished between rural communities and Extensions success during times of providing aid and assistance in crisis situations (Meeker, 1992). According to Meeker, univers ity Extension, as the only non-regulatory United States Department of Agriculture ag ency, has only educational functions and was thus a natural pathway to the rural community due to the previously built networks of personal trust (Meeker, 1992, p. 79). This trus t dates back to the establishment of Extension in the early 19 00s (Seevers, Graham, Gamon, & Conklin, 1997). Ledingham and Brunigs (1998) research on public relations can be asso ciated with the long-term relationship and communication associated with Extension and its publics. They proposed that an organizations involvemen t in and support of ones community will further establish the loyalty and commitment of key pub lics to their organization. Ledingham and Brunig also suggest that this involvement or support is a process in which the organization must focus on the relationshi ps with their key pub lics and communicate involvement of those activities or progra ms that build the organizations public relationship to members of their key publics and those in society. Crisis responsibility can also be applie d to the UF/IFAS Extension faculty and the 2004 hurricane season. Fink (1986) defines a crisis as an unstable time in which a change can occur as a highly undesirable outcome, or one with the dis tinct possibility of a highly desirable and extremely positive outcome. Schrerer and Baker (1996) proposed that crisis

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6 communication is involved when incident s suddenly and unpredictably threaten the stability of an organization or industry. Furthe rmore, because crisis situations can occur in any organization, it is important to have crisis communication pl ans that strive to minimize reputation damage, gain control of the situation, reduce un certainties, and take advantage of any possible benefits that may arise (Bonk, 2003). In relation to the 2004 Florida hurricanes, crisis communication preparedness fo r the agriculture industry involved a needed plan of action to implement in regard to communi cation strategies and tactics when natural disasters occurred. Essent ially, organizations need to be proactive in responding to possible disaster situations in stead of reactive (Ruth, Muegge, & Irani, 2005). The amount and type of news media cove rage agriculture received during the hurricane season is also important to unders tand when examining the perception of how Extension faculty communicated to their clientele. Although media coverage of agricultural issues is diminish ing, it is disaster and crisis situations that receive heavy attention from the news media (Sood, Stoc kdale, & Rogers, 1987). Consequently, it remains valuable to explore how much media coverage agriculture receives during crisis in order to determine where agriculture lies on the media and public agendas, in relation to crisis. The role of the media in time s of crisis is a na tural focal point for communication researchers due to the increased amount of pe ople that turn to the media for information (Larson, 1986, p. 146). Because Extension faculty could do l ittle or nothing to prevent their circumstances the Florida hurricanes strong er perceptions of external control should lessen crisis responsibility a nd image damage (Coombs, 1998). In addition, it is believed

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7 that organizations with a history of positiv e performance and good deeds, find it easier to maintain a positive image during a crisis (Coombs, 1998). This concept relates to Extension faculty as they serve as educatio nal missionaries, transforming the quality of peoples lives and contributing to their deve lopment as human beings through education (Seevers et al., 1997). Research indicates that before a crisis occurs, planning may reduce response time and possibly prevent missteps in an organizatio ns initial response to a crisis (Benoit, 1997). However, Extension faculty was called to ta ke an active role in a crisis situation that no state had experienced since the 1880s Determining how to communicate to their publics or clientele, what messages would be mo st effective, and how to do so in a timely manner, were just some of the communicati on issues facing Floridas Extension faculty. Because media coverage during natural disaster situations is inevitable, the messages and media used to communicate about these issues are vital to the ag ricultural industry in order to deliver accurate, timely, and positive messages. Purpose According to Greene (1995), Cooperative Ex tension faculty should listen to those they serve to learn what "practical education" or needs exist. Extension can be perceived as better at carrying out effective programs than at communicating about these programs (Warner, 1993). Therefore, in relation to th e 2004 hurricane season, it is crucial to conduct research on Extensions communication efforts to determine how clientele needs were met and to address future concerns of clientele facing a natura l disaster (UF/IFAS, 2005). The purpose of this study was to examine what communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane

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8 season, in an effort to better equip Extensi on faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters. Objectives The following objectives guided this study: Objective 1: Describe th e communication methods used by Florida Extension faculty during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 2: Describe Florida Extensi on facultys percepti on of communication efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 3: Determine th e perception of messages co mmunicated during the 2004 hurricane season and why Florida Extensi on faculty communicated those messages. Objective 4: Describe Florida Extensi on facultys percepti on of communication methods and messages during the 2004 hurri cane season as a function of their geographic location, program area, a nd years of Extension employment. Definition of Terms The terms crisis, risk communication, disa ster, Cooperative Extension Service, and media/medium are defined as follows. These te rms were chosen base d on their relevance to the study. Crisis For the purpose of this study, a crisis is a major occurren ce with a potentially negative outcome affecting the organization, co mpany, or industry, as well as its public, products, services, or good na me (Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 2). Risk Communication Risk communication is defined as a pro cess wherein government, industry, and the concerned publics engage in an active exchange of inform ation that could produce wellinformed decisions and rational responses to risks (Sherer & Juanillo, 1990).

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9 Disaster A disaster can be defined as anything from a chemical spill or fire to an area blizzard or hurricane to a multi-state drought or flood that is unexpected or has a major impact (Koch, 1999). Extension Faculty For the purpose of this study, Extension faculty is defined as county Extension agents and county and distri ct Extension directors. Cooperative Extension Service The Cooperative Extension System (CES) is a public-funded, nonformal, educational system that links the education and research resources of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), land-gr ant universities, and county administrative units (Seevers et al., 1997). Media/Medium Media/medium is a channel or system of communication that generate messages designed for large, heterogeneous, a nd anonymous audiences (Harris, 1994). Limitations of the Study A limitation of this study wa s the use of technology to distribute the Web-based survey. There could have been a possibility that not all Extension faculty had access to computers or the Internet. One reason coul d have been a result of electrical power outages across the state of Florida, although, it is not as likely for this to be the case because the survey was distributed between the beginning of December through the first week of January. However, there was no guarantee that the respondent was knowledgeable about Internet usage and on line surveys. All communication with and

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10 distribution of the questionnaire was done onlin e, via e-mail, based upon the most current list of Extension faculty. The scope of the present study was limited to those who were Extension faculty in the state of Florida as of November 2004. A lthough there was a large response rate to the study, the results cannot be genera lized to other states and regi ons of the country that deal with natural disasters, such as hurricanes because the study is specific to the state of Florida. However, other states faced with natu ral disasters, like the Gulf Coast states in 2005, can use this study as a comparison to th eir Extensions communication efforts. Organization of the Remaining Chapters This thesis is organized into five chap ters. Chapter 1 discussed the background and purpose for the study. Chapter 2 includes findings and research applic able to the problem under investigation and indicates theory upon which the study is based. Chapter 3 contains the study design and the methodology used. Results of the data collected and important findings are organized in Chapte r 4, and Chapter 5 summarizes the intent, procedures, and findings of th e study, in addition to the conclusions, implications, and recommendations of the findings.

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11 CHAPTER 2 A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Overview This chapter describes relevant and a ppropriate literature necessary for the development of this study. Key topics discusse d include crisis and Ex tension; crisis, risk, and issues management; and crisis and ri sk communication. The study also included a theoretical discussion of important communi cation theories upon which this study is based: excellence theory, relati onship theory, agenda-setting theory, and framing theory. Crisis and Extension By definition, a crisis is a specific, une xpected, and nonroutine event or series of events that create high levels of uncertainty a nd threaten or are perceived to threaten an organizations high-priority goals (S eeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 1998, p. 233). Among the categorization of crisis include natural disasters, such as hurricanes, droughts, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, earthquak es, volcanoes, and wildfires (Paul, 2001). In the case of hurricanes, Extension profe ssionals are in a unique position to help specific community segments (e.g. agricultu re, schools) prepare for these reactions following a critical event, as well as support those community segments following a disaster (Wiens, Evans, Tsao, & Liss, 2004, p. 1). In addition, rural areas may be more likely to have fewer resources to devote to di sasters, especially in the case of disasters requiring specialized equipment a nd training (Wiens et al., 2004). Extensions history of serving others by educating and providing information can also be associated with their many years of responding to the pr oblems and crisis of

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12 communities (Bosch, 2004). As noted in Chapter 1, the farm crisis of the 1980s is one of the many examples of how Extension has respon ded in times of crisis. Resources related to Extension faculties response to farm cr isis are available in Williams (1996) study. In 1988, the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service played a major role in disseminating information to families and communities facing the drought crisis in Washington County, Ohio (Chenoweth, 1991). Ex tension utilized a daily fact sheet, known as Drought Directives to reach indivi duals with informati on on the severity of the drought and how they could manage thei r farm, home, and well-being during these difficult times. Extension also sought to ma ke the nonfarm community aware of the fact that the drought was not just a farm pr oblem, but that everyone was affected. By partnering with local newspapers and radio stations, and by mailing the Drought Directives to 358 people weekly, Ohio Extens ion was able to disseminate information across a widespread audience. As a result, university and Extension administrators presented the program to the Ohio state legisl ators when asking for money to aid farmers during the crisis. Extension was able to meas ure its effectiveness by distributing a survey to the recipients of the Drought Directiv es. Eighty-four percent of the respondents reported using the information they receive d, and 53% said that the information they received helped them, their families, and businesses. Extension agents in Klamath Falls, Ore gon, also responded to a crisis in their community in the summer of 2001 when the Bu reau of Reclamation determined that it could not release the normal a llocation of water from Klamath Lake to farmers in the Klamath Irrigation Project (Cartwright et al ., 2002). This period of drought caused over 1,200 families, farming over 220,000 acres, to be without their normal water irrigation

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13 for the entire summer. As a result, farmers w ithheld investments to plant their crops, and the impact spread to the local busine sses and communities throughout the county and region. Extension decided to put aside their informational programs, and instead focus their efforts towards designing three needs assessment and resolution meetings, which encouraged cooperation and action on beha lf of community leaders and Extension faculty. As a result of Extensions outreach in a time of crisis, 75,000 acre-feet of water was released to irrigate the lands, the federal government provided $20 million in payments to affected farms, and California and Oregon farmers were able to drill new wells that provided additional irriga tion water (Cartwright et al., 2002). The National Rural Behavioral Health Cent er was created at the University of Florida in 2001 to assist Extension profe ssionals, healthcare professionals, and other disaster response workers in promoting rese arch, education, and Extension to aid in delivering behavioral health care to rural Americans in times of a crisis or natural disaster (Wiens et al., 2004). Extension sp ecialists develope d a curriculum, Triumph Over Tragedy: A Community Response to Managing Post-Disaster Stress, to help Extension professionals and others in their efforts to provide education and services to communities affected by disasters. The curriculum incl udes information on prep aring and coordinating community responses, educating community members about the common signs of postdisaster stress, issues relevant to lo ng-term recovery, and improving information management following a disaster. Extension f aculty can use this information to train other professionals and volunteers in th eir community (Wiens et al., 2004). Funded by the U.S. Department of Agricultu re and leadership from the University of Illinois, the Extension Disaster Edu cation Network was developed in 1993 after

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14 Extension services in the Nort h Central Region states combined their efforts to create a network that would allow others to draw and receive information to reduce the impact of natural and man-made disasters (Koch, 1999) The network is now national, with 28 states represented. These states share inform ation at annual meetings, and by conference calls, e-mail, publications, and video. The Ex tension Disaster Education Network, EDEN, Web site is a collaborative multi-state effort by Extension Services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizen s affected by disasters. Using electronic technology to develop, archive, update, transm it, and receive educational information, the EDEN Web site has proven to be an effective tool for those associated with the network. Topics covered on the Web site incl ude homeland security, hurricanes, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), soybean rust, plant and crop security, how families and children can prepare for disasters, and mo re. Because one of ED ENs major goals is to share educational resources and technica l expertise across state lines, the Web site makes it possible to see what resources are available from different state Extension services and from other agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross. The Extension Service in North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota are examples of the agenci es, which support the effectiveness of the network in times of crisis or disaster for providing beneficial in formation (Koch, 1999). Crisis, Risk, and Issues Management Many times crisis situations result in the possibility of a decline in an organizations reputation, and also result in increased media and public attention. However, even in the face of chaos, crisis can also bring about stability, order, and balance (Seeger, 2002). In fact, crisis can often create a commonality and community in certain situations and, therefore, modify the climate and tone of communication

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15 (Seeger, 2002, p. 336). It is in these situations that the “shared values, needs, goals, threats and interdependencies may become sa lient in the face of a crisis” (Seeger, 2002, p. 336). Crisis management is using effectiv e communication with people inside and outside an organization. It is a process of strategic pl anning that “removes some of the risk and uncertainty from the negative occu rrence and thereby allows the organization to be in greater control of its own des tiny” (Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 2). Once a natural disaster strikes, there is little time for th inking ahead, and implementing a plan of action. Crisis communication strategy begins with a plan. “A good one anticipates the worst that could happen, sets procedures for key strate gists, and prepares for the unpredictable” (Bonk, 2003, p. 14). The key for all communi cators and representatives of an organization is to plan thoroughly and carefully before the crisis occurs (Covello, 2003). According to the Institute of Crisis Manage ment, 65% of most business crisis today are non-event-related or “smouldering” crisis originating mostly with management interaction and/or neglect (S apriel, 2003, p. 348-349). As a resu lt, corporations recognize that crisis management must be implemented and that all key business functions must address crisis prevention and management fo rmally as part of business planning. This type of business contingency planning or “ BCP” involves risk management which means identifying, evaluating, and addressing issues as the first step in crisis preparation. Managing these issues poses a ch allenge, but is most critical for organizations (Sapriel, 2003). Beginning with clear objectives such as providing information, establishing trust, organizing emergency response, and involving stakeholders in partnerships and problem

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16 solving are key preparation st eps in crisis planning (Cove llo, 2003). Organizations should recruit spokespersons with effective presen tation skills and who can be respected and trusted by one’s target audience (Fearn-Ba nks, 2002). Training all staff in basic, intermediate, and advanced risk and crisis communication is also strongly recommended so that all employees know wh at is expected of them and how to respond when and if a crisis occurs (Covello, 2003). In addition to these types of preparation steps, organizations must not fail to anticipate questions and issues that might ar ise as a result of the crisis (Covello, 2003). Cynthia Lawson, executive director of univers ity relations at Te xas A&M University, worked for the Detroit Edison Company in the 1970s and 1980s (Fearn-Banks, 2002). She said that while Detroit Edison was cons tructing a nuclear power plant, a “mock crisis” was created once or twice a year. “The drill was gruesome—all day long,” Lawson said. “We knew the week, but not the day or time. The skills I learned in thes e practices long ago were ingrained in me. I knew what I had to do. It was automatic,” she said (Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 179). Lawson said that it was these experiences in crisis planning that helped her after she had only served as the executive direct or of university re lations at Texas A&M University for five months when eleven Texas A&M students and one alumnus were killed and 27 others injured when the tr aditional Aggie bonfire they were building collapsed at 2:42 a.m. on Nove mber 18, 1999 (Fearn-Banks, 2002). In the case of Extension, crisis mana gement would involve insuring effective communication internally among the employees of the organization, the organization’s publics, the community, and in many cas es, the general public. Even though the

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17 agricultural industry faces problems that no other industry faces and must communicate about complicated issues “there remains a l ack of documented cases from which industry professionals and students can l earn” (Telg & Dufresne, 2001, p. 8). Whiting, Tucker, and Whaley (2004) analy zed the preparedness of colleges of agriculture across the U.S. and the handling of crisis situations at those institutions. Only about 60% of responding la nd-grant universities had a central crisis communication plan, while nearly one-third of the responde nts were unaware of a crisis communication plan in place for their Experiment Station and academic programs. A large majority of respondents believed that their administrators were somewhat or well informed of the crisis plan; however, less than half of the respondents believed that either faculty (43.3%) or staff (46%) were somewhat or well info rmed. Their recommenda tions highlight the overall need to be more proactive in esta blishing crisis communi cation plans, and to develop and encourage crisis communicati on training for administrators, faculty and staff. They also identified key administrato rs’ involvement as a crucial factor in the success of a crisis communicat ion plan “because organizations that involve their communication heads in management decision-ma king are more likely to have successful public relations programs than organizations th at do not follow this practice” (p. 17). Wrigley, Salmon, and Park (2003) conducted a phone survey of corporate spokespersons, particularly thos e in charge of public relatio ns or security plans for an organization, about their crisis management planning and bioterrorism preparedness. Seventy percent of those interviewed said th eir companies had general crisis management plans in place, but only 12% dealt specifically with bioterrorism. Results also identified that there was a low level of knowledge about bioterrorism among correspondents who

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18 were responsible for creating crisis communication plans. The researchers wrote that publicity about “risk is not e nough in and of itself to spur preventive action” (p. 289). The results also indicated that awareness of the “risk” at hand— bioterrorism, perceived seriousness, and perceived cont rollability—were consistent an d significant predictors of willingness to develop a crisis management plan. Research has shown that because crisis situations can occur in any organization, it is important to have crisis communication plans that strive to minimize reputation da mage, gain control of the situation, reduce uncertainties, and take advantage of any po ssible benefits that may arise (Caponigro, 1988; Benoit, 1997; Adams, 2000; Fear n-Banks, 2002 & Covello, 2003). Although management and public relations personnel in large corporations and organizations acknowledge the need for such a plan, many lack the pers onnel or the expertise to develop a crisis plan (Fearn-Banks, 2002). Related closely to crisis or issues manage ment is risk management. Whereas issues management is “proactive in that it tries to identify issues and influence decisions regarding them before they have a detrimenta l effect on a corporation,” risk management attempts to alert people about risks they tend to have contro l over, (Gaunt & Ollenburger, 1995, p. 202). It is also important to understand that risk, issu es, and crisis management are all different. Crisis management tends to be more reactive to an issue, and many times occurs after the public is aware of an event or situ ation. If used properly, issues management is capable of lessening the impr ession of potentially damaging issues or keeping them out of the public’s attention. As a result, examples of successful issues management tend to remain invisi ble (Gaunt & Ollenburger, 1995).

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19 To understand how the news media typically op erates in natural disaster situations, communicators should examine how the media’ s coverage frames the public’s perception of one’s organizations, and work to establis h report and credibility with the media in order to maintain and enhance news c overage (Ruth, Muegge, & Irani, 2005). While most of the general public does not understand the importa nce of agriculture to society, private foundations and governmental agencies support the idea that there is a need for the general public to have a basi c understanding of agricu lture, the agriculture industry, and its role in America’s economic well-being (Frick, Birkenholz, & Machtmes, 1995). Agriculture is essential to Americ a’s economic, environmental and cultural growth; however, the media reso urces devoted to the day to-d ay coverage of agriculture and rural affairs are dwindling or inade quate (Pawlick, 2001). The reasons for this neglect differ from region to region, but th e overall result is the same: inadequate resources devoted by the major media to agricu lture and an editorial bias from a heavyurban circulation base (Pawlick, 2001). Despite the lack of news coverage and in terest in agricultural news, practitioners and researchers argue that it is vital for ag riculture communicators a nd organizations, like Extension, to understand how the news coverage of agriculture in crisis may affect public perceptions of, and public policy toward, th e industry as a whole. Hagins, Lockaby, Akers, and Kieth (2002) emphasized the impor tance of continued education efforts by agricultural communicators to increase the agricultural literacy of reporters. As a result of educating reporters about basic agricultural in formation and informing them of their bias statements, agricultural communicators may enc ourage reporters to include more factual and verifiable statements. In return, agri cultural news is more likely to receive a

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20 generated news coverage and accuracy of its day-to-day issues. It was also recommended that those within the agricultural community c ontinue to stay abreast with current issues the industry is facing because the media typically targets the farmer or the grower as their spokesperson as opposed to the trained agricultural communications specialist. Ruth, Muegge, and Irani (2005) found that exploring the framing of agriculture during a hurricane crisis may provide insight into the crisis communication preparedness and management of industry communicators sp ecifically in dealing with the media, in addition to their understanding of how the news media operate during crisis. By examining the framing of news media coverage of agriculture in three major metropolitan newspapers in Florida during the 2004 hurri cane season, they concluded that under the search term “hurricane,” approximately 1,110 ar ticles were written. Agricultural stories only constituted about 4% of the hurricane cove rage of these three major newspapers in Florida; yet, as the second-largest industry in the state, agriculture was severely impacted by the hurricanes. Researchers also found four dominant frames inherent in the majority of articles analyzed: loss, cost, disaster, and benefici ary. The first and most notable frame, loss, framed agriculture as an industry that suffe red substantial loss of crops, equipment, facilities, and animals. Cost was identified as any reference to the monetary amount lost or incurred by the agriculture industry. Char acterized by government assistance, financial support, and recipient of relief packages, the beneficiary frame represented several different facets of support for the agriculture industry. The disaster frame presented the agricultural crisis situation as a catastrophe, de vastation, or destruction.

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21 A slight majority of articles (n=20) exhibite d a negative tone, (n=18) indicated a neutral tone, and the remaining articles disp layed a positive tone (n=10). This study was conducted on the assumption that personal experience with agricultural issues is deteriorating within the lay public, and so me dia discourse plays a significant role in developing knowledge and understanding of agricu lture and its contribution to the state (Eyck, 2000). However, despite the notion that framing is associated with how the media defines, labels, or categori zes information, it is also re levant to look at how an organization like UF/IFAS frames its own i ssues or circumstances (Ruth, Muegge, & Irani, 2005). Crisis, Issues Management, and Risk Communication Crisis communication involves incidents that suddenly and unpredictably threaten the stability of an organi zation (Whiting, Tucker, & Whal ey, 2004). It is the “dialog between the organization and its publics to, during, and after the negative occurrence” (Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 2). Coombs (1999) noted that there are two dominant message factors crisis experts reco mmend communicating: informa tion and compassion. Coombs defined compassion as a “valuable symbolic re source crisis managers can use to bolster reputations and account honoring during an accident crisis” (p. 137). The overall impact of the study concluded that compassion, not instructing information, was related to perceptions of organizational control when communicating to one’s publics. According to Covello (2003), communi cating clearly and with compassion involves understanding that tr ust is earned. This means as a communicator and as an organization, one should not ask or expect to be trusted by the public. Therefore, it is critical to express genuine empathy, only to promise what can be delivered, and then follow through, and acknowledge and say that any illness, injury, or death is a tragedy to

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22 be avoided (Covello, 2003). These types of me ssages are most effective if delivered by leaders and well-respected representatives of one’s organization (Sapriel, 2003). The messages of hope, support, and the rebuildi ng process offer publics the reassurance needed in uncertain times (Sapriel, 2003). Al so, relaying timely information is relevant when communicating in a cris is. Communicators should strive for brevity, but respect requests for information and offer to provide desired information within a specified time period (Covello, 2003). Many times these “reque sts” are presented by the media. Because the goal of crisis and risk communicators is to establish long-term re lationships of trust and credibility with the medi a, communicators should provide information tailored to the needs of each type of media (Heath & Nathan, 1990-91). Issues management communication is sim ilar to crisis communication; however, the organization most likely is aware of the possibility of a crisis and the opportunity to some extent of when to reveal the issu e to primary stakeholders and publics (FearnBanks, 2002). It is important to note that the organization is central to the event. Whether communicating about natural disast ers, terrorist attacks, or emergency preparedness, an effective message is param ount in reaching the desired outcome of an increase in the understanding of the risk at hand. Today, much of risk communication research tends to focus on environmental or h ealth issues (Peters, Covello, & McCallum, 1997). Risk communication is defined as a pro cess of the exchange of information about the expected outcome (good and bad) and magnitude (weak or strong) among government, industry and publics that coul d produce well-informed decisions and rational responses to risk (S cherer & Juanillo, 1990). Pete rs, et al. (1997) found that knowledge and expertise, honesty and openness, and care and concern, accounted for a

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23 significant amount of variation in percep tions of trust and credibility when communicating about risks. In fact, poor risk communications can cr eate threats larger than those posed by the risks that they de scribe (Morgan, Fischhoff, Bostrom, & Atman, 2002). It is important to unde rstand that while professional risk experts spend hours considering the possibility of rare and unusual hazards, most lay people spend very little time focusing their attention on situations other than common everyday hazards (Morgan et al., 2002). As a result, risk communicator s face the challenge of truly informing and educating lay people about those risks (Morgan, et al, 2002). In the mix of knowing how one should communicate about risk, it is important to correlate the concepts of knowledge and risk perception (Johnson, 2003) In other words, “knowledge is and should be important in understanding one’s risk perception” (p. 1). When studying risk perception, research on know ledge and lay risk pe rception falls into three categories: evaluating the public’s understanding of facts about nature and technology for their effect on attitudes toward hazard; identifying heuristics with which people process information on hazards; and describing laypeople’s conceptual frameworks for hazards (Johnson, 2003). Communicating effective risk messages to the public begins with establishing a partnership with the public, la ying the foundations for mutual trust, considering how the public naturally thinks about th e risks, and determining what aspects of the scientific literature actually matter to them (Morgan et al., 2002). Despite these preparations, Morgan, et al. (2001) reported th at ideally all one can seek is to be ready for laypeople to become interested in a topic that has been prepared for thoroughly.

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24 Because the media is a critical link in delivering risk me ssages to publics, reporters often act as “filters” for one’s messages (A dams, 1992-93). Therefore, in the case of Extension, educating and informing the medi a about one’s organization and the risk management process will more likely help keep publics informed with accurate and upto-date information. Adams (1992-93) suggested the following about the news media and the reporting of risk: The news media will generally ignore the organization’s experts in favor of government or activist sources. Journalists are often not upto-date on science-related topics especially risk assessment. Journalists are likely to pe rsonalize risk-related stories. Becoming an expert in one’s area of ris k, going to the news source as the expert with facts and newsworthy information, encouraging management to train for news media interviews, and understand ing the target audience, are some things an organization can do to prepare a risk communi cation program (Adams, 1992-1993). Telg and Dufresene (2001) examined the communications methods and results of Florida’s agricultural communicat ors during the Mediterranean fruit fly infestations. The researchers found that the media tended to favor activist groups for information, journalists lacked the knowledge about the science-related topic, and journalists tended to personalize the risk-associated story. They also reported that the agricultural community’s poor job of issues management during the Medfly eradication hampered their ability to communicate. These are all observations that Adams (1992-93) made in his statements about the media and risk communication. Therefore, communicators and management of an organization need to be obs ervant and pay special attention to activists groups and to their organizati ons public relations pitfalls.

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25 According to Sandman (1998) the three kinds of crisis co mmunication have a relationship with risk communi cation: 1) possible future crisis; 2) low-hazard highoutrage reputation crisis; and 3) high-hazard crisis. When communicating about possible future crisis, communicators need to inform others of the what-ifs and worst case scenarios. Handling low-hazard high-outrage reputation crisis involves coping with something that actually happened, but is view ed as a reputation crisis as opposed to a serious crisis effecting one’s health, safety, or environment. Dealing with this sort of crisis and preventing it are “principal preo ccupations” of risk communication (Sandman, 1998). Finally, high-hazard crisis involves a crisis with real casualties. This scenario involves wanting or needing to manage th e hazard over any ki nd of communication. Communication in these scenarios is likely to be difficult, especially if advance preparation was not sufficient to prepare for the crisis. “News reports of disasters ha ve inherent public appeal. They are often treated as the biggest stories, attract th e largest audiences, and are remembered the longest” (Sood, et al., 1987, p. 27). As such, it is extremely important to communicate with the news media during crisis because of their easy access to large publics and communication systems that remain working even in the cas e of partial breakdown (P eters, et al., 1997). However, crisis situations become a cr isis communication problem when there is extensive media atten tion that is not planned for or anticipated (Barton, 2000). Media coverage during a crisis situ ation tends to attract increased media attention for the individuals impacted by the crisis (Brown, 2003) Therefore, it is important for industry communicators to plan for and manage cris is/disaster through crisis communication planning in regard to the media.

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26 Media relations training on how to contact news reporters or how to establish a news media relations program may help agri cultural organizations and communicators of these organizations pitch stories to reporters and receive coverage of important events. Sood, Stockdale, and Rogers (1987) investigated five different natu ral disaster crisis situations in determining how the media ope rate in crisis. They found that the news media employ specific strategies for covering di saster, they tend to s eek particular kinds of information about the disaster from specifi c sources, they tend to prefer a centralized source of information like an “information c zar,” and they commonly assign each disaster a news value according to the number of deaths and injuries, the extent of damage, and geographic scope. Zoch and Duhe (1997) found the news media first target affected individuals or victims for information about a disaster, foll owed by eyewitnesses, authorities, and the family of affected individuals. Spokespersons for the affected organization were listed as the last source of contact. Additionally, the news media generally try to obtain information about a disaster from authoritativ e sources like officials from county, state, and federal government agencies and traditio nal emergency organizations (Sood, et al., 1987). Telg and Raulerson (1999) studied how firefighter public information officers perceived their effectiveness as they communicated with the media during the 1998 Florida wildfires. Approximately 70% of the public information officers had media relations or media intervie w training; however, they suggested the need for more “comprehensive” training before the wildfire s in the areas of ha nds-on media relations training (including crisis co mmunication), news release writing, public speaking and

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27 interviewing skills, and technology/co mputer training. Respondents recommended catering to local media before national medi a, being accessible or designate someone to be accessible to the media at all times, providing communications-related training opportunities to those indivi duals involved in a comm unications role, and not overlooking newspaper reporte rs over television reporters and videographers. Theoretical Framework The theoretical framework for the study consisted of two primary theories: excellence theory and relations hip theory. In addition, the th eoretical framework includes the theories of agenda-setting and frami ng theories to support the overall framework. These theories help to explain effective communication between an organization and its publics, the importance of relationships, and how the media determines and frames the public’s agenda. Excellence Theory Organizations are effective when they ha ve the expertise needed to respond to threats and opportunities in their en vironment (Grunig, Grunig & Dozier, 2002, p. 1). As described by the theory of ex cellence, the organization must empower communication management as a critical ma nagement function (Grunig, et al., 2002, p. 13). This expertise in times of relations hip and communication management stems from public relations. Public relations and comm unication management describe the overall planning, execution, and evaluation of an orga nization’s communicatio n with its publics (Grunig et al., 2002, p. 2). Although expertise in public relations may seem esse ntial for an organization, many organizations and their management do not recognize and empower the function (L. Grunig et al., 2002, p. 3). University of Flor ida /IFAS Extension is an example of this

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28 type of organization becaus e it does not have a public relations component. The organization does have a marke ting office, which performs some tasks that could be labeled under the “umbrella” of public relations ; however, there are no media relations or public relations function implemented. Alt hough the organization doe s not have a titled public relations position or department, th e Extension faculty are many times seen performing public relations functions in thei r counties because they work day-to-day communicating with their client ele to educate and maintain relationships (Hurst, 2005). Many faculty even perform public relations tasks such as writing news releases and articles and working with the media. According to Grunig et al., (2002) public relations/communication management “is broader than communication technique and br oader than speciali zed public relations programs such as media relations or pub licity. Public relations and communication management describe the overall planning, ex ecution, and evaluation of an organization’s communication with both internal and external publics—groups that affect the ability of an organization to meet its goals” (p. 2). Why and to what extent do public relations increase organizational effec tiveness? According to Grunig et al., (2002) public relations contribute to effectiveness when it helps the organization reach its goals with the expectations of its strate gic publics. This is also known as excellence theory. Scholars claim that relationship manageme nt, also categorized as effective, generates benefits for the organization and c ontributes to effectiv e and excellent public relations. This notion of e ffectiveness is two-way and symmetrical communication between an organization and its publics (Ledingham, 2003). This means that “good relationships” balance the interest of the organization with the interests of publics, while

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29 serving the interests of both sides of the re lationship, having the freedom to advocate the interest of publics to management, and fulf illing the managerial role of negotiating and mediating conflict (Grunig et al., 2002). Or ganizations practicing two-way symmetrical communication use bargaining, ne gotiating, and strategi es of conflict re solution to bring about changes in ideas, attitudes and behavi ors of both the organization and its publics (Grunig, 1989). In other words, two-way symm etrical communication or public relations is seen as a win-win situation for both the organization and its audience because public relations serves the interest s of both sides of relationshi ps, while still advocating the interest of the organization that employ them. Two-way co mmunication is also noted by researchers as the way to communicate when av oiding crisis or enduring crisis of shorter duration or of lesser magnit ude (Fearn-Banks, 2002). While most practitioners (Grunig, 1989) in public re lations value the two-way symmetrical communication model, there are three other models that describe the practice of public re lations: press agentr y/publicity, public information, and two-way asymmetrical. “The four mode ls of public relations are re presentations of the values, goals, and behaviors held or used by orga nizations when they practice perfect public relations” (p. 29). The press ag entry/publicity model revolves around the public relations practitioner making their organization or product known, and results in a one-way transfer of information from the organizat ion to the publics (Fearn-Banks, 2002). Public relations practitioners use the two-way asym metrical model when conducting surveys and polls. This type of scientific persuasion mode l allows for some fee dback, but it typically does not change as a result of communicat ions management (Fearn-Banks, 2002). The public information model is described as generally disseminating accurate information

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30 about the organization, but not to seek in formation from publics through research or informal methods. Prior to a decade ago, th is one-way communication model represented a general philosophy of handling disaster re lief efforts (Paul, 2001). In the case of a natural disaster, this one-way approach has caused past differentiation in the way hierarchical supervisors and em ployees have united in their tactics and recovery efforts (Paul, 2001). This approach has also been the result of limited free flow of both interpersonal and mass communication because of one group giving orders and the other group following them (Paul, 2001). Today agencies and officials are beginni ng to shift more towards the two-way communication model. Web sites and other me dia are being used to promote two-way communication, even though they are typically viewed as one-way sources because they relay a great amount of information and allo w an audience to inte ract (Paul, 2001). The advancement of technology and the Internet ha s also resulted in the expectation for “upto-the-minute” information in disaster situ ations (Paul, 2001). According to Rasmussen (1989), Extension provides educational info rmation to anyone through the land-grant universities across the nation, th e state agricultural experime nt stations, and the USDA. Extension also reports problems facing its c lientele to researchers and administrators. “This cooperative two-way communication provi des direction for research and education and speeds the application of research results” (Rasmussen, 1989, p. 4). The principle of requisite variety is also identified as a characteristic of effective organizations (L. Grunig et al., 2002). This m eans that there must be as much diversity inside the organization as in its envi ronment for the organization to build good relationships with all public s. Planning, executing, a nd evaluating communication

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31 programs build good relationships, which is al so a characteristic of excellent public relations. By building relationships with publics, organizations are more effective because they allow more freedom to reach their goals and objectives. Other characteristics of excellent public relations include characteristics described by middle-range theories integrated within th e excellence theory. Some of these include empowerment of the public re lations function, the combination of technician and managerial roles as a public relations pr ofessional, organizati on of the communication function, relationships to other functions use of consulting firms, and two-way symmetrical communication progra ms (L. Grunig et al., 2002). Hon (1997) interviewed 32 public relations pr actitioners about th e effectiveness of public relations. Respondents defined eff ectiveness as increasing understanding and facilitating two-way communication, buildi ng relationships, disse minating the right messages, communicating strategically, prom oting and fostering good media relations, changing attitudes and behavior and affecting legislation. A respondent in the interview, a vice president of membership, marketing, and communications for a trade association, made the following statement: “It (effective pub lic relations) is never one element. It’s doing a good job day in and day out… Our view now is that effective PR is doing a lot of little things right and that make s the big thing right” (p. 13). Relationship Theory In the field of public relati ons, a relationship exists on ce an organization recognizes that it can affect its key publics and the key publics recognize they can affect the organization. The term “relationship” can be defined as properties of exchanges, transactions, communications, and other in terconnected activi ties (Grunig & Huang, 2000). Building relationships and maintaining good, positive relationships is the essence

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32 of public relations (Grunig, L. et al., 2002). In addition, poor handling of a crisis can ruin the years of establishing credibility and trust of an organization with the relationships of its clientele (Kauffman, 2001). Much like public relations pr actitioners, Extension also depends significantly on relationships with publics – in this case, clients. Grunig and Huang (2000) defined the organization-public relationship as the “state which exists between an organization and its key publics in which the actions of either entity impact the economic, social, political, and/or cultura l well-being of the other entity” (p. 25). UF/IFAS Extension’s clientele depended on Extension for their well being during the hurricane season (UF/IFAS, 2005). In return, it was Extension’s role to reach out to its clientele, to provide resources, and to assist where needed. Cooperation, trust, credibility, mutual legitimacy, openness, mutual satisfaction, and mutual understanding are among the mo st important ways practitioners and researchers can measure the quality of strate gic relationships of organizations (Broom, Casey, & Ritchey, 1997). Because the Cooperative Extension Service’s mission statement is to “help people improve thei r lives through an edu cational process which uses scientific knowledge focused on i ssues and needs” (Rasmussen, 1989, p. 4), cooperation is the key to Extension’s re lations with people. Ledingham and Bruning (1998) reported that in an interpersonal contex t, relationships flouris h when there exists a balance in the relationship, both parties in the relationship feel that the other is investing of time and themselves, both parties are willing to make a commitment to the relationship, and both partie s can be trusted to act in a manner that supports the relationship.

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33 Ledingham and Bruning (1998) surveyed 384 residential telephone subscribers across a three-state region to determine relatio nship dimensions of those (1) who will stay with their historic telephone service provider, leave that pr ovider to sign up for service with a new provider, or are undecided with regards to their provider of local telephone service, and (2) could predict subscriber choice behavior. Results indicated that organizational involvement in and support of the community in which it operates can engender loyalty toward an organi zation among key publics when that involvement/support is known by those key pub lics. A two-step process emerges in which organizations must focus on the re lationships with their key publics, and communicate involvement of those activities/p rograms that build th e organization-public relationship to members of their key publics. Kraenzel (1991) studied Extension’s role in agricultural marketing and its relationship with clientele. He found that two leadership challenges Extension faces is building relationships – interpersonal relati onships, working relati onships, negotiations, and cooperation— and providing an example by demonstrating the required knowledge, skills, and attitudes within the organization. Recommendations included strategies such as concentrating on one subject matter area, such as interper sonal skill development as a method of building relationships, or devel oping negotiation skills th rough partnerships (Kraenzel, 1991). In addition to the challeng e of building relationships is the question, who should Extension serve or who is Extens ion’s “clientele?” During its first 75 years, Extension’s primary clientele was farm and rural people (Rasmussen, 1989); however, today Extension serves many suburban and ur ban residents. Regardless of where people live, one recommendation for determining who Ex tension serves, is to “identify clientele

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34 through a process that selects the most criti cal issues the expert knowledge available to the system has the capacity to address” (R asmussen, 1989, p. 15). As a result, this focuses on the issue rather than making a decision about the priority and im portance of clientele based on their reside nce or location. Agenda-Setting Theory Response coordination is one of several ro les that are emerging for the media in disaster communications as a result of disa ster relief official s communicating more openly with their clientele or publics (Paul, 2001). Because recovering from a natural disaster requires communication among medi a and officials, it is important to use effective communication prior to and throughout a disaster The media plays a variety of roles during a disaster, and of ten much differently than when reporting on cases or circumstances related to “unnatural disasters. ” While natural disast ers, like hurricanes, are set high on the media’s agenda, the type of coverage and the way the media reports news about such events is much different from typical news c overage (Scanlon, 1998). For example, media coverage during a natu ral disaster might include administering preparation information to the public, reporti ng weather conditions, th e recovery process based upon location, agencies and officials, while coverage of other news might approach the subject matter with reporting about inve stigations, litigation and public relations efforts (Scanlon, 1998). In particular, it is important for agenci es and organizations, like Extension, to consider the concept of agenda setting, wh at the media deems important or newsworthy, to understand what messages are being deliv ered to public and their clientele. The concept of agenda setting developed from th e idea that mass media have the ability to transfer the items on their news agenda to the public’s agenda (McCombs, 1994).

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35 Undoubtedly, McCombs and Shaw’s (1972) analys is on agenda setti ng established that there is a relationship between media coverage and the public’s ranki ng of salient issues, implying a significant influence of the medi a on its audiences. However, McCombs and Shaw also recognized that the media might simply be responding to their audience’s expectations and priorities (Baron & Davis, 2003). Nevertheless, there is a connection between the media coverage of an issue and public attention and inte rest in that issue (Baron & Davis, 2003). Framing Theory Agenda-setting theory is closely associated with the theory of framing, which is “the central organizing idea fo r news content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the use of selecti on, emphasis, exclusion and elaboration” (McCombs, 1999, par. 8). Therefore, framing a llows the media to pr esent or package the information in a way that influences the wa y the audience comes to understand the issue. Framing theory is found across the social behavioral, and cognitive sciences, both as a concept that relates to the way in whic h media reports on events, as well as with respect to individuals’ pro cessing of message information (McLeod, Kosicki, & McLeod, 1994). According to Entman, (1993) “to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a comm unication text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interp retation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described” (p. 52) Therefore,“framing theories suggest that the way an issue is presented – the frame – especially through the media, can affect public perceptions of the issue” (Bridges & Nelson 1999, p. 100). Framing is based on the perspective that ne ws is a function that helps explain and shape public perceptions of an event (Gitlin, 1980 ). Framing analysis is a useful research

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36 tool for uncovering frames that employ el ements such as keywords, sources of information, symbols, metaphors, messengers, vi suals, messages, stories, numbers, or context to create shortcuts that people use to understand the world (Entman, 1993). Though framing analysis has been criticized for its weak theoretical and empirical foundation, the strengths of framing lie in its “emphasis on providing context within which information presented and processed a llows framing to be applied across a broad spectrum of situations ” (Hallahan, 1999, p. 209). Summary This chapter provided background information on crisis and Extension; crisis, risk, and issues management; and crisis and risk communication. The chap ter also included a theoretical discussion of important communi cation theories upon which this study is based: excellence theory, rela tionship theory, agenda-setting theory, and framing theory. As a result of the 2004 hurricane season and Extension’s outreach to communicate with its clientele during these natural disaster s, it is vital to evaluate their communication efforts to prepare for future disasters. Previous research examined in this chapter indicate that when crisis and risk management are ut ilized in an organization, advanced preparing and planning for natural disasters devot es time, resources, and research, while simultaneously educating and informing all le vels of management about its importance and implementation in the organization (S apriel, 2003). Without crisis and risk communication plans intact, communicating in th ese scenarios is likely to be difficult, especially if advance preparation is not su fficient to prepare for the crisis (Sandman, 1998).

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37 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction Initially, the study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Florida to determine UF/IFAS Extension pers onnel’s involvement a nd impact – in terms of personal and professional development n eeds and impacts within their communities – as a result of the 2004 hurricane season. Ho wever, for the purpose of this study, the portion of communication data was analyzed to examine what communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season. The following objectives to guide this study were outlined in Chapter 1. Objective 1: Describe th e communication methods used by Florida Extension faculty during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 2: Describe Florida Extensi on faculty’s percepti on of communication efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 3: Determine th e perception of messages co mmunicated during the 2004 hurricane season and why Florida Extensi on faculty communicated those messages. Objective 4: Describe Florida Extensi on faculty’s percepti on of communication methods and messages during the 2004 hurri cane season as a function of their geographic location, program area, a nd years of Extension employment. This study was descriptive in nature in that it used objective measurements and statistical analysis to understand and exam ine the communication efforts of Extension faculty. It was designed to examine what co mmunication channels Ex tension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to

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38 better equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters. Qualitative responses regarding open-ended questions associated with communication messages were also grouped to identify the most important themes noted by Extension faculty. These questions inquired about Exte nsion’s efforts to communicate to its clientele and the general public during the hurricane season. Research Design A team of researchers in the Agri cultural Education and Communication Department at the University of Florida developed a 76-question survey instrument, which included quantitative and open-ended (q ualitative) questions. A survey approach allows for the obtainment of data from indi viduals relatively quick ly and inexpensively (Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 1996). Population The population for this study included all UF/IFAS county Extension faculty and District Extension Directors ( n =328) with a viable e-mail address as of October 2004. The original population consisted of 332 e-mail addresses; however, corrections, due to faulty addresses and retirements, re sulted in an actual population of 328. Instrumentation The faculty received an e-mail that ga ve them an overview of the study and provided the link to the 76-question surv ey (Appendix B). The questionnaire was converted to an online Web form using Z oomerang, a premium online survey software that numerous businesses and organizations use to create professional, customized questionnaires. Because this software was not available in the department of Agricultural Education and Communication, the researchers cooperated with Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) faculty at Purdue University to utilize this software. The

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39 survey was conducted via e-mail using an ad apted form of Dillman’s Tailored Design Method (2000). Because the purpose of this study was to examine the communication data, the following questions were from only a portion of the original 76-question survey. The first two questions of Extension co mmunication efforts in the questionnaire determined to what extent Extension faculty and their local Extens ion office used mass media channels to communicate during th e 2004 hurricane season. Respondents were given “ not at all ,” “ slight extent ,” “ moderate extent ,” and “ great extent ,” as their response options. Questions 22 and 23 asked Extension faculty to what extent did they believe the general public and their client ele group were aware of Ex tension’s efforts during the hurricanes. Respondents record ed their responses as “ not at all ,” “ slight extent ,” “ moderate extent ,” and “ great extent .” The next questions examined how Extens ion faculty and their offices used the following communication sources/c hannels to convey informa tion during the hurricanes: flyers/print materials, newspaper, ra dio public service announcements, live radio interviews, TV public service announcements, live TV interviews, Internet/Web, and other. Possible answers ranged from “ not at all ,” “ slight extent ,” “ moderate extent ,” and “ great extent .” Next, Extension faculty were asked to desc ribe what messages they were trying to convey to their clientele. Finally, question 34 assessed how Extensi on faculty perceived their office to have a plan to manage communi cation efforts in a crisis like the hurricanes or other emergency situations Respondents were given a “ yes ” and “ no ” option for “internal communication plans” and “external communication plans.”

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40 Seven questions were included in th e questionnaire that described the demographics of those Extension faculty w ho responded to the survey. Extension rank, county of service, years of experience, pr imary program area, age, and gender were included. Data Collection A letter (See Appendix B) from UF/IFAS Extension Dean Larry Arrington was e-mailed to all county Extension faculty a nd District Extension Directors on November 30, 2004, the last day of the official hurricane season, to inform faculty of the forthcoming questionnaire and to encourage their participation. The 76-question survey was adapted from previous research on pr ofessional development and agricultural scientists' communication effo rts (Ruth, Lundy, Telg, & Irani, 2005), as well as specific questions the researchers believ ed necessary to gain a clear understanding of Extension's role during the hurricane preparation and recove ry efforts. Experts from the departments of Family Youth and Community Sciences Agricultural and Bi ological Engineering, Food and Resource Economics, and Clinical and Health Psychology were also asked to include and edit questions relate d to disaster preparedness, e ducational materials, agents' personal needs (including mental health issues), and community support needs. Two waves of follow-up reminders were conducted with nonrespondents on December 9 and December 20, 2004. The researchers closed the questionnaire on January 5, 2005, preventing any new responses. All communicati on and distribution of the questionnaire was done online, via e-mail, based upon the most current list of faculty. A total of 208 viable responses were receive d for a 63.4% response rate.

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41 Variables The independent variables in this study were the Extension personnel’s demographics, including their geographic loca tion, rank or position, y ears of Extension, specialty or program area, age, and gender. Extension personnel’s perception and/or attitude towards their methods and message s of communication were also independent variables. The dependent variables were their use of personal communication methods and other communication sources/channels, and messages used to communicate with their clientele. Forms of personal communicati on included face to face, on-site visits, telephone, cell phone, text messaging, e-mail, and other. Sources/channels identified include flyers, print materials, newspaper, radio public service announcements, live radio interviews, TV public service announ cements, Internet/Web, and other. Data Analysis The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and the constant comparative method. The SPSS Student Version 12.0 for Wi ndows software was used for most of the analysis. The standard deviation, means, and cross tabulations were calculated for appropriate question with scaled -item responses and were pres ented in tabular form (Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 2002). The standard alpha for these questions were =.83. In addition to using quantitative data fo r this study, qualitative responses were collected to identify the respondents’ experi ences and perspectives (Ary et al., 2002). The responses were grouped into common themes and categories to determine each theme’s characteristics, and then compare categorie s and group them with similar categories. Themes were reported accordi ng to how often responses me ntioned similar topics or ideas in relation to communication me ssages during the 2004 hurricane season.

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42 Summary This study was conducted using descriptive st atistics and qualitat ive data analysis. The survey was distributed to Extension faculty in Florida ( N =328). The online 76question survey instrument examined the UF/IFAS Extension personnel’s involvement and impact – in terms of the personal a nd professional development needs and impacts within their communities – as a result of the 2004 hurricane season. However, for the purpose of this study, the comm unication portion of the ques tionnaire was analyzed to understand the perception of Extension faculty’ communications methods and messages used. Qualitative data analysis was used to record common themes associated with communication messages.

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43 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Results This study examined the communication ch annels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hu rricane season, in an effort to better equip Extension faculty to respond during fu ture hurricanes and natural disasters. Findings of the study and data analysis are pres ented as a result of the 76-question survey instrument. The population for this study was all UF/I FAS county Extension faculty with a viable e-mail address (District Extension di rectors were also included). The initial population of e-mail addresses was 332; how ever, corrections based upon invalid e-mail addresses and retirements resulted in an actual population of 328. A total of 208 responses were received for a 63.4% response rate. This study presents its findings according to the objectives determined in Chapter 1. (Appendix C) The objectives were: Objective 1: Describe the communication met hods used by Florida Extension faculty during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 2: Describe Florida Extensi on faculty’s percepti on of communication efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 3: Determine th e perception of messages co mmunicated during the 2004 hurricane season and why Florida Extensi on faculty communicated those messages. Objective 4: Describe Florida Extensi on faculty’s percepti on of communication methods and messages during the 2004 hurri cane season as a function of their geographic location, program area, a nd years of Extension employment.

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44 Demographics of Respondents In terms of gender, 38% ( n =70) of respondents were male, while 62% (n=114) were female. Table 4-1 identifies respondents ac cording to age. The majority of faculty (38.1%, n=51), ranged in age from 51-60, and 30.6% (n=41) were ages 41-50. Only 4.5% ( n =6) were over 60 years in age. Table 4-1. Number of Extension faculty by age. Age (yrs) n % 26-30 15 11.1 31-40 21 15.7 41-50 41 30.6 51-60 51 38.1 61-66 6 4.5 Total 134 100.0 Table 4-2 identifies Extension faculty according to their rank. An Extension Agent I is an entry-level position. Personnel at the Extension Agent II level must possess a master’s degree and at least five years of Extension experience. To qualify for Extension Agent III, personnel must have 10 years of Extension experience and be leaders in their field. People at the highest rank, Extension Agent IV, must demonstrate the highest level of programming and professi onal development. Courtesy Agents are the same as Extension Agents, except that C ourtesy Agents are c ounty-funded (UF/IFAS, 2000). Program Assistants are s upervised by and serve as an assistant to the Extension agent. They are often not required to have a college degree, and assi st with coordinating and organizing many of the vari ous activities and events that the county Extension office sponsors (Seevers et al., 1997). Most respondents, 47% ( n =25) were ranked as Extension Agent IV, followed by Extension Agent I (23%, n=44). Other responde nt’s Extension ranks were as follows:

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45 Extension Agent II (17%, n=33), Extension Ag ent III (17%, n=33), Courtesy Agent IV (7%, n=13), Courtesy Agent I (4%, n=8), Cour tesy Agent III (3%, n=5), other (2%, n=4), Courtesy Agent II (2%, n=3), and Extension Program Assistant (1%, n=1). The category of “other” respondents included Program C oordinator and Acting Director (FCS Agent II) (See Table 4-2). Table 4-2. Extension faculty according to rank. Rank n % Extension Agent I 44 23 Extension Agent II 33 17 Extension Agent III 33 17 Extension Agent IV 47 25 Courtesy Agent I 8 4 Courtesy Agent II 3 2 Courtesy Agent III 5 3 Courtesy Agent IV 13 7 Extension Program Assistant 1 1 Other 4 2 Total 191 100 For those with administrative responsibi lities, 39 (95%) were County Extension Directors, and two (5%) were Dist rict Directors (See Table 4-3). Table 4-3. Extension faculty with administrative res ponsibilities. Personnel n % County Extension Director 39 95 District Extension Director 2 5 Total 41 100 Respondents were asked to indicate thei r primary program area from a list generated by the District Extension Direct ors’ office. Out of 194 responses, the top program areas were family and consumer scie nces (n=46, 24%); agricultural and natural resources (n=45 23%); and 4-H/youth de velopment (n=37, 19%). Personnel who indicated “ other ” as their response listed citrus water quality, urban forestry, and

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46 livestock, pasture, and fo rage production, as some of their program areas. (See Table 4-4.). Table 4-4. Extension faculties’ primary program area. Program Area n % Family & Consumer Sciences 46 24 Ag/Natural Resources 45 23 4-H/Youth Development 37 19 Ornamental/Environmental Horticulture 21 11 Urban Horticulture 16 8 Commercial Horticulture 8 4 Community Development 2 1 Other 11 6 Total 194 100 Faculty reported their year s of experience with the C ooperative Extension Service in and outside of Florida. About one-third of respondents (30%, n=60) had worked for Extension five years or less, while 7.6% (n= 15) had worked more than 30 years. Table 45 identifies the number of responses according to years of service. Table 4-5. Faculties’ years of experience with the Cooperative Extension Service. Years of Service n % 0-5 years 60 30.0 6-10 years 35 17.7 11-15 years 17 8.5 16-20 years 19 9.6 21-25 years 29 15.0 26-30 years 23 11.6 More than 30 years 15 7.6 Total 198 100 Faculty were also categorized according to the UF/IFAS administrative districts. Of 182 respondents, 47 respondents (25.8%) were from the Northwest District, 43 from South Central (23.6%), 33 from Central ( 18.1%), 30 from Northeast (16.5%), and 29 from South (16%). Table 4-6 identifies the num ber of Extension facu lty according to the

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47 UF/IFAS administrative districts who res ponded to the survey (See Appendix D for a map of the Extension Districts). Table 4-6. Number of Extension faculty accord ing to UF/IFAS administrative districts who responded to study. UF/IFAS Districts n % Northwest 47 25.8 South Central 43 23.6 Central 33 18.1 Northeast 30 16.5 South 29 16.0 Total 182 100 According to UF/IFAS Human Resources as of November 2005, 54% of Extension employees are female, and 46% are male. Tw enty-three percent of Extension faculty are categorized as Extension Agent I, 27% as Extension Agent II, 17% as Extension Agent III, and 33% as Extension Agent IV (UF/IFAS Human Resources). Demographics for Courtesy Agents were not given. Based on the data collected from the survey and current demographics from UF/IFAS Human Resour ces, the overall sample of this study is representative of the Extension faculty. Objective 1: Describe the communication met hods used by Florida Extension faculty during the 2004 hurricane season. The majority of respondents reported they made slight (28%, n=56) to moderate (27%, n=54) use of mass media channels to communicate during the hurricanes. The greatest percentage of responde nts (31%, n=61) did not use mass media channels at all, while only 14% (n=27) said they used the ma ss media to a great extent (See Table 4-7).

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48 Table 4-7. Extension faculties’ use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season. Response n % Not at all 61 31 Slight extent 56 28 Moderate extent 54 27 Great extent 27 14 Total 198 100 When asked the same question about ma ss media usage by their local county Extension offices, the pattern of response was similar, although the gr eatest percentage of respondents (35%, n=68) indicated moderate us age of mass media chan nels. Thirty-three percent (n=65) said their count y Extension offices’ slightly used mass media, 21% (n=40) did not use mass media channels at all, and only 11% (n=22) of respondents said their county Extension offices used the mass media to a great extent (See Table 4-8.) Table 4-8. Extension offices’ use of mass me dia channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season. Response n % Not at all 40 21 Slight extent 65 33 Moderate extent 68 35 Great extent 22 11 Total 195 100 The most used method of communicati on during the 2004 hurricane season was flyers/print materials (29%, n=56), followe d by newspapers (19%, n=37). The majority (n=130) of respondents reported that they di d not use live television inte rviews, while 69% (n=128) did not use television public service announcements, and 66% (n=123) did not use live radio interv iews. (See Table 4-9.)

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49 Table 4-9. Extent that communication sources /channels were used by Extension faculty during the 2004 hurricane season. Sources/ channels Not at all Slight extent Moderate extent Great extent n % n % n % n % Flyers/print materials 20 10 56 29 63 32 56 29 Newspaper 34 18 64 34 56 29 37 19 Internet/Web 74 39 42 22 46 24 27 14 Radio PSA 96 51 43 23 36 19 12 6 Live radio interviews 123 66 39 21 19 10 6 3 TV PSA 128 69 35 19 17 9 5 3 Live TV interviews 130 71 40 22 13 7 1 1 Radio PSA 96 51 43 23 36 19 12 6 Other 37 56 7 11 12 18 10 15 When asked what personal communication methods were most used by Extension faculty, respondents said f ace-to-face communication wa s the most commonly used personal method of communication (37%, n=71) Telephones (37%, n=71) on-site visits (20%, n=38), and cell phones (19%, n=36) were also ranked as necessary sources of personal communication. The leas t used sources of persona l communication were text messaging (95%, n=169) and elect ronic e-mail (34%, n=62). Respondents often commented on the Internet and Web simultaneously, and several respondents reported this combination was th e best medium to have in order to communicate. One respondent said, “I have total control of when and what goes out.” While this form of communication might ha ve been preferred, respondents noted that electronic media was problematic due to el ectrical outages caused by the hurricane.

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50 Radio was mentioned by a few respondents as one of the best means to get a simple message out immediately (See Table 4-10). Table 4-10. Extent that Extension faculty used personal communication methods during the 2004 hurricane season. Method Not at all Slight extent M oderate extent Great extent n % n % n % n % Face to face 16 8 43 23 61 32 71 37 Telephone 22 12 40 21 57 30 71 37 On-site visits 51 27 56 30 43 23 38 20 Cell phone 64 34 47 25 40 21 36 19 Electronic mail 62 34 57 31 43 23 23 12 Text messaging 169 95 5 3 3 2 0 0 Other 31 67 1 2 9 20 5 11 Objective 2: Describe Florida Extension facu lty’s perception of communication efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. To achieve Objective Two, faculty was as ked to give their perceptions of the general public and their client ele’s awareness of Extension’ s efforts during the hurricane season. Table 4-11 identifies Extension facu lties’ perception of the general public’s awareness. Of the respondents, over half ( 53%, n=104) reported the general public was only slightly aware of Extension’s efforts, and 20% (n=39) of respondents indicated the general public was not at all aware. Only 4% (n=8) of respondents felt the general public was aware to a great extent. Table 4-11. Extension faculties’ percepti on of the general pub lic’s awareness of Extension’s efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Response n % Not at all 39 20 Slight extent 104 53 Moderate extent 46 23 Great extent 8 4 Total 197 100

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51 When asked the same question about th eir Extension clie ntele group, 40% of faculty (n=79) reported their c lientele was moderately inform ed of Extension’s efforts; however, 11% (n=22) reported th eir clientele not being aware at all (See Table 4-12). Table 4-12. Extension faculties’ perception of Extension clientele’ s awareness of their efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Response n % Not at all 22 11 Slight extent 67 34 Moderate extent 79 40 Great extent 29 15 Total 197 100 Faculty were also asked to report how effective communication sources/channels were used to communicate during the natura l disaster. Table 4-13 shows that most respondents (32%, n=49) reported using flyers /print materials, followed by newspapers (29%, n=45) and “other” (17%, n=26) forms of communication. Responses in the “other” category ranged from e-mail and telephone, to phone trees and cell phones, to site visits and word of mouth. Newsletters, handout s, workshops, and meetings were also mentioned. Only 3% felt live television interv iews (n=4) and Internet/Web (n=4) were the most effective sources/channels used. Table 4-13. Sources/channels of communica tion perceived as most effective by Extension personnel in conveying inform ation to the public during the 2004 hurricane season. Sources/channels n % Flyers, print 49 32 Newspaper 45 29 Radio PSA 15 10 Live radio interview 6 4 TV PSA 6 4 Live TV interviews 4 3 Internet/Web 4 3 Other 26 17 Total 155 100

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52 For qualitative responses associated with the question, “What sources/channels are perceived as most effective in conveying information to the public during the 2004 hurricane season?” respondent s reported the following: “We used too much printstress levels so high no one wants to read.” “Suggest we make color posters of some basic food safety concepts from the bulletins with drawi ngs or photos – and post all over as well as the web. People want simpleconcise information, NOT a bulletin!” Some respondents reported there was a lack of clarity as to the pr iority of who they should be responding to first—their families, the general public, and/or their clientele. The question of “was it more important to disseminate paper information or to lend assistance by supplies and labor” was also addressed. One respondent commented, “It’s not a bout conveying information during these storms although it helps. It’s about conveying compassion fo r people who have had their lives turned upside down. It’s face-to-face communication. That’s the most effective source of communication.” However, another respondent said, “WE are forced to use the media conduit in this county. They wouldn’t run our informati on without first checking it out through Department of Health, etc. They didn’t re cognize our authority in matters AND as they put it, ‘if we have downed power lines, we are not going to give “airtime” to refrigerators.’” When reporting on the most effective pe rsonal communication methods used to communicate, faculty perceived face-to-face communication to be the most effective (36%, n=60), followed by telephone communica tion (35%, n=59), on-site visits (9%, n=16), and cell phones (8%, n=14). Respondent s listed television and radio; two-way

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53 radio; newsletter and handouts; mail; and wo rkshops and meetings, under the “other” most effective personal communication methods category (See Table 4-14). Table 4-14. Extension agents’ perception of most effective personal communication methods used during the 2004 hurricane season. Response n % Face to face 60 36 Telephone 59 35 On-site visits 16 9 Cell phone 14 8 Electronic mail 8 5 Text messaging 1 1 Other 11 7 Finally, respondents were asked if their Exte nsion office had an internal or external plan to manage communication efforts in a crisis like the hurricanes or other emergency situations. For the purpose of this study, “int ernal” referred to th e crisis communication preparedness on behalf of Extension ag ents, Extension offices, and the UF/IFAS Extension Administration. “External” communi cation preparedness was how participants communicated with outside agencies at the county, state, and nati onal level. A two-bytwo contingency table is used to explore the relationship between nominal variables. Respondents reported that 83 % (n=160) of their offices had an internal crisis communication plan, while 17% (n=33) did not In addition, 57% of respondents reported that their offices had an external plan; however, 43% (n=80) did not. The importance of having a crisis communi cation plan can be described from one respondent, who reported, “We had not electric ity or phone services in our county for over two weeks, so communication was lim ited. Once electricity was restored, our computers were damaged and we were unable to access the Internet or e-mail for a month. Communication during this time was quite a challeng e. We relied on cell phones mostly” (See Table 4-15).

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54 Table 4-15. Internal and exte rnal communication preparedne ss efforts used by Extension offices in a crisis like the2004 hurri canes or other emergency situations. Communication Plan Yes No n % n % Internally 160 83 33 17 Externally 104 57 80 43 Objective 3: Determine the perception of me ssages communicated during the 2004 hurricane season and why Florida Extensi on faculty communicated those messages. To meet this objective, respondents were asked to describe what messages they were trying to get across both to the public and to their Extension clientele group during the hurricanes. To analyze these questions, qualitative responses were grouped into common themes and categories using the cons tant comparative method (Glaser, 1978). Communication Messages to Public “Extension is here to help” emerged as the overarching message that respondents tried to communicate to the public. “Extension is here to help” included such areas as Extension being the agency for the public to find out information about disaster preparedness, safety issues, contacts for di saster relief, and landscape and yard cleanup. Respondents noted that Extension “help is avai lable regardless of n eed” to the public, and that “Extension has the information and assistance to questions and problems.” Respondents wanted to impact people on more than just a rational level; they wanted people to know that they cared. As one respondent noted, “IFAS cares and will help you in any way possible.” As mentioned, these themes comprised the ove rall message of “Extension is here to help”: disaster preparedness, safety issues, contacts for disaster relief, and landscape and yard cleanup. Following are sp ecific examples of the messages respondents stated were communicated to the public during the hurricane season:

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55 Disaster preparedness: “Information on drinking water, food safety, chainsaw safety, dealing with flooding and mold.” “Find locations for animal care, store adequate batteries, flashlights, water, canned goods, and hygiene materials. Also, information on helping children cope emo tionally with disasters.” Safety issues: “Basic information on how to surv ive the aftermath of a hurricane. Practices for food safety; helping children deal with trauma; safety of drinking water.” Disaster relief : “What type of assistance was available, who was eligible to receive it, when and where to get help.” Landscape and yard clean-up : “What to do about storm damaged trees and how to reassure people so that they would not want to remove all their trees in anticipation for next year’s hurricane season.” Communication Message to Extension Clientele. Respondents also were asked what message they communicated to their primary Extension clientele groups. The overarching message was the same: “Extension is here to help.” As one respondent wrote, “We care about them and their families and are here to support them. We are still keeping the doors of Extension open in spite of no electricity or phone.” The themes for their clientele groups were different from the ones communicated to the public at large; however, new themes included livestock and crop management, and meetings, classes and programs. Fewer res ponses were focused on safety, and more on disaster preparation. The fo llowing are specific examples of the messages respondents stated were communicated to Extension’s clientele groups during the hurricane season: Disaster preparation : “How to prepare their farms for the hurricanes, how to handle resultant disease outbreaks, and how to handle a few specific damaged items.”

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56 Livestock and crop management: “Types of help available for livestock. What to do with storm impacted livestock. Water treatment methods and crop salvage methodologies.” Disaster relief: “Described in detail the disast er programs that were available through the FSA and how to access the program s by filling the proper forms. I described in detail how to access the FSA Web site and ho w to register online or print needed forms from the FSA Web site. I also informed my clientele of the IFAS information that was available online or in print for info rmation about disaster recovery.” Landscape and yard clean-up : “Looked at damaged trees to determine if they were salvageable and if so, how to correct problems. Also, if they lost trees, follow right plant, right place concept.” Meetings, classes, and programs: “Rescheduling of programs and decisions on how Extension responds to emergency situations is determined in large part by the county structure/administration and Extension admini stration above my level of involvement. I respond by doing as instructed.” Objective 4: Describe Florida Extension facu lty’s perception of communication methods and messages during the 2004 hurri cane season as a function of their geographic location, program area, a nd years of Extension employment. Objective Four was examined to what ex tent Extension faculty made use of mass media channels according to the number of years employed by Extension and to what extent personal communication methods were used to convey information to Extension clientele during the hurricanes. Table 4-16 displays the number of years employed by Extension according to mass media usage. Faculty employed 11-15 years reported the greatest usage of mass media channels (M=2.77, n=13), whil e faculty employed 0-5 years reported the least amount of usage (M=2.01, n=70). Overall, respondents reported not using mass media channels at all (31% n=61), as reported in Table 4-7.

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57 Table 4-16. Extension agents’ use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season according to year s of Extension employment. Years of employment M n SD 0-5 years 2.01 70 .985 6-10 years 2.31 36 1.064 11-15 years 2.77 13 .927 16-20 years 2.18 22 1.097 21-25 years 2.44 25 1.193 26-30 years 2.40 15 .910 More than 30 years 2.29 7 .951 All respondents 2.24 188 1.040 Scale: 1 through 4, where 1= “not at all” 2= “slight extent” 3= “moderate extent” and 4= “great extent” To analyze the personal communication responses, program area, geographic location, and years of experi ence were compared to the source/channel of personal communication used. Appendices E-G identifie s the mean of each form of personal communication. Out of all Extension program areas surv eyed, agriculture and natural resource faculty used face-to-face co mmunication (M=3.29, n=45) a nd on-site visits (M=3.02, n= 44) more than any other program area. Rankings were on a Like rt-type scale with 1= “not at all” to 4= “great extent.” Commercial horticulture faculty (M=3.14, n=7) and urban horticulture faculty (M=3.13, n=15) also used face-to-face communication (M=2.86, n=7) and on-site visits (M=2.27, n=15) more than any other form of personal communication. On the other hand, family a nd consumer science faculty listed the telephone (M=2.93, n=43) as their most used choice of personal communication, and 4H/youth development faculty used electronic mail (M=2.36, n=38) more than any other type of agents. Overall, text messagi ng (M=1.05, n=171), e-mail (M=2.17, n=179), and cell phones (M=2.25, n=181) were the least s ources of personal communication used by all agents (Appendix E).

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58 When comparing the use of persona l communication sources/channels by geographic location, the South Central Di strict used face-to-face communication (M=3.31, n=39), on-site visits (M=2. 51, n=39), cell phones (M=2.58, n=38), and electronic mail (M=2.35, n=37) more than any of the other distri cts. Overall, face-to-face communication (M=2.98, n=174) and telephones (M=2.92, n=173) were the most used sources of communication of all the districts (Appendix F). Face-to-face communication was used the most by respondents with 0-5 years of Extension experience (M=3.12, n=68), followed by those with 16-20 years of experience (M=3.33, n=21). However, it was used the leas t by faculty with more than 30 years of experience (M=2.33, n=6). Respondents with 0-5 years of experience in Extension reported using cell phones (M=2.39, n= 67), text messaging (M=2.39, n=67), and electronic mail (M=2.31, n=65) more than faculty with five or more years of experience. Faculty with more than 30 years of Extens ion used the telephone (M=3.33, n=6) more than any other age group, followed by faculty with 0-5 years (M=3.12, n=69), and faculty with 26-30 years (M=3.00, n=15) (Appendix G). Summary The 208 respondents were described according to demographics such as age, rank, years of Extension employment, program ar ea, and geographic location. Analysis was performed to report Extension agents’ and th eir offices’ efforts in communicating to the general public and Extension clientele dur ing the 2004 hurricane season. Follow-up cross tabulations were used to analyze, progr am area, geographic location, and years of Extension. These demographics were then us ed to report on how each was a determinant of the communication methods and message s used during the 2004 hurricane season.

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59 Significant results from this data identified agriculture and natural resource faculty as the program area which used face-to-face comm unication the most, and faculty with 0-5 years of Extension employment used f ace-to-face, cell phones, text messaging, and electronic mail more than faculty with five or more years of experience. Thirty-one percent of re spondents indicated that th ey did not use mass media channels at all during the hu rricanes, yet it was also recognized that the media is an important resource during a crisis. When comp aring years of Extension employment to the amount of mass media usage, faculty w ith 11-15 years of Extension used media channels the most. Extension facu lty also reported the need to inform its clientele and the general public of Extension’s efforts and imp acts in light of the natural disaster. In addition, respondents also felt the need “to get word out” of what needed to be done in these types of crisis situati ons. Overall, personal communica tion, such as word of mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of personal communication used.

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60 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATI ONS, AND CONCLUSIONS Summary Chapter 5 summarizes the intent, pro cedures, findings, conclusions, and implications of this study, in addition to providing recommendations for practice and future research. This study examined what communication channels Florida Extension faculty utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to better equip Florid a Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters. The survey instrument was developed by a t eam of researchers in the department of Agricultural Education and Comm unication at the University of Florida to gain a clear understanding of Extension’s ro le during the hurricane prepara tion and recovery efforts. An online survey, composed of 76 ques tions, both quantitative and open-ended (qualitative), was distributed to Florida Extension faculty ( n =328). The instrument was made available to Extension faculty via an e-mail, which gave them an overview of the study and provided the link to the survey. The questionnaire was converted to an online Web form using Zoomerang, a premium online survey software, that numerous businesses and organizations use to create pr ofessional, customized questionnaires. Two waves of follow-up were c onducted with nonrespondents. The following objectives guided this study: Objective 1: Describe th e communication methods used by Florida Extension faculty during the 2004 hurricane season.

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61 Objective 2: Describe Florida Extensi on faculty’s percepti on of communication efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Objective 3: Determine th e perception of messages co mmunicated during the 2004 hurricane season and why Florida Extensi on faculty communicated those messages. Objective 4: Describe Florida Extensi on faculty’s percepti on of communication methods and messages during the 2004 hurri cane season as a function of their geographic location, program area, a nd years of Extension employment. Discussion A total of 208 faculty res ponded to the study, for an ove rall response rate of 63.4%. Seventy respondents (38%) were male, and 114 (62%) were female. The majority of faculty (38.1%, n=51) ranged in age from 51-60, and 30.6% (n=41) were ages 41-50. While the largest percentage (25%, n=47) of respondents were an Extension Agent IV there was also a significant number of res pondents who were an Extension Agent I (23%, n=44). Of 182 respondents, almost half were from the Northwest and South Central Districts (49.4%). Based on the data associated with Ob jective 1 and the communication methods used by Florida Extension personnel during th e 2004 hurricane season, the majority of respondents made slight to moderate use of mass media channels to communicate; however, the greatest percentage of responde nts (31%) did not use mass media channels at all to communicate. Instead, faculty used personal communication methods, such as word of mouth or site visits, as the mo st common form of communication. When asked the same question about mass media usage by their local county Extension offices, the pattern of response was simila r. Although the greatest percen tage of respondents (35%, n=68) indicated moderate usage of mass medi a channels, only 11% indicated that their local county Extension office used mass medi a channels to communicate to a great extent. These findings indicate that personal communication, such as word of mouth and

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62 on site visits, were the most effective co mmunication method in the time of a natural disaster or crisis because without face-t o-face communication, people would not have been kept informed. D’Ambra, Rice, and O’Connor (1998) found face-to-face and telephone to be the top two media types used an d reported that face-to-face is the highest because people can receive both verbal a nd nonverbal cues by using this communication It can be inferred that, due to the limited access of power and t echnology, faculty had no other choice but to use these forms of comm unication. However, it can also be concluded that Extension faculty chose forms of pe rsonal communication as the most effective means of insuring the well be ing of their clientele. The most often used sources/channels to convey information was flyers/print materials (29%, n=56), followed by newspa pers (19%, n=37). The majority of respondents reported that they did not commonl y use live television in terviews, television public service announcements, or live radi o interviews. Respondents also reported telephone, limited e-mail, cell phones, site visi ts, and word of mouth as sources/channels used. Again, these findings indi cate that in times of a na tural disaster, people need information that is readily and easily acces sible and is not constrained to limited technological or power restraints. Objective 2 described Florida Extension personnel’s percepti on of communication efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Faculty were asked to provi de their perception of the general public and thei r clientele’s awaren ess of Extension’s efforts during the hurricane season. Respondents felt that the ge neral public was only aware to a slight extent (53%) of Extension’s efforts during the hurricanes, while 20% of the general public was not aware at all. Faculty felt their clientele were moderately (40%) informed

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63 of their efforts; however, 11% reported their cl ientele not being aware at all. This could be a result of Extension not traditionally deliv ering information to an audience other than its traditional clientele, or that the general public might not have viewed Extension as a source of information during a crisis, or have known about their efforts. Breeze and Poucher (1999) conducted a study on the marketing of UF/IFAS, which included Extension. They found that the majority of re spondents were not familiar with any of the UF/IFAS and major sub units, and the respondent s were least familiar with the county UF Extension office with 85% responding “not familiar.” Alberts, Wirth, Gilmore, Jones, and McWater (2004) reported that more than 65% of the general public did not know the location of their county Extension office. In addition, they were not aware of Extensi on services and the in formation it provides, nor that a portion of their tax dollars sustain the county Extension office. While flyers, print materials, and newspape rs were listed as the most effective sources/channels of communicatio n, qualitative responses indicated that some felt that there was too much print information. As one respondent reported, “People want simpleconcise information, NOT a bulletin! We used too much printstress levels so high not everyone wants to read.” These findings i ndicate that even though print/written communication might be the most convenient to disseminate under crisis circumstances, it will not be effective if it fails to reac h one’s intended audience’ s needs. Therefore, Extension needs to communicate with its clientele to understand what methods of communication worked best and plan accordingl y for future crisis or natural disaster circumstances.

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64 Qualitative responses also indicated that some faculty felt there was a lack of clarity as to priority of who and what they should be responding to first—their families, the general public, and/or their clientele— de livering information an d/or assisting with preparation/recovery efforts. One respondent reported, “ Was it more important to disseminate paper information or to lend assistance by supplies and labor?” Responses like these suggest that Extension faculty were un clear of their role at times and need to be trained on how to encounter future decisions during a crisis. Faculty reported that 83% of their offices had an internal crisis communication plan, while 57% said their Exte nsion office had an external plan. For the purpose of this study, “internal” referred to the crisis communication preparedness on behalf of Extension agents, Extension offices, a nd the UF/IFAS Extension administration. “External” communication preparedness wa s how participants communicated with outside agencies at the county, state, and national levels. As a result of the lack of a unified crisis communication plan, consistent internal and external outreach efforts on behalf of Extension were, in many instances not known and not obtained. At times, this caused facultyto be unclear of their roles and responsibilities and how to effectively communicate to their clientele and th e public during a tim e of crisis. Objective 3 was to determine the percep tion of messages communicated during the 2004 hurricane season and why Florida Ex tension personnel communicated those messages. Qualitative responses were analyz ed, relating to Extension’s messages to the general public and its clientele. Overall communication themes associated with both groups indicated, “Extension is here to help” as the predominant message. In addition, the following themes were most commonly repor ted when communicating with the general

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65 public: disaster preparedness, sa fety issues, contacts for disa ster relief, and landscape and yard cleanup. For their clientele groups, the predominant themes were the same as those of the general public, with the exception of livestock and crop management. There was also a slight more emphasis on the specifics a nd detail of information given in responses related to “Extension is here to help” and “d isaster relief.” Clientele responses were less focused on safety, and more on disaster prep aration. It is import ant to understand that while there was not a significant difference in the overall themes communicated to both groups, messages geared towards Extension clientele were often more detailed and agricultural specific. Therefore, in future cr isis situations, faculty may need to develop messages suitable and in the best interest of both audiences’ needs. According to Boehlje and King, (1998) Extension has done very little to find out about its customers and its markets. However, as described by the excel lence theory, the organization must practice symmetrical communication and understand the needs of its publics to avoid crisis (Grunig, Grunig, & Dozier, 2002). Objective 4 described agen ts’ perception of communica tion methods and messages during the 2004 hurricane season as a func tion of their program area, geographic location, and years of Extension. Responses indi cate that those program areas more likely to interact with their clientele out in the fi eld, such as agriculture and natural resources and urban and commercial horticulture, used face-to-face communication and on-site visits. In contrast, program areas such as family and consumer sciences and 4-H/youth development, were more likely to use the telephone as their primary communication source because they tend to reach a broader ta rget audience, includi ng the general public. The South Central District was struck by thr ee of the four hurrican es; therefore, it is

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66 reasonable to understand their use of faceto-face communication, on-site visits, cell phones, and electronic mail was more than any of the other district s. Faculty with 0-5 years of Extension employment used face-to-face communication and on-site visits more than any other agents, while those with more than 30 years used them the least. This might be because faculty with 0-5 years of Extension experience are more likely to be younger in age, and therefore, more physically able to handle tasks in the field. Also, faculty with more than 30 years of Exte nsion could primarily perform administration roles, as opposed to working with clientel e. When examining agents’ use of the mass media according to years of Extension, thos e respondents with 21-25 years of experience reported the greatest usage of mass media ch annels, while faculty with 0-5 years of Extension reported the least amount of usage. This is important to note because even though faculty with 0-5 years experience used the most personal communication methods, they used the least mass media to co mmunicate. This could be a result of lack of knowledge and/or experience of working with the media. Recommendations Recommendations for future research a nd practice are provided as a result of examining the communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season. Recommendations for Future Research Although this study specifically focused on Florida’s 2004 hurricane season and Extension’s communication response, research in other states faced by disasters is essential to further the unde rstanding and awareness of Ex tension’s response in these types of situations. By comparing Extension’ s efforts in states other than Florida, researchers could further determine what roles and responsibili ties faculty serves

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67 according to location. It would also be importa nt to survey both Extension clientele and the general public regarding their percep tion of Extension’s communication efforts during times of crisis. By doing so, the appl ication of two-way co mmunication could be applied. Therefore, in terms of excellence theory, Extension would understand the needs and perceptions of their target audience and be able to ap ply those findings to future preparation and response to natural disasters. Other recommendations includes conducti ng a follow-up study of how Extension applied what it learned from the 2004 hurrica ne season in communi cating and responding to the needs of its clientel e and the general public in fu ture hurricane seasons. Also, additional research, with an increase in quali tative questioning, mi ght allow researchers to better understand respondents’ input and f eelings on what they faced during times of a natural disaster. Recommendations for Practice Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that UF/IFAS Extension administration implement a unified crisis co mmunication plan in or der for all Extension faculty to achieve consistent internal and external out reach efforts. Each county Extension office should also personalize the crisis plan to thei r local personnel and clienteles’ needs, while working with local em ergency agencies to plan for such crisis. In addition, it is recommended that Extension designate a public rela tions component to the organization to plan, prepare, and res pond to the needs of Extension administration, faculty, and other supporting agen cies. The role of the public relations director would be to serve as the spokesperson and liaison betw een the media and the organization and with all members of the organization. Accordi ng to Grunig, et al., (2002), the empowerment of a public relations function is crucial to an organization. Additionally, as relationship

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68 theory described, poor handling of a crisis can ruin the years of establishing credibility and trust of an organization with the relationshi ps of its clientele. Through the implementation of these efforts, Extension f aculty will be better prepared and informed about their roles during a natu ral disaster and how to reac t in these types of natural disaster and/or crisis situations. Because one-third of respondents indicat ed that they did not use mass media channels at all to communicate during th e hurricanes, recommendations include establishing a media relations plan to enhance informative and positive news coverage of Extension and agriculture during a crisis situation. In addition, because faculty with the least amount of Extension expe rience were less likely to use the media to communicate, efforts should be particularly focused to trai n and educate them to communicate in future crisis by using the media. By establishing sound media re lations with the media and learning how the news media typically operates in a natural disaster, faculty can increase their access to the media, enhance the media’s understanding of the issues, and influence the delivery and accuracy of information (Rut h, et al., 2005). This type of assessment and preparation will enhance Extension profe ssionals’ overall ability to communicate effectively during a crisis and understand the organization and their individual roles in assisting clientele, members of their comm unity, and outside orga nizations. As framing theory described, the media’s packaging of information influences the way one’s audience comes to understand an issue; theref ore, Extension can increase the amount and accuracy of news coverage by building and ma intaining relationships with the media. Because electronic media was problematic due to electrical outages caused by the hurricanes, Extension faculty need to depe nd on other channels, such as flyers/print

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69 materials, word of mouth, newspapers and radio to communicate their messages. These procedures should be outlined in the crisis communication pl an. While personal contact, such as word of mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of communication used during the hurricanes, it is also vital that Extension attempt to reach all outlets of news coverage. It can also be recommended that Extens ion develop training for Extension faculty on how to respond during hurricanes and other di sasters, to be prepared and informed about their roles and responsibilities. Deve loping a “dark Web site,” that would be activated as Extension’s home page in the ev ent of a hurricane or ot her emergency is also suggested. The “dark site” would provide info rmation about emergency preparedness and recovery, links to various emergency relief agencies, Extension publications, and overall information to aid Florida’s residents. In addition, before hurricane season each year, Extension should update and prepare concise and appropriate reading level disaster materials and handouts to be di stributed to all clientele. Conclusion Overall, results from this study indicate that Florida’s Extension faculty were, indeed, front-line responders following the four hurricanes of the 2004 season: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Extension professi onals were on the front line to provide aid to storm victims, sometimes when the prof essionals themselves were also severely impacted by the storm (UF/IFAS, 2005). Many times they were the first persons to assist farmers and ranchers in rural and hard-to-r each areas, while also providing food, water, and ice, organizing chain saw crews, and secu ring and providing electr ical generators to their clientele and the gene ral public (UF/IFAS, 2005). In addition, Extension was faced

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70 with the challenge of communicating and responding in a situation that no state had experienced in over 120 years Due to the massive destruction caused by the hurricanes of 2004 and the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, Katrina and Rita it is vital that Extension assess its personal and professional needs and impacts with in their communities in times of a crisis or natural disaster. In addition, communication preparedness, such as implementing crisis communication plans, and establishing how to communicate during these situations should be addressed. When organized and em ployed with strategic communication plans intact, Extension will continue to be the arm that provides education, research, and instruction (Seevers et al., 1997).

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71 APPENDIX A PATHS OF 2004 FLORIDA HURRICANES Source: University of Florida IFAS Ex tension Response to the 2004 Storm Season

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72 APPENDIX B SURVEY RESULTS FRONT-LINE DISASTER RESPONDERS: THE NEEDS OF FLORIDA’S COUNTY EXTENSION PROFESSIONALS

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76 APPENDIX C QUESTIONNAIRE REQUEST LETTER TO IFAS EXTENSION FACULTY November 30, 2004 From: Dr. Larry Arrington, UF/IFAS Extension Dean 1038 McCarty Bldg. RE: Extension Hurricane Response Survey Dear UF/IFAS Extension Faculty, Within the next few days you will be rece iving a web-based questionnaire entitled: Front-Line Disaster Responders: The N eeds of Florida’s County Extension Professionals It is focused on UF/IFAS Extension’s Response with the 2004 hurricane season. We realize that many of you have been dealing w ith the reality of the direct hits that we had this past fall. We know that Extensi on has gone above and be yond the call of duty to help clientele in many different ways. We al so know that this has been a real personal and professional challenge in de aling with all the needs and i ssues that have arisen from these devastating storms that have affected our state. It is because of these reasons, that I ask you to complete this very important questionnaire in a timely fashion upon receiving it. This questionnaire is designed to help us capture what we did as an Extension organization to help local clientele and communities. Moreover, it will provide critical data relate d to personal and professional needs that you have. This information will help us deve lop much needed organizational communication, training, curriculum and resources in preparation for futu re hurricanes and other types of disasters. If you have any questions about this ques tionnaire, you can contact: Nick Place, Ricky Telg, Tracy Irani or Mark Ki stler in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Thank you in advan ce for your candid participation. Sincerely, Larry R. Arrington Dean, UF/IFAS Extension

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77 APPENDIX D UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/IFAS EXTEN SION ADMINISTRATION DISTRICTS 1=Northwest 2=Northeast 3=Central 4=South Central 5=South Source: University of Florida IFAS Extensi on Office of Extension District Directors. Available at http://ded.ifas.ufl.edu/ New_Districts_files/ New_Districts.htm

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APPENDIX E EXTENSION FACULTIES’ USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO PROGRAM AREA.

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79 Table E-1. Extension faculties’ use of personal communication sources/channels according to program area Program Area M, N, SD Face to face On-site visits Telephone Cell phone Text messaging Electronic mail (e-mail) Other Agriculture/ Natural Resources Mean 3.29 3.02 2.93 2.80 1.05 1.98 2.00 N 45 44 44 45 42 43 12 SD .869 .976 .950 1.014 .309 .913 1.279 Community Development Mean 3.00 2.00 3.00 3.00 1.00 3.00 N 1 1 1 1 1 1 SD . . . Family & Consumer Mean 2.68 1.74 2.93 1.81 1.02 2.02 1.33 N 44 42 43 42 41 41 6 SD 1.006 .939 1.121 1.042 .156 .961 .816 4-H/Youth Development Mean 2.76 2.03 2.77 2.21 1.09 2.36 1.00 N 34 34 35 34 32 33 8 SD 1.017 .969 1.114 1.067 .390 1.168 .000 Sea Grant/ Aquaculture Mean 2.43 2.00 2.43 2.14 1.00 2.00 3.00 N 7 7 7 7 6 7 1 SD .976 .816 .787 1.069 .000 1.155 Ornamental/ Environmental Horticulture Mean 3.00 2.62 3.05 2.25 1.00 2.33 1.60 N 21 21 21 20 19 21 5 SD .949 1.117 1.071 1.070 .000 1.065 1.342 Urban Horticulture (including Master Gardener) Mean 3.13 2.27 3.73 1.73 1.13 2.80 2.00 N 15 15 15 15 15 15 4 SD .743 1.033 .458 1.100 .352 1.014 1.155 Commercial Horticulture (vegetables, citrus, forestry) Mean 3.14 2.86 2.86 2.17 1.00 1.71 2.50 N 7 7 7 6 5 7 4 SD 1.069 1.069 1.069 1.169 .000 .756 1.291 Other Mean 3.55 2.55 2.55 2.55 1.00 2.00 2.25 N 11 11 11 11 10 11 4 SD .688 1.128 1.036 1.440 .000 1.095 1.500 All respondents Mean 2.98 2.35 2.93 2.25 1.05 2.17 1.77 N 185 182 184 181 171 179 44 SD .961 1.091 1.033 1.125 .262 1.030 1.138

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80 APPENDIX F EXTENSION FACULTIES’ USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO GEOGRAPHIC DISTRICT Table F-1. Extension faculties’ use of personal communications sources/channels according to geographic district. District M, N, SD Face to face On-site visits Telephone Cell phone Text messaging Electronic mail (e-mail) Other Northwest Mean 2.86 2. 37 2.66 2.19 1.03 1.95 2.45 N 42 41 41 42 40 41 11 SD 1.002 1.019 1.153 1.065 .158 1.024 1.293 Northeast Mean 2.96 2.42 3.12 2.27 1.00 2.08 1.20 N 26 26 25 26 25 24 10 SD .916 1.065 .881 1.002 .000 .929 .632 Central Mean 2.86 2.26 3.14 2.15 1.15 2.14 1.78 N 36 35 36 34 33 36 9 SD .990 1.146 .961 1.306 .508 1.018 1.202 South Central Mean 3.31 2.51 2.90 2.58 1.03 2.35 2.00 N 39 39 40 38 34 37 4 SD .863 1.097 1.105 1.154 .171 1.033 1.155 South Mean 2.90 2.23 2.87 1.97 1.03 2.28 1.45 N 31 31 31 31 30 32 11 SD .978 1.146 .957 1.080 .183 1.143 1.036 All respondents Mean 2.98 2.36 2.92 2.24 1.05 2.16 1.76 N 174 172 173 171 162 170 45 SD .959 1.086 1.037 1.135 .268 1.034 1.131

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81 APPENDIX G EXTENSION FACULTIES USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO YEARS OF EXTENSION Table G-1. Extension faculties use of personal communication sources/channels according to years of extension. Years of Extension M, N, SD Face to face Onsite visits Telephone Cell phone Text messaging Electronic mail (e-mail) Other 0-5 years Mean 3.12 2.51 3.12 2.39 1.11 2.31 1.43 N 68 68 68 67 63 65 14 SD .939 1.126 1.000 1.114 .406 1.131 .852 6-10 years Mean 2.56 2.03 2.71 2.23 1.03 2.00 2.00 N 34 33 34 31 30 34 13 SD 1.078 .951 1.194 1.257 .183 1.073 1.354 11-15 years Mean 3.00 2.62 2.67 2.00 1.00 2.31 1.75 N 13 13 12 13 13 13 4 SD .913 1.193 1.155 1.225 .000 1.109 1.500 16-20 years Mean 3.33 2.45 2.95 2.29 1.00 2.19 1.00 N 21 20 21 21 20 21 3 SD .730 1.234 .921 1.146 .000 1.030 .000 21-25 years Mean 2.92 2.12 2.71 2.12 1.00 1.92 2.20 N 25 25 24 25 24 24 5 SD .997 .971 1.083 1.130 .000 .881 1.095 26-30 years Mean 3.13 2.29 3.00 2.27 1.00 2.27 2.00 N 15 14 15 15 13 15 5 SD .915 1.069 .845 1.033 .000 .799 1.414 More than 30 years Mean 2.33 2.00 3.33 2.00 1.00 2.00 2.00 N 6 6 6 6 6 6 1 SD .816 .894 .816 .894 .000 .632 All respondents Mean 2.98 2.34 2.93 2.26 1.05 2.17 1.76 N 182 179 180 178 169 178 45 SD .969 1.086 1.039 1.130 .263 1.033 1.131

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82 LIST OF REFERENCES Adams, W.C. (1992-93). The role of me dia relations in risk communication. Public Relations Quarterly 37( 4 ) 28-32. Alberts, C. A., Wirth, F. F., Gilmore, K. K ., Jones, S. J., & McWater, C. D. (2004). A case study on marketing the Florid a cooperative Extension service. Journal of Extension, 42 (4). Retrieved August 6, 2005, from http://www.joe .org/joe/2004august/a5.shtml Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., & Razavieh, A. (2002). Introduction to research in education. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. Baron, S., & Davis, D. K. (2003). Theo ries of media, culture and society. Mass communication theory: Founda tions, ferment and future (3rd ed.). (pp.311-327). Toronto, Canada: Wadsworth. Barton, L. (2000). Crisis in organizations II (2nd ed.). Cincinnati, OH: College Divisions Southwestern. Benoit, W. L. (1997). Image repair discourse and crisis communication. Public Relations Review, 23 (2), 177-186. Boehlje, M. D. & King, D. A. (1998). Extensi on on the brink – meeti ng the private sector challenge in the information marketplace. Journal of Applied Communications, 82 (3), 21-35. Bonk, K. (2003, June) Managing media in a crisis. [Elect ronic version]. Policy & Practice of Public Human Services, 61 (2), 14-17. Bosch, K. (2004). Cooperative Extension respond ing to family needs in time of drought and water shortage. Journal of Extension 42 (4). Retrieved August 5, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe/2004august/a3.shtml Breeze, M. H., & Poucher, D. W. (1999, January). Measuring public awareness of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Paper presented at the meeting of the Southe rn Association of Agricultural Scientists, Agricultural Communications Sections, Lexington, KY.

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83 Bridges, J. A., & Nelson, R. A. (1999). Issues management: A relational approach. In J. A. Ledingham & S. D. Brunig (Eds.), Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations Mahwah: New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. Broom, G., Casey, S., & Ritchey, J. ( 1997). Toward a concept and theory of organization-public relationships. Journal of Public Relations Research 9 83-98. Brown, T. S. (2003). Powerful crisis communications lessons PR lessons learned from hurricane Isabel. Public Relations Quarterly 48 (4), 31-34. Cartwright, S. Case, P., Gallagher, T., & Hathaway, R. (2002). Extension’s role in responding to community crisis: le ssons from Klamath Falls, Oregon. Journal of Extensio, 40 (6). Retrieved August 5, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/ joe/2002december/a2.shtml Chenoweth, K. (1991). Responding to crisis: Drought directives. Journal of Extension, 29 (4). Retrieved September 6, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/ joe/1991winter/iwl.html Coombs, T. (1998). An analytic framework for crisis situations: Better responses from a better understanding of the situation. Journal of Public Relations Research 10 (3), 177-191. Coombs, T. (1999). Information and compassi on in crisis responses: A test of their effects. Journal of Public Relations Research 11 (2), 125-142. Covello, V. T. (2003). Best practices in publ ic health risks and crisis communication. Journal of Health Communications 8 5-8. D’Ambra, J., Rice, R. E., & O’Connor M. (1998). Computer-mediated communication and media preference: An investigation of the dimensionality of perceived task equivocality and media richness. Behaviour & Information Technology, 17 (3), 164-174. Dillman, D. (2000). Mail and Internet surveys: The tailored design (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communications 43 51-58. Fearn-Banks, K. (2002). Crisis communications: A casebook approach (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Fink, S. (1986). Crisis management: Planning for the inevitable New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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84 Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. (2005, February). Hurricane season 2004: Hurricane reporting summaries Retrieved March 7, 2005, from http://www.flains.org/public /021005HurricaneBriefingUpdate.pdf Frick, M. J., Birkenholz, R.J., & Machtmes K. (1995). Rural and urban adult knowledge and perceptions of agriculture. Journal of Agricultural Education 36 (2), 44-53. Gaunt, P., & Ollenburger, J. (1995) Issues mana gement revisited: A tool that deserves another look. Public Relations Review 21( 3), 199-210. Gitlin, T. (1980). The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left Berkeley, CA, Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.Glaser, B.G. (1978). Theoretical sensitivity: advances in the methodology of grounded theory. Mill Valey, Calif.: Sociology Press. Greene, S. S.(1995). Cooperative Ex tension: The service challenge: Journal of Extension 33 (6). Retrieved July 20, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1995december/comm1.html Grunig, J. (1989). Symmetrical presuppositions as a framework for public relations theory. In C. Botan & V. Hazleton, Jr. (Eds.), Public Relations Theory (pp. 17-44). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Grunig, J., and Huang Y. (2000). From orga nizational effectiveness to relationship indicators: Antecedents of relationships, public relati ons strategies, and relationship outcomes. In J.A. Ledingham & S. Brunig (Eds.), Public Relations as Relationship Management (pp. 23-54). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Grunig, L., Grunig, J., & Dozier, D. (2002) Excellence in pub lic relations and communication management: A review of the theory and results; methodology of the excellence study, isolat ing the excellence factor. In J.E. Grunig (Ed.), Excellent public relations and effective organizations (pp. 1-89 ), Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Hagans, S., Lockaby, J., Akers, C., & Kieth, L. (2002). Associated Press wire service coverage of agricultural issues. Paper presented to the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, agricultura l communications section, Orlando, FL. Hallahan, K. (1999). Seven Models of Frami ng: Implications for Public Relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 11 (3), 205-242. Harris, R. J. (1994). A cognitive psychology of mass communication (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Heath, R., & Nathan, K. (1990-91). Public relation’s role in risk communication: information, rhetoric and power. Public Relations Quarterly 35 (4), 15-22. Hon, L.C. (1997). What have you done for me lately? Exploring effectiveness in public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research 9(1), 1-30.

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85 Hurst, A. (2005). Local marketing and promotional efforts of Florida cooperative extension agents Unpublished master’s thesis, Univer sity of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Johnson, B. B. (2003). Advancing understanding of know ledge’s role in lay risk perception. Retrieved on November 3, 2005, from http://www.piercelaw.edu/ risk/vol4/summer/johnson.htm Kauffman, J. (2001). A successful failure: NASA’s crisis communications regarding Apollo 13 [Electronic version]. Public Relations Review 27 (4), 437-448 Koch, B. (1999). Extension disa ster education network help s CES prepare, communicate. Journal of Extension 37 (4). Retrieved June 4, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1999august/iw1.html Kraenzel, D.G. (1991). Building working re lationships in agri cultural marketing. Journal of Extension 39 (1). Retrieved May 10, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe/ 2001february/tt1.html Larson, J.F. (1986). Do cumenting disaster. Journal of Communication, 36 (1), 146-147. Ledingham, J. A. (2003). Explicating relations hip management as a general theory of public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research 15 (2), 181-198. Ledingham, J. A., & Bruning, S. D. (1998) Relationship management and public relations: Dimensions of an organization-public relationship. Public Relations Review 24 (1), 55-65. McCombs, M. E. (1999). New frontiers in agenda setting: agendas of attributes and frames Retrieved from http://www.utexas.edu/coc/journalism/SOURCE/faculty/facul/McCombs/Agenda_ Setting McCombs, M. E. (1994). News influence on our pictures of the world In Bryant, J. & Zillmann, D. (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 1-15). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. McCombs, M. E., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). Th e agenda-setting func tion of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly 36 : 176-187. McDowell, G. (2004). Is Extension an idea whose time has come--and gone? Journal of Extension, 42 (6). Retrieved June 4, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe /2004december/comm1.shtml McGovney, R. (2005). Response to the 2004 storms season Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Extension Service

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86 McLeod, J. M., Kosicki, G.M., & McLeod, D.M. (1994). The expanding boundaries of political communication effects. In J. Bryant, & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: In theory and research. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Meeker, D. (1992). From farm crisis to workforce readiness. Economic Development Review 10 (1), 79-80. Morgan M. G., Fischhoff, B., Bostrom, A., & Atman C. J. ( 2002). Risk communication: A mental models approach New York: Cambridge University Press. Paul, M. J. (2001). Disaster communicat ion on the Internet: An examination of 12 disaster-relief web sites. Journal of Applied Communications 85 (1), 43-61. Pawlick, T. (2001). The invisible farm: The worldw ide decline of farm news and agricultural journalism training Chicago: Burnham Inc. Peters, R. G., Covello, V. T., & McCallum, D. G. (1997). The determinants of trust and credibility in environmental risk communication: an empirical study. Risk Analysis 17 (1), 43-54. Rasmussen, W. D. (1989). Taking the university to the people: Seventy-five years of cooperative Extension Ames: Iowa State University Press. Ruth, A., Lundy, L., Telg, R. W., Irani. T., & Lock e, D. (2005). Trying to relate: Media relations training needs of agricultural scientists. Science Communication 27 (1), 127-145. Ruth, A., Muegge, M., & Irani, T. (2005, June). Seeds planted for recovery: Framing of agriculture during the 2004 Florida hurricanes Paper presented at the annual Association for Communicat ion Excellence conference, San Antonio, TX. Sandman, P.M. (1998). The three kinds of crisis comm unication and their relationship to risk communication Retrieved August 4, 2005, from http://www.psandman.com/handouts/sand57.pdf Sapriel, C. (2003). Effective crisis manage ment: Tools and best practice for the new millennium. Journal of Communications Management 7 (4), 348-355. Scanlon, J. (1998). The search for non-existe nt facts in the reporting of disasters. Journalism & Mass Communicator Educator 53( 2), 45-53. Schrerer, C. W., & Baker, N. K. (1996). Eff ective communication in crisis. In P. Calvert (Ed.), The Communicator’s Handbook (pp. 233-239). FL: Maupin House. Scherer, C. W., & Juanillo, N. (1990, October). Issues in planning and designing risk communication Paper presented at the Nationa l Risk Communication Workshop: Developing Risk Communication Strategies, Charlotte, NC.

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87 Seeger, M. W. (2002). Chaos and crisis: Pr opositions for a general theory of crisis communication [Electronic version]. Public Relations Review 28 (4), 329-337. Seeger, M. W., Sellnow, T. L., & Ulmer, R. R. (1998). Communica tion, organization and crisis. In M.E. Roloff (Ed.). Communication Yearbook 21 (pp. 231-275). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Seevers, B., Graham, D., Gamon, J., & Conklin, N. (1997). Education through Cooperative Extension Albany, N.Y.: Delmar. Sherman, C. (2004, September 13). Agriculture lo sses could be biggest in history; storm damage to Florida’s ranches and farms could top $2 billion. Orlando Sentinel p.14. Smudde, P. (2001). Issue or cr isis: A rose by any other na me [Electronic version]. Public Relations Quarterly, 46 (4), 34-36. Sood, R., Stockdale, G., & Rogers, E. (1987). How the news media operate in natural disasters. Journal of Communication, 37 (3), 27-40. Stark, S. (1990). Responding to crisis. Journal of Extension 28(1). Retrieved September 5, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/ joe/1990spring/iw1.html Stewart, S. R (2005). Tropical cyclone report Retrieved August 21, 2005, from http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2004ivan.shtml Telg, R., & Dufresne, M. G. (2001) Agricult ural communications e fforts during Florida’s medfly infestations of 1997 and 1998. Journal of Applied Communications 85 (1), 7-23. Telg, R., & Raulerson, B. (1999) Firefighter public inform ation officers’ communication effectiveness with the media dur ing the 1998 Florida wildfires. Journal of Applied Communications 83 (2), 7-21. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (2005, January). Hurricane recovery task force report UF/IFAS. Gainesville, FL. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, (2000). Academic rank of county Extension faculty Retrieved October 10, 2005 from http://ded.ifas.ufl.edu/Faculty_Ranks/rank.htm Warner, P. D. (1993). It’s time to tell the Extension story. Journal of Extension 31 (1), Retrieved on July 29, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/jo e/1993fall/tp2.html Whiting, L.R., Tucker, M., & Whaley, S. ( 2004). Level of preparedness for managing crisis communication on land-grant campuses. Journal of Applied Communications, 88 (3), 7-20.

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88 Wrigley, B. J., Salmon, C. T., & Park, H. S. (2003, September). Crisis management planning and the threat of biot errorism [Electronic version]. Public Relations Review 29 (3), 281-290. Wiens, B. A., Evans, G. D., Tsao J. C. I., & Liss H. J. (2004). Triumph over tragedy, Second Edition: A curriculum for Extens ion professionals responding to disasters and terrorism, Journal of Extension 42 (2). Retrieved August 5, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe/2004april/tt8.shtml Williams, R. (1996). The on-going farm cris is: Extension Leadership in Rural Communities. Journal of Extension 34 (1). Retrieved October 21, 2005, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1996february/a3.html Zoch, L. M., & Duhe, S. F. (1997). “Feedi ng the media” during a crisis [Electronic version]. Public Relations Quarterly, 42 (3), 15-19.

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89 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Melissa Muegge was born and raised in th e small rural town of Brenham, Texas. She developed a love for agriculture and serv ing others through her active involvement in 4-H and FFA. Muegge served in leadership ro les, participated in various contests, and showed registered Santa Gert rudis cattle. She contributes her personal growth from the experiences she gained through her active involvement in these organizations. Muegge discovered her true passion, public speaking, while serving as a spokesperson for Blue Bell Creameries, wher e she traveled across the Southeastern United States speaking on televi sion and radio stations. This interest, combined with her background in agriculture, led her to pursue a degree in agricultural journalism at Texas A&M University. While at Texas A&M University, Muegge was involved in numerous organizations in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and was awarded honors including outstanding junior and senior agricultural journalism student, and as a senior merit recipient of the college. Muegge moved to Gainesville, Florida in August of 2004 to pursue her Master of Science degree in agricultural communications Muegge served as the editor of the CALS Connection newsletter/magazine and as a teaching assistant.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0013274/00001

Material Information

Title: Communication Efforts of Florida Extension Faculty during the 2004 Hurricane Season
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Muegge, Melissa Dawn ( Dissertant )
Telg, Ricky ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2005

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Agricultural Education and Communication Thesis, M.S.
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Agricultural Education and Communication
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract: From august 13 to September 26, 2004, the state of Florida was hit by more hurricanes in one year that any state in more 120 years. The wrath of hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne left homes destroyed, lives lost, and businesses to rebuild. As a result Extension faculty were called to take an active role in this crisis situation. Determining how to communicate to their publics or clientele, what messages would be most effective, and how to do so in a timely manner, were just some of the communication issues facing Florida's Extension faculty.The purpose of this study was to examine what communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to better equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters. Through a descriptive survey of quantitative and qualitative responses, this study described the perception of respondents' communication efforts. A total of 208 people responded to the survey, for an overall response rate of 63.4%. Overall, one-third of respondents indicated that they did not use mass media channels at all during the hurricanes, and personal communication, such as word of mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of communication used. It can be inferred that due to the limited access of power and technology, agents had no other choice but to use these forms of communication. however, it can also be concluded that extension agents chose forms of personal communication as the most effective means of insuring the well-being of the clientele. This study indicates that Extension faculty with zero to five years of employment used face-to-face communication and on site visits more than any other faculty, while those with more than 30 years used them the least. The most often used source/channels to convey information was flyers/print materials, followed by newspapers. These findings indicate that in times of natural disaster, people, need, information that is readily and easily accessible and is not constrained to limited technology or power restraints. however, while flyers, print materials, and newspapers were listed as the most effective sources/channels of communication, qualitative responses indicated that some felt there was too much print information. More than three-fourths of respondents reported that their offices had an internal crisis communication plan. While half said their Extension office had an external plan. As a result of the lack of a unified crisis communication plan, consistent internal and external outreach efforts on behalf of Extension were, in many instances, not known and not obtained.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2005.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Vita.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains xii 89 p.
General Note: Title from title page of documents.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0013274:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0013274/00001

Material Information

Title: Communication Efforts of Florida Extension Faculty during the 2004 Hurricane Season
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Muegge, Melissa Dawn ( Dissertant )
Telg, Ricky ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2005

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Agricultural Education and Communication Thesis, M.S.
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Agricultural Education and Communication
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract: From august 13 to September 26, 2004, the state of Florida was hit by more hurricanes in one year that any state in more 120 years. The wrath of hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne left homes destroyed, lives lost, and businesses to rebuild. As a result Extension faculty were called to take an active role in this crisis situation. Determining how to communicate to their publics or clientele, what messages would be most effective, and how to do so in a timely manner, were just some of the communication issues facing Florida's Extension faculty.The purpose of this study was to examine what communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to better equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters. Through a descriptive survey of quantitative and qualitative responses, this study described the perception of respondents' communication efforts. A total of 208 people responded to the survey, for an overall response rate of 63.4%. Overall, one-third of respondents indicated that they did not use mass media channels at all during the hurricanes, and personal communication, such as word of mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of communication used. It can be inferred that due to the limited access of power and technology, agents had no other choice but to use these forms of communication. however, it can also be concluded that extension agents chose forms of personal communication as the most effective means of insuring the well-being of the clientele. This study indicates that Extension faculty with zero to five years of employment used face-to-face communication and on site visits more than any other faculty, while those with more than 30 years used them the least. The most often used source/channels to convey information was flyers/print materials, followed by newspapers. These findings indicate that in times of natural disaster, people, need, information that is readily and easily accessible and is not constrained to limited technology or power restraints. however, while flyers, print materials, and newspapers were listed as the most effective sources/channels of communication, qualitative responses indicated that some felt there was too much print information. More than three-fourths of respondents reported that their offices had an internal crisis communication plan. While half said their Extension office had an external plan. As a result of the lack of a unified crisis communication plan, consistent internal and external outreach efforts on behalf of Extension were, in many instances, not known and not obtained.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2005.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Vita.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains xii 89 p.
General Note: Title from title page of documents.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0013274:00001


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COMMUNICATION EFFORTS OF FLORIDA EXTENSION FACULTY DURING
THE 2004 HURRICANE SEASON













By

MELISSA DAWN MUEGGE


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Melissa Dawn Muegge

































This document is dedicated to my parents, Michael and Vicky Muegge, and
my brother, Brett, for their love and support.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Ricky Telg for his guidance,

encouragement, and commitment in helping me do my best during my education at the

University of Florida. His mentorship and belief in my abilities have helped me to believe

in myself and achieve goals I once thought were impossible.

I would also like to thank Dr. Tracy Irani for her expertise in research methods and

for helping me apply theory to my thesis and research interests. I thank Dr. Mark Kistler

for sharing his background and knowledge of Extension and for his guidance. I owe both

my sincere appreciation for their help with my thesis. Credit is due to Dr. Telg, Dr. Irani,

Dr. Kistler, and also Dr. Nick Place for giving me the opportunity to compose my thesis

from their original study on the 2004 Florida hurricanes.

I thank my friends in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department

for being the true definition of "friends" and for encouraging and uplifting me during my

graduate work at UF.

I would also like to especially thank Emily Rhoades for her mentorship and

guidance in assisting me with the CALS Connection. I thank Emily and Amanda Ruth for

taking me under their wings and showing me the ropes of graduate school. A special

thanks is also due to my dear friends Renee Durham, Sorrell Vickers, and Shirley

Copeland for uplifting me and loving me each step of the way.

I also thank my family, fellow Fight'n Texas Aggies, and Texas roots for their

support.









Lastly, I thank Jesus Christ for blessing me with two amazing parents, Michael and

Vicky Muegge. I thank them for believing in me and allowing me to spread my wings in

this new journey in life. I will forever be grateful for their endless love and never-ending

sacrifices. I thank my brother Brett for his friendship and love.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST O F TA BLE S .......... .. ...... .. .... ................... ............... .... ...... ....... ix

ABSTRACT .............. ......................................... xi

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY...................................... .........................1

In tro d u ctio n .................................................................................. 1
B ack g rou n d .................................................................................................. .5
P purpose ............................................................. . 7
O bjectiv e s ................................................................... ................................. . 8
D definition of T erm s ....................................................... 8
C crisis ..................................................................................... . 8
R isk C om m u nication ................................................................ ............... 8
D isa ster ................................................................................................. . 9
E extension F faculty .......................................................9
Cooperative Extension Service................................................ 9
M edia/M medium ....................................................... 9
Lim stations of the Study ............................................................ 9
Organization of the Remaining Chapters ..........................................................10

2 A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .. ......... ...........................11

O v e rv iew ............................................................................................ 1 1
Crisis and Extension ................ ...... ..... ....................... .. ...............11
Crisis, Risk, and Issues Management .............. ............................................14
Crisis, Issues Management, and Risk Communication .....................................21
T h eoretical F ram ew ork ......................................................................................... 2 7
Excellence Theory ......................................... ................... ... ......27
R relationship Theory ................................................ ............... 31
A genda-Setting T heory ................................................................................. 34
Framing Theory ................................... ......... .................. 35
S u m m a ry ......................................................................................................3 6












3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ............................................................................ ................... 37

In tro d u ctio n .......................................................................................3 7
R e se arch D e sig n ................................................................................................... 3 8
Population ............................................................... .......... 38
Instrum entation ................................................................................................... 38
D ata Collection ................................................................ ..... ............ 40
V ariables .............................................. 4 1
D ata A n a ly sis ................................................................................................. 4 1
S u m m a ry ......................................................................................................4 2

4 F IN D IN G S ................................................................................ 4 3

R esu lts .....................................................................................................4 3
Dem graphics of Respondents ............................................................. .............44

5 DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS .......................60

S u m m a ry ............................................................................................................... 6 0
D isc u ssio n ............................................................................................................. 6 1
Recommendations........................... ..... ......... 66
Recomm endations for Future Research................................ ............... 66
Recom m endations for Practice................................ .................. 67
C conclusion ...................................................................................................... ....... 69

APPENDIX

A PATHS OF 2004 FLORIDA HURRICANES ........... ................. ............... 71

B SURVEY RESULTS FRONT-LINE DISASTER RESPONDERS: THE NEEDS
OF FLORIDA'S COUNTY EXTENSION PROFESSIONALS................72

C QUESTIONNAIRE REQUEST LETTER TO IFAS EXTENSION FACULTY ......76

D UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/IFAS EXTENSION ADMINISTRATION
D IS T R IC T S ................................................................7 7

E EXTENSION FACULTIES' USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO PROGRAM AREA .........................78

F EXTENSION FACULTIES' USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS
SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO GEOGRAPHIC DISTRICT ...............80

G EXTENSION FACULTIES USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO YEARS OF EXTENSION .................81









L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ........................................................................ .. ....................82

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ...................................................................... ..................89
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1 Number of Extension agents by age. ......... ... ................ ..................... ........... 44

4-2 Extension agents according to rank. ........................................ ......................... 45

4-3 Extension agents with administrative responsibilities ............................................45

4-4. Extension agents' primary program area................ ...... .................46

4-5 Agents' years of experience with the Cooperative Extension Service......................46

4-6 Number of Extension agents according to UF/IFAS administrative districts who
resp on ded to stu dy ............. .... ............................................................ ........ .. ....... .. 4 7

4-7 Extension agents' use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004
hurricane season. .................................. .......... .....................48

4-8 Extension offices' use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004
hurricane season. .................................. .......... .....................48

4-9 Extent that communication sources/channels were used by Extension agents
during the 2004 hurricane season ....................................................................... 49

4-10 Extent that Extension agents used personal communication methods during the
2004 hurricane season. ....................................... ............. .... ....... 50

4-11 Extension agents' perception of the general public's awareness of Extension's
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. ..................................... ............... 50

4-12 Extension agents' perception of Extension clientele's awareness of their efforts
during the 2004 hurricane season ....................................................................... 51

4-13 Sources/channels of communication perceived as most effective in conveying
information to the public during the 2004 hurricane season.............................. 51

4-14 .Extension agents' perception of most effective personal communication methods
used during the 2004 hurricane season. ...................................... ............... 53

4-15 Internal and external communication preparedness efforts used by Extension
offices in a crisis like the2004 hurricanes or other emergency situations ..............54









4-16 Extension agents' use of mass media channels to communicate during the 2004
hurricane season according to years of Extension service. ............... ...............57















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

COMMUNICATION EFFORTS OF FLORIDA EXTENSION FACULTY DURING
THE 2004 HURRICANE SEASON

By

Melissa Dawn Muegge

December 2005

Chair: Ricky Telg
Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication

From August 13 to September 26, 2004, the state of Florida was hit by more

hurricanes in one year than any state in more than 120 years. The wrath of hurricanes

Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne left homes destroyed, lives lost, and businesses to

rebuild. As a result, Extension faculty were called to take an active role in this crisis

situation. Determining how to communicate to their publics or clientele, what messages

would be most effective, and how to do so in a timely manner, were just some of the

communication issues facing Florida's Extension faculty.

The purpose of this study was to examine what communication channels

Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane

season, in an effort to better equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes

and natural disasters. Through a descriptive survey of quantitative and qualitative

responses, this study described the perception of respondents' communication efforts. A

total of 208 people responded to the survey, for an overall response rate of 63.4%.









Overall, one-third of respondents indicated that they did not use mass media

channels at all during the hurricanes, and personal communication, such as word of

mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of communication used. It

can be inferred that due to the limited access of power and technology, agents had no

other choice but to use these forms of communication. However, it can also be concluded

that Extension agents chose forms of personal communication as the most effective

means of insuring the well-being of their clientele. This study indicates that Extension

faculty with zero to five years of employment used face-to-face communication and on

site visits more than any other faculty, while those with more than 30 years used them the

least.

The most often used source/channels to convey information was flyers/print

materials, followed by newspapers. These findings indicate that in times of natural

disaster, people need information that is readily and easily accessible and is not

constrained to limited technology or power restraints. However, while flyers, print

materials, and newspapers were listed as the most effective sources/channels of

communication, qualitative responses indicated that some felt there was too much print

information.

More than three-fourths of respondents reported that their offices had an internal

crisis communication plan, while half said their Extension office had an external plan.

As a result of the lack of a unified crisis communication plan, consistent internal and

external outreach efforts on behalf of Extension were, in many instances, not known and

not obtained.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY

Introduction

When Hurricane Charley came ashore on August 13, 2004, Florida residents began

to feel the effects from what would soon be a total of four hurricanes to sweep the state in

just over a month (Sherman, 2004). From August 13 to September 26, the state of Florida

was hit by more hurricanes in one year during the 2004 hurricane season than any state in

more than 120 years (Appendix A). Hurricane Charley was the first to hit the west coast

of Florida and tear across the peninsula in a matter of hours, followed by Hurricane

Frances, on September 5, Hurricane Ivan on September 16, and Hurricane Jeanne on

September 26 (Stewart, 2005).

The wrath of hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne left homes destroyed,

lives lost, and businesses to rebuild. One hundred and seventeen people died in the four

hurricanes, and damage estimates reached more than $22 billion (Florida Office of

Insurance Regulation, 2005). In agriculture and allied industries, estimates of hurricane-

inflicted damages totaled more than $2 billion (UF/IFAS, 2005). The hurricanes affected

key commodities, ranging from citrus and strawberries to livestock and forestry.

In response, the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

(UF/IFAS) formed a Hurricane Recovery Task Force to inventory UF/IFAS's immediate

response during the six months following the hurricanes and "develop long-term

strategies for dealing with these and future hurricanes or disasters, both natural and man-

made" (UF/IFAS, 2005, p. 1). The Hurricane Recovery Task Force, headed by UF/IFAS









Dean for Extension Larry Arrington and Interim Academic Dean Wayne Smith, was

formed to develop more effective means of helping those in need (UF/IFAS, 2005, p.1).

This plan included collaborating with UF/IFAS faculty and staff experts on every

agricultural commodity in the state, support industries, natural resources, and the

environment. Leading UF/IFAS faculty also were responsible for developing reports and

recommendations for commodities and other program areas important to UF/IFAS. These

leaders utilized "any resources from trade associations, other faculty, government faculty,

etc. to meet their objectives" (UF/IFAS, 2005, p. 1). These objectives included situation

assessments of major damage across the state; immediate response steps for UF/IFAS

to take immediately to assist those in need; and long-term response plans for future

research and programs to prepare for the next hurricane (UF/IFAS, 2005).

Among the recommendations for these objectives, UF/IFAS Extension identified

the need to improve communication efforts as a primary concern during the 2004

hurricane season (UF/IFAS, 2005). Providing Extension faculty with a needed list of

guidelines and resources for immediate response to hurricanes, developing "dark Web

sites" for disaster situations, and producing public service announcements on behalf of

Extension were just some of the needed communication efforts identified. UF/IFAS also

saw the importance of communication in disaster-response training for Extension faculty,

and for developing educational materials on how to manage and deal with specific

commodities and livestock during disaster times. Because UF/IFAS's responsibilities

include education and outreach, Florida Cooperative Extension was identified as a means

to provide outreach in relation to their communication to clientele, the general public, and

the community (UF/IFAS, 2005).









Historically, the Cooperative Extension Service has responded to the problems and

crises of communities from local depressions and regional droughts to more nation-wide

cases, such as the Great Depression and world wars (Cartwright, Case, Gallagher, &

Hathaway, 2002). The farm crisis of the 1980s is one example of Extension's role in

helping communities recover from stress and set-backs through the implementation of

workshops, seminars, couple retreats, one-on-one outreach education, support groups,

24-hour stress management hotlines, and financial management (Williams, 1996). In

addition, Extension has responded in floods, other natural disasters, and even child

abductions (Chenoweth, 1991; Stark, 1990). Extension's primary role in many former

crises was to provide reliable information delivered by various forms of communication

media, such as radio (addressed question/answer sessions); television (interviews and

informational segments); and Web site links and printed information such as fact sheets,

information packets, and other publications (Cartwright et al., 2002). These techniques

have often been associated with the responsibilities of a "facilitator" rather than a

technical expert during times of a crisis. Extension faculty, playing the role of a

facilitator, may be more likely to help the community take steps of problem resolution as

a group (Cartwright et al., 2002).

In relation to the Florida hurricane crisis of 2004, Extension faculty responded

during these four disasters by supporting the hurricane preparation and recovery efforts in

their communities and neighboring counties. When their areas were raked by the

hurricanes, faculty communicated through various means to provide important

information to clientele groups through mass and personal channels (UF/IFAS, 2005).









All UF/IFAS Extension faculty provided a variety of resources and services to

agricultural producers and residents across the state, while simultaneously working with

local, state, and federal government agencies to insure that people and agricultural

industries recovered from the natural disasters that struck the state (McGovney, 2005). In

many instances, these faculty were the first persons to assist farmers and ranchers in rural

and hard-to-reach areas. They also performed tasks of locating generators, ice, water, and

food, removing fallen trees, and getting animals to shelters (UF/IFAS, 2005).

Although Extension faculty reached out to their communities, they, too, were

impacted by the storm. In addition to rendering aid to others, many of their homes,

property, and belongings were damaged and needed attention (UF/IFAS, 2005).

After the second hurricane, a small working group in the University of Florida's

Department of Agricultural Education and Communication began discussions of the

professional and personal development needs of county Extension faculty impacted by

the hurricanes. The discussions evolved to include communication channels,

informational resources, and the impact the Extension Service had throughout the state.

By the third hurricane, the working group decided to develop a comprehensive

questionnaire to examine these areas. With the support of Dean for Extension Larry

Arrington, the survey was completed and disseminated to county Extension faculty and

District Extension Directors at the end of the hurricane season. The comprehensive study

sought to provide more clarity of the front-line response efforts of Florida's county

Extension faculty. UF/IFAS Extension's clientele depended on Extension for their well

being during the hurricane season. In return, it was Extension's role to reach out to its

clientele, to provide resources, and to assist where needed (UF/IFAS, 2005).









By examining the role of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, with offices in

67 counties, UF/IFAS Extension can better correlate Extension's primary role with its

communication to its clientele and identify their perception of communication messages

and methods used to prepare for future hurricane or natural disaster situations.

Background

The concept of personal trust has been established between rural communities and

Extension's success during times of providing aid and assistance in crisis situations

(Meeker, 1992). According to Meeker, university Extension, "as the only non-regulatory

United States Department of Agriculture agency, has only educational functions and was

thus a natural pathway to the rural community due to the previously built networks of

personal trust" (Meeker, 1992, p. 79). This trust dates back to the establishment of

Extension in the early 1900s (Seevers, Graham, Gamon, & Conklin, 1997). Ledingham

and Brunig's (1998) research on public relations can be associated with the long-term

relationship and communication associated with Extension and its publics. They

proposed that an organization's involvement in and support of one's community will

further establish the loyalty and commitment of key publics to their organization.

Ledingham and Brunig also suggest that this involvement or support is a process in which

the organization must focus on the relationships with their key publics and communicate

involvement of those activities or programs that build the organization's public

relationship to members of their key publics and those in society.

Crisis responsibility can also be applied to the UF/IFAS Extension faculty and the

2004 hurricane season. Fink (1986) defines a crisis as an unstable time in which a change

can occur as a highly undesirable outcome, or one with the distinct possibility of a highly

desirable and extremely positive outcome. Schrerer and Baker (1996) proposed that crisis









communication is involved when incidents suddenly and unpredictably threaten the

stability of an organization or industry. Furthermore, because crisis situations can occur

in any organization, it is important to have crisis communication plans that strive to

minimize reputation damage, gain control of the situation, reduce uncertainties, and take

advantage of any possible benefits that may arise (Bonk, 2003). In relation to the 2004

Florida hurricanes, crisis communication preparedness for the agriculture industry

involved a needed plan of action to implement in regard to communication strategies and

tactics when natural disasters occurred. Essentially, organizations need to be proactive in

responding to possible disaster situations instead of reactive (Ruth, Muegge, & Irani,

2005).

The amount and type of news media coverage agriculture received during the

hurricane season is also important to understand when examining the perception of how

Extension faculty communicated to their clientele. Although media coverage of

agricultural issues is diminishing, it is disaster and crisis situations that receive heavy

attention from the news media (Sood, Stockdale, & Rogers, 1987). Consequently, it

remains valuable to explore how much media coverage agriculture receives during crisis

in order to determine where agriculture lies on the media and public agendas, in relation

to crisis. "The role of the media in times of crisis is a natural focal point for

communication researchers" due to the increased amount of people that turn to the media

for information (Larson, 1986, p. 146).

Because Extension faculty could do little or nothing to prevent their

circumstances- the Florida hurricanes- stronger perceptions of external control should

lessen crisis responsibility and image damage (Coombs, 1998). In addition, it is believed









that organizations with a history of positive performance and good deeds, find it easier to

maintain a positive image during a crisis (Coombs, 1998). This concept relates to

Extension faculty as they serve as "educational missionaries," transforming the quality of

people's lives and contributing to their development as human beings through education

(Seevers et al., 1997).

Research indicates that before a crisis occurs, planning may reduce response time

and possibly prevent missteps in an organization's initial response to a crisis (Benoit,

1997). However, Extension faculty was called to take an active role in a crisis situation

that no state had experienced since the 1880s. Determining how to communicate to their

publics or clientele, what messages would be most effective, and how to do so in a timely

manner, were just some of the communication issues facing Florida's Extension faculty.

Because media coverage during natural disaster situations is inevitable, the messages and

media used to communicate about these issues are vital to the agricultural industry in

order to deliver accurate, timely, and positive messages.

Purpose

According to Greene (1995), Cooperative Extension faculty should listen to those

they serve to learn what "practical education" or needs exist. Extension can be perceived

as better at carrying out effective programs than at communicating about these programs

(Warner, 1993). Therefore, in relation to the 2004 hurricane season, it is crucial to

conduct research on Extension's communication efforts to determine how clientele needs

were met and to address future concerns of clientele facing a natural disaster (UF/IFAS,

2005). The purpose of this study was to examine what communication channels

Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane









season, in an effort to better equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes

and natural disasters.

Objectives

The following objectives guided this study:

* Objective 1: Describe the communication methods used by Florida Extension
faculty during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 2: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 3: Determine the perception of messages communicated during the 2004
hurricane season and why Florida Extension faculty communicated those messages.

* Objective 4: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
methods and messages during the 2004 hurricane season as a function of their
geographic location, program area, and years of Extension employment.

Definition of Terms

The terms crisis, risk communication, disaster, Cooperative Extension Service, and

media/medium are defined as follows. These terms were chosen based on their relevance

to the study.

Crisis

For the purpose of this study, a crisis is "a major occurrence with a potentially

negative outcome affecting the organization, company, or industry, as well as its public,

products, services, or good name" (Feam-Banks, 2002, p. 2).

Risk Communication

Risk communication is defined as a process wherein government, industry, and the

concerned publics engage in an active exchange of information that could produce well-

informed decisions and rational responses to risks (Sherer & Juanillo, 1990).









Disaster

A disaster can be defined as anything from a chemical spill or fire to an area

blizzard or hurricane to a multi-state drought or flood that is unexpected or has a major

impact (Koch, 1999).

Extension Faculty

For the purpose of this study, "Extension faculty" is defined as county Extension

agents and county and district Extension directors.

Cooperative Extension Service

The Cooperative Extension System (CES) is a public-funded, nonformal,

educational system that links the education and research resources of the United States

Department of Agriculture (USDA), land-grant universities, and county administrative

units (Seevers et al., 1997).

Media/Medium

Media/medium is a channel or system of communication that generate messages

designed for large, heterogeneous, and anonymous audiences (Harris, 1994).

Limitations of the Study

A limitation of this study was the use of technology to distribute the Web-based

survey. There could have been a possibility that not all Extension faculty had access to

computers or the Internet. One reason could have been a result of electrical power

outages across the state of Florida, although, it is not as likely for this to be the case

because the survey was distributed between the beginning of December through the first

week of January. However, there was no guarantee that the respondent was

knowledgeable about Internet usage and online surveys. All communication with and









distribution of the questionnaire was done online, via e-mail, based upon the most current

list of Extension faculty.

The scope of the present study was limited to those who were Extension faculty in

the state of Florida as of November 2004. Although there was a large response rate to the

study, the results cannot be generalized to other states and regions of the country that deal

with natural disasters, such as hurricanes because the study is specific to the state of

Florida. However, other states faced with natural disasters, like the Gulf Coast states in

2005, can use this study as a comparison to their Extension's communication efforts.

Organization of the Remaining Chapters

This thesis is organized into five chapters. Chapter 1 discussed the background and

purpose for the study. Chapter 2 includes findings and research applicable to the problem

under investigation and indicates theory upon which the study is based. Chapter 3

contains the study design and the methodology used. Results of the data collected and

important findings are organized in Chapter 4, and Chapter 5 summarizes the intent,

procedures, and findings of the study, in addition to the conclusions, implications, and

recommendations of the findings.














CHAPTER 2
A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Overview

This chapter describes relevant and appropriate literature necessary for the

development of this study. Key topics discussed include crisis and Extension; crisis, risk,

and issues management; and crisis and risk communication. The study also included a

theoretical discussion of important communication theories upon which this study is

based: excellence theory, relationship theory, agenda-setting theory, and framing theory.

Crisis and Extension

By definition, a crisis is "a specific, unexpected, and nonroutine event or series of

events that create high levels of uncertainty and threaten or are perceived to threaten an

organizations' high-priority goals" (Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 1998, p. 233).

Among the categorization of "crisis" include natural disasters, such as hurricanes,

droughts, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and wildfires (Paul, 2001).

In the case of hurricanes, Extension professionals are "in a unique position to help

specific community segments (e.g. agriculture, schools) prepare for these reactions

following a critical event, as well as support those community segments following a

disaster" (Wiens, Evans, Tsao, & Liss, 2004, p. 1). In addition, rural areas may be more

likely to have fewer resources to devote to disasters, especially in the case of disasters

requiring specialized equipment and training (Wiens et al., 2004).

Extension's history of serving others by educating and providing information can

also be associated with their many years of responding to the problems and crisis of









communities (Bosch, 2004). As noted in Chapter 1, the farm crisis of the 1980s is one of

the many examples of how Extension has responded in times of crisis. Resources related

to Extension faculties' response to farm crisis are available in Williams (1996) study.

In 1988, the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service played a major role in

disseminating information to families and communities facing the drought crisis in

Washington County, Ohio (Chenoweth, 1991). Extension utilized a daily fact sheet,

known as "Drought Directives" to reach individuals with information on the severity of

the drought and how they could manage their farm, home, and well-being during these

difficult times. Extension also sought to make the nonfarm community aware of the fact

that the drought was not just a farm problem, but that everyone was affected. By

partnering with local newspapers and radio stations, and by mailing the Drought

Directives to 358 people weekly, Ohio Extension was able to disseminate information

across a widespread audience. As a result, university and Extension administrators

presented the program to the Ohio state legislators when asking for money to aid farmers

during the crisis. Extension was able to measure its effectiveness by distributing a survey

to the recipients of the Drought Directives. Eighty-four percent of the respondents

reported using the information they received, and 53% said that the information they

received helped them, their families, and businesses.

Extension agents in Klamath Falls, Oregon, also responded to a crisis in their

community in the summer of 2001 when the Bureau of Reclamation determined that it

could not release the normal allocation of water from Klamath Lake to farmers in the

Klamath Irrigation Project (Cartwright et al., 2002). This period of drought caused over

1,200 families, farming over 220,000 acres, to be without their normal water irrigation









for the entire summer. As a result, farmers withheld investments to plant their crops, and

the impact spread to the local businesses and communities throughout the county and

region. Extension decided to put aside their informational programs, and instead focus

their efforts towards designing three needs assessment and resolution meetings, which

encouraged cooperation and action on behalf of community leaders and Extension

faculty. As a result of Extension's outreach in a time of crisis, 75,000 acre-feet of water

was released to irrigate the lands, the federal government provided $20 million in

payments to affected farms, and California and Oregon farmers were able to drill new

wells that provided additional irrigation water (Cartwright et al., 2002).

The National Rural Behavioral Health Center was created at the University of

Florida in 2001 to assist Extension professionals, healthcare professionals, and other

disaster response workers in promoting research, education, and Extension to aid in

delivering behavioral health care to rural Americans in times of a crisis or natural disaster

(Wiens et al., 2004). Extension specialists developed a curriculum, Triumph Over

Tragedy: A Community Response to Managing Post-Disaster Stress, to help Extension

professionals and others in their efforts to provide education and services to communities

affected by disasters. The curriculum includes information on preparing and coordinating

community responses, educating community members about the common signs of post-

disaster stress, issues relevant to long-term recovery, and improving information

management following a disaster. Extension faculty can use this information to train

other professionals and volunteers in their community (Wiens et al., 2004).

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and leadership from the University

of Illinois, the Extension Disaster Education Network was developed in 1993 after









Extension services in the North Central Region states combined their efforts to create a

network that would allow others to draw and receive information to reduce the impact of

natural and man-made disasters (Koch, 1999). The network is now national, with 28

states represented. These states share information at annual meetings, and by conference

calls, e-mail, publications, and video. The Extension Disaster Education Network, EDEN,

Web site is a collaborative multi-state effort by Extension Services across the country to

improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. Using electronic

technology to develop, archive, update, transmit, and receive educational information, the

EDEN Web site has proven to be an effective tool for those associated with the network.

Topics covered on the Web site include homeland security, hurricanes, Bovine

Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), soybean rust, plant and crop security, how families

and children can prepare for disasters, and more. Because one of EDEN's major goals is

to share educational resources and technical expertise across state lines, the Web site

makes it possible to see what resources are available from different state Extension

services and from other agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency

and the American Red Cross. The Extension Service in North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri,

and Minnesota are examples of the agencies, which support the effectiveness of the

network in times of crisis or disaster for providing beneficial information (Koch, 1999).

Crisis, Risk, and Issues Management

Many times crisis situations result in the possibility of a decline in an

organization's reputation, and also result in increased media and public attention.

However, even in the face of chaos, crisis can also bring about stability, order, and

balance (Seeger, 2002). In fact, "crisis can often create a commonality and community in

certain situations" and, therefore, "modify the climate and tone of communication"









(Seeger, 2002, p. 336). It is in these situations that the "shared values, needs, goals,

threats and interdependencies may become salient in the face of a crisis" (Seeger, 2002,

p. 336).

Crisis management is using effective communication with people inside and

outside an organization. It is a process of strategic planning that "removes some of the

risk and uncertainty from the negative occurrence and thereby allows the organization to

be in greater control of its own destiny" (Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 2). Once a natural

disaster strikes, there is little time for thinking ahead, and implementing a plan of action.

Crisis communication strategy begins with a plan. "A good one anticipates the worst that

could happen, sets procedures for key strategists, and prepares for the unpredictable"

(Bonk, 2003, p. 14). The key for all communicators and representatives of an

organization is to plan thoroughly and carefully before the crisis occurs (Covello, 2003).

According to the Institute of Crisis Management, 65% of most business crisis today are

non-event-related or "smouldering" crisis, originating mostly with management

interaction and/or neglect (Sapriel, 2003, p. 348-349). As a result, corporations recognize

that crisis management must be implemented and that all key business functions must

address crisis prevention and management formally as part of business planning. This

type of business contingency planning or "BCP" involves risk management which means

identifying, evaluating, and addressing issues as the first step in crisis preparation.

Managing these issues poses a challenge, but is most critical for organizations (Sapriel,

2003).

Beginning with clear objectives such as providing information, establishing trust,

organizing emergency response, and involving stakeholders in partnerships and problem









solving are key preparation steps in crisis planning (Covello, 2003). Organizations should

recruit spokespersons with effective presentation skills and who can be respected and

trusted by one's target audience (Fearn-Banks, 2002). Training all staff in basic,

intermediate, and advanced risk and crisis communication is also strongly recommended

so that all employees know what is expected of them and how to respond when and if a

crisis occurs (Covello, 2003).

In addition to these types of preparation steps, organizations must not fail to

anticipate questions and issues that might arise as a result of the crisis (Covello, 2003).

Cynthia Lawson, executive director of university relations at Texas A&M University,

worked for the Detroit Edison Company in the 1970s and 1980s (Fearn-Banks, 2002).

She said that while Detroit Edison was constructing a nuclear power plant, a "mock

crisis" was created once or twice a year.

"The drill was gruesome-all day long," Lawson said. "We knew the week, but not

the day or time. The skills I learned in these practices long ago were ingrained in me. I

knew what I had to do. It was automatic," she said (Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 179).

Lawson said that it was these experiences in crisis planning that helped her after

she had only served as the executive director of university relations at Texas A&M

University for five months when eleven Texas A&M students and one alumnus were

killed and 27 others injured when the traditional Aggie bonfire they were building

collapsed at 2:42 a.m. on November 18, 1999 (Fearn-Banks, 2002).

In the case of Extension, crisis management would involve insuring effective

communication internally among the employees of the organization, the organization's

publics, the community, and in many cases, the general public. Even though the









agricultural industry faces problems that no other industry faces and must communicate

about complicated issues "there remains a lack of documented cases from which industry

professionals and students can learn" (Telg & Dufresne, 2001, p. 8).

Whiting, Tucker, and Whaley (2004) analyzed the preparedness of colleges of

agriculture across the U.S. and the handling of crisis situations at those institutions.

Only about 60% of responding land-grant universities had a central crisis communication

plan, while nearly one-third of the respondents were unaware of a crisis communication

plan in place for their Experiment Station and academic programs. A large majority of

respondents believed that their administrators were somewhat or well informed of the

crisis plan; however, less than half of the respondents believed that either faculty (43.3%)

or staff (46%) were somewhat or well informed. Their recommendations highlight the

overall need to be more proactive in establishing crisis communication plans, and to

develop and encourage crisis communication training for administrators, faculty and

staff. They also identified key administrators' involvement as a crucial factor in the

success of a crisis communication plan "because organizations that involve their

communication heads in management decision-making are more likely to have successful

public relations programs than organizations that do not follow this practice" (p. 17).

Wrigley, Salmon, and Park (2003) conducted a phone survey of corporate

spokespersons, particularly those in charge of public relations or security plans for an

organization, about their crisis management planning and bioterrorism preparedness.

Seventy percent of those interviewed said their companies had general crisis management

plans in place, but only 12% dealt specifically with bioterrorism. Results also identified

that there was a low level of knowledge about bioterrorism among correspondents who









were responsible for creating crisis communication plans. The researchers wrote that

publicity about "risk is not enough in and of itself to spur preventive action" (p. 289). The

results also indicated that awareness of the "risk" at hand- bioterrorism, perceived

seriousness, and perceived controllability-were consistent and significant predictors of

willingness to develop a crisis management plan. Research has shown that because crisis

situations can occur in any organization, it is important to have crisis communication

plans that strive to minimize reputation damage, gain control of the situation, reduce

uncertainties, and take advantage of any possible benefits that may arise (Caponigro,

1988; Benoit, 1997; Adams, 2000; Fearn-Banks, 2002 & Covello, 2003). Although

management and public relations personnel in large corporations and organizations

acknowledge the need for such a plan, many lack the personnel or the expertise to

develop a crisis plan (Fearn-Banks, 2002).

Related closely to crisis or issues management is risk management. Whereas issues

management is "proactive in that it tries to identify issues and influence decisions

regarding them before they have a detrimental effect on a corporation," risk management

attempts to alert people about risks they tend to have control over, (Gaunt & Ollenburger,

1995, p. 202). It is also important to understand that risk, issues, and crisis management

are all different. Crisis management tends to be more reactive to an issue, and many times

occurs after the public is aware of an event or situation. If used properly, issues

management is capable of lessening the impression of potentially damaging issues or

keeping them out of the public's attention. As a result, examples of successful issues

management tend to remain invisible (Gaunt & Ollenburger, 1995).









To understand how the news media typically operates in natural disaster situations,

communicators should examine how the media's coverage frames the public's perception

of one's organizations, and work to establish report and credibility with the media in

order to maintain and enhance news coverage (Ruth, Muegge, & Irani, 2005).

While most of the general public does not understand the importance of agriculture

to society, private foundations and governmental agencies support the idea that there is a

need for the general public to have a basic understanding of agriculture, the agriculture

industry, and its role in America's economic well-being (Frick, Birkenholz, & Machtmes,

1995). Agriculture is essential to America's economic, environmental and cultural

growth; however, the media resources devoted to the day to-day coverage of agriculture

and rural affairs are dwindling or inadequate (Pawlick, 2001). The reasons for this

neglect differ from region to region, but the overall result is the same: inadequate

resources devoted by the major media to agriculture and an editorial bias from a heavy-

urban circulation base (Pawlick, 2001).

Despite the lack of news coverage and interest in agricultural news, practitioners

and researchers argue that it is vital for agriculture communicators and organizations, like

Extension, to understand how the news coverage of agriculture in crisis may affect public

perceptions of, and public policy toward, the industry as a whole. Hagins, Lockaby,

Akers, and Kieth (2002) emphasized the importance of continued education efforts by

agricultural communicators to increase the agricultural literacy of reporters. As a result of

educating reporters about basic agricultural information and informing them of their bias

statements, agricultural communicators may encourage reporters to include more factual

and verifiable statements. In return, agricultural news is more likely to receive a









generated news coverage and accuracy of its day-to-day issues. It was also recommended

that those within the agricultural community continue to stay abreast with current issues

the industry is facing because the media typically targets the farmer or the grower as their

spokesperson as opposed to the trained agricultural communications specialist.

Ruth, Muegge, and Irani (2005) found that exploring the framing of agriculture

during a hurricane crisis may provide insight into the crisis communication preparedness

and management of industry communicators specifically in dealing with the media, in

addition to their understanding of how the news media operate during crisis. By

examining the framing of news media coverage of agriculture in three major metropolitan

newspapers in Florida during the 2004 hurricane season, they concluded that under the

search term "hurricane," approximately 1,110 articles were written. Agricultural stories

only constituted about 4% of the hurricane coverage of these three major newspapers in

Florida; yet, as the second-largest industry in the state, agriculture was severely impacted

by the hurricanes.

Researchers also found four dominant frames inherent in the majority of articles

analyzed: loss, cost, disaster, and beneficiary. The first and most notable frame, loss,

framed agriculture as an industry that suffered substantial loss of crops, equipment,

facilities, and animals. Cost was identified as any reference to the monetary amount lost

or incurred by the agriculture industry. Characterized by government assistance, financial

support, and recipient of relief packages, the beneficiary frame represented several

different facets of support for the agriculture industry. The disaster frame presented the

agricultural crisis situation as a catastrophe, devastation, or destruction.









A slight majority of articles (n=20) exhibited a negative tone, (n=18) indicated a

neutral tone, and the remaining articles displayed a positive tone (n=10). This study was

conducted on the assumption that personal experience with agricultural issues is

deteriorating within the lay public, and so media discourse plays a significant role in

developing knowledge and understanding of agriculture and its contribution to the state

(Eyck, 2000). However, despite the notion that framing is associated with how the media

defines, labels, or categorizes information, it is also relevant to look at how an

organization like UF/IFAS frames its own issues or circumstances (Ruth, Muegge, &

Irani, 2005).

Crisis, Issues Management, and Risk Communication

Crisis communication involves incidents that suddenly and unpredictably threaten

the stability of an organization (Whiting, Tucker, & Whaley, 2004). It is the "dialog

between the organization and its publics to, during, and after the negative occurrence"

(Fearn-Banks, 2002, p. 2). Coombs (1999) noted that there are two dominant message

factors crisis experts recommend communicating: information and compassion. Coombs

defined compassion as a "valuable symbolic resource crisis managers can use to bolster

reputations and account honoring during an accident crisis" (p. 137). The overall impact

of the study concluded that compassion, not instructing information, was related to

perceptions of organizational control when communicating to one's publics.

According to Covello (2003), communicating clearly and with compassion

involves understanding that trust is earned. This means as a communicator and as an

organization, one should not ask or expect to be trusted by the public. Therefore, it is

critical to express genuine empathy, only to promise what can be delivered, and then

follow through, and acknowledge and say that any illness, injury, or death is a tragedy to









be avoided (Covello, 2003). These types of messages are most effective if delivered by

leaders and well-respected representatives of one's organization (Sapriel, 2003). The

messages of hope, support, and the rebuilding process offer publics the reassurance

needed in uncertain times (Sapriel, 2003). Also, relaying timely information is relevant

when communicating in a crisis. Communicators should strive for brevity, but respect

requests for information and offer to provide desired information within a specified time

period (Covello, 2003). Many times these "requests" are presented by the media. Because

the goal of crisis and risk communicators is to establish long-term relationships of trust

and credibility with the media, communicators should provide information tailored to the

needs of each type of media (Heath & Nathan, 1990-91).

Issues management communication is similar to crisis communication; however,

the organization most likely is aware of the possibility of a crisis and the opportunity to

some extent of when to reveal the issue to primary stakeholders and publics (Feam-

Banks, 2002). It is important to note that the organization is central to the event.

Whether communicating about natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or emergency

preparedness, an effective message is paramount in reaching the desired outcome of an

increase in the understanding of the risk at hand. Today, much of risk communication

research tends to focus on environmental or health issues (Peters, Covello, & McCallum,

1997). Risk communication is defined as a process of the exchange of information about

the expected outcome (good and bad) and magnitude (weak or strong) among

government, industry and publics that could produce well-informed decisions and

rational responses to risk (Scherer & Juanillo, 1990). Peters, et al. (1997) found that

knowledge and expertise, honesty and openness, and care and concern, accounted for a









significant amount of variation in perceptions of trust and credibility when

communicating about risks. In fact, poor risk communications can create threats larger

than those posed by the risks that they describe (Morgan, Fischhoff, Bostrom, & Atman,

2002). It is important to understand that while professional risk experts spend hours

considering the possibility of rare and unusual hazards, most lay people spend very little

time focusing their attention on situations other than common everyday hazards (Morgan

et al., 2002). As a result, risk communicators face the challenge of truly informing and

educating lay people about those risks (Morgan, et al, 2002).

In the mix of knowing how one should communicate about risk, it is important to

correlate the concepts of knowledge and risk perception (Johnson, 2003). In other words,

"knowledge is and should be important in understanding one's risk perception" (p. 1).

When studying risk perception, research on knowledge and lay risk perception falls into

three categories: evaluating the public's understanding of facts about nature and

technology for their effect on attitudes toward hazard; identifying heuristics with which

people process information on hazards; and describing laypeople's conceptual

frameworks for hazards (Johnson, 2003).

Communicating effective risk messages to the public begins with establishing a

partnership with the public, laying the foundations for mutual trust, considering how the

public naturally thinks about the risks, and determining what aspects of the scientific

literature actually matter to them (Morgan et al., 2002). Despite these preparations,

Morgan, et al. (2001) reported that ideally all one can seek is to be ready for laypeople to

become interested in a topic that has been prepared for thoroughly.









Because the media is a critical link in delivering risk messages to publics, reporters

often act as "filters" for one's messages (Adams, 1992-93). Therefore, in the case of

Extension, educating and informing the media about one's organization and the risk

management process will more likely help keep publics informed with accurate and up-

to-date information. Adams (1992-93) suggested the following about the news media and

the reporting of risk:

* The news media will generally ignore the organization's experts in favor of
government or activist sources.

* Journalists are often not up-to-date on science-related topics especially risk
assessment.

* Journalists are likely to personalize risk-related stories.

Becoming an expert in one's area of risk, going to the news source as the expert

with facts and newsworthy information, encouraging management to train for news

media interviews, and understanding the target audience, are some things an organization

can do to prepare a risk communication program (Adams, 1992-1993).

Telg and Dufresene (2001) examined the communications methods and results of

Florida's agricultural communicators during the Mediterranean fruit fly infestations. The

researchers found that the media tended to favor activist groups for information,

journalists lacked the knowledge about the science-related topic, and journalists tended to

personalize the risk-associated story. They also reported that the agricultural

community's poor job of issues management during the Medfly eradication hampered

their ability to communicate. These are all observations that Adams (1992-93) made in

his statements about the media and risk communication. Therefore, communicators and

management of an organization need to be observant and pay special attention to activists

groups and to their organizations public relations pitfalls.









According to Sandman (1998) the three kinds of crisis communication have a

relationship with risk communication: 1) possible future crisis; 2) low-hazard high-

outrage reputation crisis; and 3) high-hazard crisis. When communicating about possible

future crisis, communicators need to inform others of the what-ifs and worst case

scenarios. Handling low-hazard high-outrage reputation crisis involves coping with

something that actually happened, but is viewed as a reputation crisis as opposed to a

serious crisis effecting one's health, safety, or environment. Dealing with this sort of

crisis and preventing it are "principal preoccupations" of risk communication (Sandman,

1998). Finally, high-hazard crisis involves a crisis with real casualties. This scenario

involves wanting or needing to manage the hazard over any kind of communication.

Communication in these scenarios is likely to be difficult, especially if advance

preparation was not sufficient to prepare for the crisis.

"News reports of disasters have inherent public appeal. They are often treated as

the biggest stories, attract the largest audiences, and are remembered the longest" (Sood,

et al., 1987, p. 27). As such, it is extremely important to communicate with the news

media during crisis because of their easy access to large publics and communication

systems that remain working even in the case of partial breakdown (Peters, et al., 1997).

However, crisis situations become a crisis communication problem when there is

extensive media attention that is not planned for or anticipated (Barton, 2000). Media

coverage during a crisis situation tends to attract increased media attention for the

individuals impacted by the crisis (Brown, 2003). Therefore, it is important for industry

communicators to plan for and manage crisis/disaster through crisis communication

planning in regard to the media.









Media relations training on how to contact news reporters or how to establish a

news media relations program may help agricultural organizations and communicators of

these organizations pitch stories to reporters and receive coverage of important events.

Sood, Stockdale, and Rogers (1987) investigated five different natural disaster crisis

situations in determining how the media operate in crisis. They found that the news

media employ specific strategies for covering disaster, they tend to seek particular kinds

of information about the disaster from specific sources, they tend to prefer a centralized

source of information like an "information czar," and they commonly assign each disaster

a news value according to the number of deaths and injuries, the extent of damage, and

geographic scope.

Zoch and Duhe (1997) found the news media first target affected individuals or

victims for information about a disaster, followed by eyewitnesses, authorities, and the

family of affected individuals. Spokespersons for the affected organization were listed as

the last source of contact. Additionally, the news media generally try to obtain

information about a disaster from authoritative sources like officials from county, state,

and federal government agencies and traditional emergency organizations (Sood, et al.,

1987).

Telg and Raulerson (1999) studied how firefighter public information officers

perceived their effectiveness as they communicated with the media during the 1998

Florida wildfires. Approximately 70% of the public information officers had media

relations or media interview training; however, they suggested the need for more

"comprehensive" training before the wildfires in the areas of hands-on media relations

training (including crisis communication), news release writing, public speaking and









interviewing skills, and technology/computer training. Respondents recommended

catering to local media before national media, being accessible or designate someone to

be accessible to the media at all times, providing communications-related training

opportunities to those individuals involved in a communications role, and not

overlooking newspaper reporters over television reporters and videographers.

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework for the study consisted of two primary theories:

excellence theory and relationship theory. In addition, the theoretical framework includes

the theories of agenda-setting and framing theories to support the overall framework.

These theories help to explain effective communication between an organization and its

publics, the importance of relationships, and how the media determines and frames the

public's agenda.

Excellence Theory

Organizations are effective when they have the expertise needed to respond to

threats and opportunities in their environment (Grunig, Grunig & Dozier,

2002, p. 1). As described by the theory of excellence, the organization must empower

communication management as a critical management function (Grunig, et al., 2002, p.

13). This expertise in times of relationship and communication management stems from

public relations. Public relations and communication management describe the overall

planning, execution, and evaluation of an organization's communication with its publics

(Grunig et al., 2002, p. 2).

Although expertise in public relations may seem essential for an organization,

many organizations and their management do not recognize and empower the function

(L. Grunig et al., 2002, p. 3). University of Florida /IFAS Extension is an example of this









type of organization because it does not have a public relations component. The

organization does have a marketing office, which performs some tasks that could be

labeled under the "umbrella" of public relations; however, there are no media relations or

public relations function implemented. Although the organization does not have a titled

public relations position or department, the Extension faculty are many times seen

performing public relations functions in their counties because they work day-to-day

communicating with their clientele to educate and maintain relationships (Hurst, 2005).

Many faculty even perform public relations tasks such as writing news releases and

articles and working with the media.

According to Grunig et al., (2002) public relations/communication management "is

broader than communication technique and broader than specialized public relations

programs such as media relations or publicity. Public relations and communication

management describe the overall planning, execution, and evaluation of an organization's

communication with both internal and external publics-groups that affect the ability of

an organization to meet its goals" (p. 2). Why and to what extent do public relations

increase organizational effectiveness? According to Grunig et al., (2002) public relations

contribute to effectiveness when it helps the organization reach its goals with the

expectations of its strategic publics. This is also known as excellence theory.

Scholars claim that relationship management, also categorized as effective,

generates benefits for the organization and contributes to effective and excellent public

relations. This notion of effectiveness is two-way and symmetrical communication

between an organization and its publics (Ledingham, 2003). This means that "good

relationships" balance the interest of the organization with the interests of publics, while









serving the interests of both sides of the relationship, having the freedom to advocate the

interest of publics to management, and fulfilling the managerial role of negotiating and

mediating conflict (Grunig et al., 2002). Organizations practicing two-way symmetrical

communication use bargaining, negotiating, and strategies of conflict resolution to bring

about changes in ideas, attitudes and behaviors of both the organization and its publics

(Grunig, 1989). In other words, two-way symmetrical communication or public relations

is seen as a win-win situation for both the organization and its audience because public

relations serves the interests of both sides of relationships, while still advocating the

interest of the organization that employ them. Two-way communication is also noted by

researchers as the way to communicate when avoiding crisis or enduring crisis of shorter

duration or of lesser magnitude (Fearn-Banks, 2002).

While most practitioners (Grunig, 1989) in public relations value the two-way

symmetrical communication model, there are three other models that describe the

practice of public relations: press agentry/publicity, public information, and two-way

asymmetrical. "The four models of public relations are representations of the values,

goals, and behaviors held or used by organizations when they practice perfect public

relations" (p. 29). The press agentry/publicity model revolves around the public relations

practitioner making their organization or product known, and results in a one-way

transfer of information from the organization to the publics (Fearn-Banks, 2002). Public

relations practitioners use the two-way asymmetrical model when conducting surveys and

polls. This type of scientific persuasion model allows for some feedback, but it typically

does not change as a result of communications management (Fearn-Banks, 2002). The

public information model is described as generally disseminating accurate information









about the organization, but not to seek information from publics through research or

informal methods. Prior to a decade ago, this one-way communication model represented

a general philosophy of handling disaster relief efforts (Paul, 2001). In the case of a

natural disaster, this one-way approach has caused past differentiation in the way

hierarchical supervisors and employees have united in their tactics and recovery efforts

(Paul, 2001). This approach has also been the result of limited free flow of both

interpersonal and mass communication because of one group giving orders and the other

group following them (Paul, 2001).

Today agencies and officials are beginning to shift more towards the two-way

communication model. Web sites and other media are being used to promote two-way

communication, even though they are typically viewed as one-way sources because they

relay a great amount of information and allow an audience to interact (Paul, 2001). The

advancement of technology and the Internet has also resulted in the expectation for "up-

to-the-minute" information in disaster situations (Paul, 2001). According to Rasmussen

(1989), Extension provides educational information to anyone through the land-grant

universities across the nation, the state agricultural experiment stations, and the USDA.

Extension also reports problems facing its clientele to researchers and administrators.

"This cooperative two-way communication provides direction for research and education

and speeds the application of research results" (Rasmussen, 1989, p. 4).

The principle of requisite variety is also identified as a characteristic of effective

organizations (L. Grunig et al., 2002). This means that there must be as much diversity

inside the organization as in its environment for the organization to build good

relationships with all publics. Planning, executing, and evaluating communication









programs build good relationships, which is also a characteristic of excellent public

relations. By building relationships with publics, organizations are more effective

because they allow more freedom to reach their goals and objectives.

Other characteristics of excellent public relations include characteristics described

by middle-range theories integrated within the excellence theory. Some of these include

empowerment of the public relations function, the combination of technician and

managerial roles as a public relations professional, organization of the communication

function, relationships to other functions, use of consulting firms, and two-way

symmetrical communication programs (L. Grunig et al., 2002).

Hon (1997) interviewed 32 public relations practitioners about the effectiveness of

public relations. Respondents defined effectiveness as increasing understanding and

facilitating two-way communication, building relationships, disseminating the right

messages, communicating strategically, promoting and fostering good media relations,

changing attitudes and behavior, and affecting legislation. A respondent in the interview,

a vice president of membership, marketing, and communications for a trade association,

made the following statement: "It (effective public relations) is never one element. It's

doing a good job day in and day out... Our view now is that effective PR is doing a lot of

little things right and that makes the big thing right" (p. 13).

Relationship Theory

In the field of public relations, a relationship exists once an organization recognizes

that it can affect its key publics and the key publics recognize they can affect the

organization. The term "relationship" can be defined as properties of exchanges,

transactions, communications, and other interconnected activities (Grunig & Huang,

2000). Building relationships and maintaining good, positive relationships is the essence









of public relations (Grunig, L. et al., 2002). In addition, poor handling of a crisis can ruin

the years of establishing credibility and trust of an organization with the relationships of

its clientele (Kauffman, 2001). Much like public relations practitioners, Extension also

depends significantly on relationships with publics in this case, clients. Grunig and

Huang (2000) defined the organization-public relationship as the "state which exists

between an organization and its key publics in which the actions of either entity impact

the economic, social, political, and/or cultural well-being of the other entity" (p. 25).

UF/IFAS Extension's clientele depended on Extension for their well being during the

hurricane season (UF/IFAS, 2005). In return, it was Extension's role to reach out to its

clientele, to provide resources, and to assist where needed.

Cooperation, trust, credibility, mutual legitimacy, openness, mutual satisfaction,

and mutual understanding are among the most important ways practitioners and

researchers can measure the quality of strategic relationships of organizations (Broom,

Casey, & Ritchey, 1997). Because the Cooperative Extension Service's mission

statement is to "help people improve their lives through an educational process which

uses scientific knowledge focused on issues and needs" (Rasmussen, 1989, p. 4),

cooperation is the key to Extension's relations with people. Ledingham and Bruning

(1998) reported that in an interpersonal context, relationships flourish when there exists a

balance in the relationship, both parties in the relationship feel that the other is investing

of time and themselves, both parties are willing to make a commitment to the

relationship, and both parties can be trusted to act in a manner that supports the

relationship.









Ledingham and Bruning (1998) surveyed 384 residential telephone subscribers

across a three-state region to determine relationship dimensions of those (1) who will stay

with their historic telephone service provider, leave that provider to sign up for service

with a new provider, or are undecided with regards to their provider of local telephone

service, and (2) could predict subscriber choice behavior. Results indicated that

organizational involvement in and support of the community in which it operates can

engender loyalty toward an organization among key publics when that

involvement/support is known by those key publics. A two-step process emerges in

which organizations must focus on the relationships with their key publics, and

communicate involvement of those activities/programs that build the organization-public

relationship to members of their key publics.

Kraenzel (1991) studied Extension's role in agricultural marketing and its

relationship with clientele. He found that two leadership challenges Extension faces is

building relationships interpersonal relationships, working relationships, negotiations,

and cooperation- and providing an example by demonstrating the required knowledge,

skills, and attitudes within the organization. Recommendations included strategies such

as concentrating on one subject matter area, such as interpersonal skill development as a

method of building relationships, or developing negotiation skills through partnerships

(Kraenzel, 1991). In addition to the challenge of building relationships is the question,

who should Extension serve or who is Extension's "clientele?" During its first 75 years,

Extension's primary clientele was farm and rural people (Rasmussen, 1989); however,

today Extension serves many suburban and urban residents. Regardless of where people

live, one recommendation for determining who Extension serves, is to "identify clientele









through a process that selects the most critical issues the expert knowledge available to

the system has the capacity to address" (Rasmussen, 1989, p. 15). As a result, this focuses

on the issue rather than making a decision about the priority and importance of clientele

based on their residence or location.

Agenda-Setting Theory

Response coordination is one of several roles that are emerging for the media in

disaster communications as a result of disaster relief officials communicating more

openly with their clientele or publics (Paul, 2001). Because recovering from a natural

disaster requires communication among media and officials, it is important to use

effective communication prior to and throughout a disaster. The media plays a variety of

roles during a disaster, and often much differently than when reporting on cases or

circumstances related to "unnatural disasters." While natural disasters, like hurricanes,

are set high on the media's agenda, the type of coverage and the way the media reports

news about such events is much different from typical news coverage (Scanlon, 1998).

For example, media coverage during a natural disaster might include administering

preparation information to the public, reporting weather conditions, the recovery process

based upon location, agencies and officials, while coverage of other news might approach

the subject matter with reporting about investigations, litigation and public relations

efforts (Scanlon, 1998).

In particular, it is important for agencies and organizations, like Extension, to

consider the concept of agenda setting, what the media deems important or newsworthy,

to understand what messages are being delivered to public and their clientele. The

concept of agenda setting developed from the idea that mass media have the ability to

transfer the items on their news agenda to the public's agenda (McCombs, 1994).









Undoubtedly, McCombs and Shaw's (1972) analysis on agenda setting established that

there is a relationship between media coverage and the public's ranking of salient issues,

implying a significant influence of the media on its audiences. However, McCombs and

Shaw also recognized that the media might simply be responding to their audience's

expectations and priorities (Baron & Davis, 2003). Nevertheless, there is a connection

between the media coverage of an issue and public attention and interest in that issue

(Baron & Davis, 2003).

Framing Theory

Agenda-setting theory is closely associated with the theory of framing, which is

"the central organizing idea for news content that supplies a context and suggests what

the issue is through the use of selection, emphasis, exclusion and elaboration"

(McCombs, 1999, par. 8). Therefore, framing allows the media to present or package the

information in a way that influences the way the audience comes to understand the issue.

Framing theory is found across the social, behavioral, and cognitive sciences, both

as a concept that relates to the way in which media reports on events, as well as with

respect to individuals' processing of message information (McLeod, Kosicki, & McLeod,

1994). According to Entman, (1993) "to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived

reality and make them more salient in a communication text, in such a way as to promote

a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment

recommendation for the item described" (p. 52). Therefore,"framing theories suggest that

the way an issue is presented the frame especially through the media, can affect

public perceptions of the issue" (Bridges & Nelson 1999, p. 100).

Framing is based on the perspective that news is a function that helps explain and

shape public perceptions of an event (Gitlin, 1980). Framing analysis is a useful research









tool for uncovering frames that employ elements such as keywords, sources of

information, symbols, metaphors, messengers, visuals, messages, stories, numbers, or

context to create shortcuts that people use to understand the world (Entman, 1993).

Though framing analysis has been criticized for its weak theoretical and empirical

foundation, the strengths of framing lie in its "emphasis on providing context within

which information presented and processed allows framing to be applied across a broad

spectrum of situations" (Hallahan, 1999, p. 209).

Summary

This chapter provided background information on crisis and Extension; crisis, risk,

and issues management; and crisis and risk communication. The chapter also included a

theoretical discussion of important communication theories upon which this study is

based: excellence theory, relationship theory, agenda-setting theory, and framing theory.

As a result of the 2004 hurricane season and Extension's outreach to communicate

with its clientele during these natural disasters, it is vital to evaluate their communication

efforts to prepare for future disasters. Previous research examined in this chapter indicate

that when crisis and risk management are utilized in an organization, advanced preparing

and planning for natural disasters devotes time, resources, and research, while

simultaneously educating and informing all levels of management about its importance

and implementation in the organization (Sapriel, 2003). Without crisis and risk

communication plans intact, communicating in these scenarios is likely to be difficult,

especially if advance preparation is not sufficient to prepare for the crisis (Sandman,

1998).














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Introduction

Initially, the study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of

Florida to determine UF/IFAS Extension personnel's involvement and impact in terms

of personal and professional development needs and impacts within their communities -

as a result of the 2004 hurricane season. However, for the purpose of this study, the

portion of communication data was analyzed to examine what communication channels

Extension utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane

season.

The following objectives to guide this study were outlined in Chapter 1.

* Objective 1: Describe the communication methods used by Florida Extension
faculty during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 2: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 3: Determine the perception of messages communicated during the 2004
hurricane season and why Florida Extension faculty communicated those messages.

* Objective 4: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
methods and messages during the 2004 hurricane season as a function of their
geographic location, program area, and years of Extension employment.

This study was descriptive in nature in that it used objective measurements and

statistical analysis to understand and examine the communication efforts of Extension

faculty. It was designed to examine what communication channels Extension utilized and

what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to









better equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters.

Qualitative responses regarding open-ended questions associated with communication

messages were also grouped to identify the most important themes noted by Extension

faculty. These questions inquired about Extension's efforts to communicate to its

clientele and the general public during the hurricane season.

Research Design

A team of researchers in the Agricultural Education and Communication

Department at the University of Florida developed a 76-question survey instrument,

which included quantitative and open-ended (qualitative) questions. A survey approach

allows for the obtainment of data from individuals relatively quickly and inexpensively

(Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 1996).

Population

The population for this study included all UF/IFAS county Extension faculty and

District Extension Directors (n=328) with a viable e-mail address as of October 2004.

The original population consisted of 332 e-mail addresses; however, corrections, due to

faulty addresses and retirements, resulted in an actual population of 328.

Instrumentation

The faculty received an e-mail that gave them an overview of the study and

provided the link to the 76-question survey (Appendix B). The questionnaire was

converted to an online Web form using Zoomerang, a premium online survey software

that numerous businesses and organizations use to create professional, customized

questionnaires. Because this software was not available in the department of Agricultural

Education and Communication, the researchers cooperated with Extension Disaster

Education Network (EDEN) faculty at Purdue University to utilize this software. The









survey was conducted via e-mail using an adapted form of Dillman's Tailored Design

Method (2000). Because the purpose of this study was to examine the communication

data, the following questions were from only a portion of the original 76-question survey.

The first two questions of Extension communication efforts in the questionnaire

determined to what extent Extension faculty and their local Extension office used mass

media channels to communicate during the 2004 hurricane season. Respondents were

given "not at all," "slight extent," "moderate extent," and "great extent," as their

response options.

Questions 22 and 23 asked Extension faculty to what extent did they believe the

general public and their clientele group were aware of Extension's efforts during the

hurricanes. Respondents recorded their responses as "not at all," "slight extent,"

"moderate extent," and "great extent."

The next questions examined how Extension faculty and their offices used the

following communication sources/channels to convey information during the hurricanes:

flyers/print materials, newspaper, radio public service announcements, live radio

interviews, TV public service announcements, live TV interviews, Internet/Web, and

other. Possible answers ranged from "not at all" "slight extent," "moderate extent," and

"great extent."

Next, Extension faculty were asked to describe what messages they were trying to

convey to their clientele. Finally, question 34 assessed how Extension faculty perceived

their office to have a plan to manage communication efforts in a crisis like the hurricanes

or other emergency situations. Respondents were given a "yes" and "no" option for

"internal communication plans" and "external communication plans."









Seven questions were included in the questionnaire that described the

demographics of those Extension faculty who responded to the survey. Extension rank,

county of service, years of experience, primary program area, age, and gender were

included.

Data Collection

A letter (See Appendix B) from UF/IFAS Extension Dean Larry Arrington was

e-mailed to all county Extension faculty and District Extension Directors on November

30, 2004, the last day of the official hurricane season, to inform faculty of the

forthcoming questionnaire and to encourage their participation. The 76-question survey

was adapted from previous research on professional development and agricultural

scientists' communication efforts (Ruth, Lundy, Telg, & Irani, 2005), as well as specific

questions the researchers believed necessary to gain a clear understanding of Extension's

role during the hurricane preparation and recovery efforts. Experts from the departments

of Family Youth and Community Sciences, Agricultural and Biological Engineering,

Food and Resource Economics, and Clinical and Health Psychology were also asked to

include and edit questions related to disaster preparedness, educational materials, agents'

personal needs (including mental health issues), and community support needs. Two

waves of follow-up reminders were conducted with nonrespondents on December 9 and

December 20, 2004. The researchers closed the questionnaire on January 5, 2005,

preventing any new responses. All communication and distribution of the questionnaire

was done online, via e-mail, based upon the most current list of faculty. A total of 208

viable responses were received for a 63.4% response rate.









Variables

The independent variables in this study were the Extension personnel's

demographics, including their geographic location, rank or position, years of Extension,

specialty or program area, age, and gender. Extension personnel's perception and/or

attitude towards their methods and messages of communication were also independent

variables.

The dependent variables were their use of personal communication methods and

other communication sources/channels, and messages used to communicate with their

clientele. Forms of personal communication included face to face, on-site visits,

telephone, cell phone, text messaging, e-mail, and other. Sources/channels identified

include flyers, print materials, newspaper, radio public service announcements, live radio

interviews, TV public service announcements, Internet/Web, and other.

Data Analysis

The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and the constant comparative

method. The SPSS Student Version 12.0 for Windows software was used for most of

the analysis. The standard deviation, means, and cross tabulations were calculated for

appropriate question with scaled-item responses and were presented in tabular form (Ary,

Jacobs, & Razavieh, 2002). The standard alpha for these questions were a=.83.

In addition to using quantitative data for this study, qualitative responses were

collected to identify the respondents' experiences and perspectives (Ary et al., 2002). The

responses were grouped into common themes and categories to determine each theme's

characteristics, and then compare categories and group them with similar categories.

Themes were reported according to how often responses mentioned similar topics or

ideas in relation to communication messages during the 2004 hurricane season.









Summary

This study was conducted using descriptive statistics and qualitative data analysis.

The survey was distributed to Extension faculty in Florida (N=328). The online 76-

question survey instrument examined the UF/IFAS Extension personnel's involvement

and impact in terms of the personal and professional development needs and impacts

within their communities as a result of the 2004 hurricane season. However, for the

purpose of this study, the communication portion of the questionnaire was analyzed to

understand the perception of Extension faculty' communications methods and messages

used. Qualitative data analysis was used to record common themes associated with

communication messages.














CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

Results

This study examined the communication channels Extension utilized and what

messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane season, in an effort to better

equip Extension faculty to respond during future hurricanes and natural disasters.

Findings of the study and data analysis are presented as a result of the 76-question survey

instrument.

The population for this study was all UF/IFAS county Extension faculty with a

viable e-mail address (District Extension directors were also included). The initial

population of e-mail addresses was 332; however, corrections based upon invalid e-mail

addresses and retirements resulted in an actual population of 328. A total of 208

responses were received for a 63.4% response rate. This study presents its findings

according to the objectives determined in Chapter 1. (Appendix C)

The objectives were:

* Objective 1: Describe the communication methods used by Florida Extension
faculty during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 2: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 3: Determine the perception of messages communicated during the 2004
hurricane season and why Florida Extension faculty communicated those messages.

* Objective 4: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
methods and messages during the 2004 hurricane season as a function of their
geographic location, program area, and years of Extension employment.









Demographics of Respondents

In terms of gender, 38% (n=70) of respondents were male, while 62% (n= 114)

were female. Table 4-1 identifies respondents according to age. The majority of faculty

(38.1%, n=51), ranged in age from 51-60, and 30.6% (n=41) were ages 41-50. Only 4.5%

(n=6) were over 60 years in age.

Table 4-1. Number of Extension faculty by age.
Age (yrs) n %
26-30 15 11.1
31-40 21 15.7
41-50 41 30.6
51-60 51 38.1
61-66 6 4.5
Total 134 100.0


Table 4-2 identifies Extension faculty according to their rank. An Extension

Agent I is an entry-level position. Personnel at the Extension Agent II level must possess

a master's degree and at least five years of Extension experience. To qualify for

Extension Agent III, personnel must have 10 years of Extension experience and be

leaders in their field. People at the highest rank, Extension Agent IV, must demonstrate

the highest level of programming and professional development. Courtesy Agents are the

same as Extension Agents, except that Courtesy Agents are county-funded (UF/IFAS,

2000). Program Assistants are supervised by and serve as an assistant to the Extension

agent. They are often not required to have a college degree, and assist with coordinating

and organizing many of the various activities and events that the county Extension office

sponsors (Seevers et al., 1997).

Most respondents, 47% (n=25) were ranked as Extension Agent IV, followed by

Extension Agent I (23%, n=44). Other respondent's Extension ranks were as follows:









Extension Agent II (17%, n=33), Extension Agent III (17%, n=33), Courtesy Agent IV

(7%, n=13), Courtesy Agent I (4%, n=8), Courtesy Agent III (3%, n=5), other (2%, n=4),

Courtesy Agent II (2%, n=3), and Extension Program Assistant (1%, n=l). The category

of "other" respondents included Program Coordinator and Acting Director (FCS

Agent II) (See Table 4-2).

Table 4-2. Extension faculty according to rank.
Rank n %
Extension Agent I 44 23
Extension Agent II 33 17
Extension Agent III 33 17
Extension Agent IV 47 25
Courtesy Agent I 8 4
Courtesy Agent II 3 2
Courtesy Agent III 5 3
Courtesy Agent IV 13 7
Extension Program Assistant 1 1
Other 4 2
Total 191 100

For those with administrative responsibilities, 39 (95%) were County Extension

Directors, and two (5%) were District Directors (See Table 4-3).

Table 4-3. Extension faculty with administrative responsibilities.
Personnel n %
County Extension Director 39 95
District Extension Director 2 5
Total 41 100

Respondents were asked to indicate their primary program area from a list

generated by the District Extension Directors' office. Out of 194 responses, the top

program areas were family and consumer sciences (n=46, 24%); agricultural and natural

resources (n=45 23%); and 4-H/youth development (n=37, 19%). Personnel who

indicated "other" as their response listed citrus, water quality, urban forestry, and









livestock, pasture, and forage production, as some of their program areas.

(See Table 4-4.).

Table 4-4. Extension faculties' primary program area.
Program Area n %
Family & Consumer Sciences 46 24
Ag/Natural Resources 45 23
4-H/Youth Development 37 19
Ornamental/Environmental 21 11
Horticulture
Urban Horticulture 16 8
Commercial Horticulture 8 4
Community Development 2 1
Other 11 6
Total 194 100

Faculty reported their years of experience with the Cooperative Extension Service

in and outside of Florida. About one-third of respondents (30%, n=60) had worked for

Extension five years or less, while 7.6% (n=15) had worked more than 30 years. Table 4-

5 identifies the number of responses according to years of service.

Table 4-5. Faculties' years of experience with the Cooperative Extension Service.

Years of Service n %
0-5 years 60 30.0
6-10 years 35 17.7
11-15 years 17 8.5
16-20 years 19 9.6
21-25 years 29 15.0
26-30 years 23 11.6
More than 30 years 15 7.6
Total 198 100

Faculty were also categorized according to the UF/IFAS administrative districts. Of

182 respondents, 47 respondents (25.8%) were from the Northwest District, 43 from

South Central (23.6%), 33 from Central (18.1%), 30 from Northeast (16.5%), and 29

from South (16%). Table 4-6 identifies the number of Extension faculty according to the









UF/IFAS administrative districts who responded to the survey (See Appendix D for a

map of the Extension Districts).

Table 4-6. Number of Extension faculty according to UF/IFAS administrative districts who
responded to study.

UF/IFAS Districts n %

Northwest 47 25.8
South Central 43 23.6
Central 33 18.1
Northeast 30 16.5
South 29 16.0
Total 182 100


According to UF/IFAS Human Resources as of November 2005, 54% of Extension

employees are female, and 46% are male. Twenty-three percent of Extension faculty are

categorized as Extension Agent I, 27% as Extension Agent II, 17% as Extension Agent

III, and 33% as Extension Agent IV (UF/IFAS Human Resources). Demographics for

Courtesy Agents were not given. Based on the data collected from the survey and current

demographics from UF/IFAS Human Resources, the overall sample of this study is

representative of the Extension faculty.

S Objective 1: Describe the communication methods used by Florida Extension
faculty during the 2004 hurricane season.

The majority of respondents reported they made slight (28%, n=56) to moderate

(27%, n=54) use of mass media channels to communicate during the hurricanes. The

greatest percentage of respondents (31%, n=61) did not use mass media channels at all,

while only 14% (n=27) said they used the mass media to a great extent (See Table 4-7).












Table 4-7. Extension faculties' use of mass media channels to communicate during the
2004 hurricane season.
Response n %
Not at all 61 31
.*\/ght extent 56 28
Moderate extent 54 27
Great extent 27 14
Total 198 100

When asked the same question about mass media usage by their local county

Extension offices, the pattern of response was similar, although the greatest percentage of

respondents (35%, n=68) indicated moderate usage of mass media channels. Thirty-three

percent (n=65) said their county Extension offices' slightly used mass media, 21% (n=40)

did not use mass media channels at all, and only 11% (n=22) of respondents said their

county Extension offices used the mass media to a great extent (See Table 4-8.)

Table 4-8. Extension offices' use of mass media channels to communicate during the
2004 hurricane season.
Response n %
Not at all 40 21
.*/ight extent 65 33
Moderate extent 68 35
Great extent 22 11
Total 195 100

The most used method of communication during the 2004 hurricane season was

flyers/print materials (29%, n=56), followed by newspapers (19%, n=37). The majority

(n=130) of respondents reported that they did not use live television interviews, while

69% (n=128) did not use television public service announcements, and 66% (n=123) did

not use live radio interviews. (See Table 4-9.)












Table 4-9. Extent that communication sources/channels were used by Extension faculty
during the 2004 hurricane season.

Sources/ Not at all .\/igh extent Moderate extent Great extent
channels
n % n % n % n %

Flyers/print 20 10 56 29 63 32 56 29
materials
Newspaper 34 18 64 34 56 29 37 19
Internet/Web 74 39 42 22 46 24 27 14
Radio PSA 96 51 43 23 36 19 12 6
Live radio 123 66 39 21 19 10 6 3
interviews
TV PSA 128 69 35 19 17 9 5 3
Live TV 130 71 40 22 13 7 1 1
interviews
Radio PSA 96 51 43 23 36 19 12 6
Other 37 56 7 11 12 18 10 15

When asked what personal communication methods were most used by Extension

faculty, respondents said face-to-face communication was the most commonly used

personal method of communication (37%, n=71). Telephones (37%, n=71), on-site visits

(20%, n=38), and cell phones (19%, n=36) were also ranked as necessary sources of

personal communication. The least used sources of personal communication were text

messaging (95%, n=169) and electronic e-mail (34%, n=62).

Respondents often commented on the Internet and Web simultaneously, and several

respondents reported this combination was the best medium to have in order to

communicate. One respondent said, "I have total control of when and what goes out."

While this form of communication might have been preferred, respondents noted that

electronic media was problematic due to electrical outages caused by the hurricane.









Radio was mentioned by a few respondents as one of the best means to get a simple

message out immediately (See Table 4-10).

Table 4-10. Extent that Extension faculty used personal communication methods during
the 2004 hurricane season.
Method Not at all .\/ight extent Moderate extent Great extent

n % n % n % n %
Face to face 16 8 43 23 61 32 71 37
Telephone 22 12 40 21 57 30 71 37
On-site visits 51 27 56 30 43 23 38 20
Cell phone 64 34 47 25 40 21 36 19
Electronic 62 34 57 31 43 23 23 12
mail
Text 169 95 5 3 3 2 0 0
messaging
Other 31 67 1 2 9 20 5 11

Objective 2: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.

To achieve Objective Two, faculty was asked to give their perceptions of the

general public and their clientele's awareness of Extension's efforts during the hurricane

season. Table 4-11 identifies Extension faculties' perception of the general public's

awareness. Of the respondents, over half (53%, n=104) reported the general public was

only slightly aware of Extension's efforts, and 20% (n=39) of respondents indicated the

general public was not at all aware. Only 4% (n=8) of respondents felt the general public

was aware to a great extent.

Table 4-11. Extension faculties' perception of the general public's awareness of
Extension's efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.
Response n %
Not at all 39 20
.\/ight extent 104 53
Moderate extent 46 23
Great extent 8 4
Total 197 100









When asked the same question about their Extension clientele group, 40% of

faculty (n=79) reported their clientele was moderately informed of Extension's efforts;

however, 11% (n=22) reported their clientele not being aware at all (See Table 4-12).

Table 4-12. Extension faculties' perception of Extension clientele's awareness of their
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.
Response n %
Not at all 22 11
. /ight extent 67 34
Moderate extent 79 40
Great extent 29 15
Total 197 100

Faculty were also asked to report how effective communication sources/channels

were used to communicate during the natural disaster. Table 4-13 shows that most

respondents (32%, n=49) reported using flyers/print materials, followed by newspapers

(29%, n=45) and "other" (17%, n=26) forms of communication. Responses in the "other"

category ranged from e-mail and telephone, to phone trees and cell phones, to site visits

and word of mouth. Newsletters, handouts, workshops, and meetings were also

mentioned. Only 3% felt live television interviews (n=4) and Internet/Web (n=4) were

the most effective sources/channels used.

Table 4-13. Sources/channels of communication perceived as most effective by
Extension personnel in conveying information to the public during the 2004
hurricane season.
Sources/channels n %
Flyers, print 49 32
Newspaper 45 29
Radio PSA 15 10
Live radio interview 6 4
TV PSA 6 4
Live TV interviews 4 3
Internet/Web 4 3
Other 26 17
Total 155 100









For qualitative responses associated with the question, "What sources/channels are

perceived as most effective in conveying information to the public during the 2004

hurricane season?" respondents reported the following: "We used too much print- stress

levels so high no one wants to read." "Suggest we make color posters of some basic food

safety concepts from the bulletins with drawings or photos and post all over as well as

the web. People want simple- concise information, NOT a bulletin!"

Some respondents reported there was a lack of clarity as to the priority of who they

should be responding to first-their families, the general public, and/or their clientele.

The question of "was it more important to disseminate paper information or to lend

assistance by supplies and labor" was also addressed.

One respondent commented, "It's not about conveying information during these

storms although it helps. It's about conveying compassion for people who have had their

lives turned upside down. It's face-to-face communication. That's the most effective

source of communication."

However, another respondent said, "WE are forced to use the media conduit in this

county. They wouldn't run our information without first checking it out through

Department of Health, etc. They didn't recognize our authority in matters AND as they

put it, 'if we have downed power lines, we are not going to give "airtime" to

refrigerators.'"

When reporting on the most effective personal communication methods used to

communicate, faculty perceived face-to-face communication to be the most effective

(36%, n=60), followed by telephone communication (35%, n=59), on-site visits (9%,

n=16), and cell phones (8%, n=14). Respondents listed television and radio; two-way









radio; newsletter and handouts; mail; and workshops and meetings, under the "other"

most effective personal communication methods category (See Table 4-14).

Table 4-14. Extension agents' perception of most effective personal communication
methods used during the 2004 hurricane season.
Response n %
Face to face 60 36
Telephone 59 35
On-site visits 16 9
Cell phone 14 8
Electronic mail 8 5
Text messaging 1 1
Other 11 7

Finally, respondents were asked if their Extension office had an internal or external

plan to manage communication efforts in a crisis like the hurricanes or other emergency

situations. For the purpose of this study, "internal" referred to the crisis communication

preparedness on behalf of Extension agents, Extension offices, and the UF/IFAS

Extension Administration. "External" communication preparedness was how participants

communicated with outside agencies at the county, state, and national level. A two-by-

two contingency table is used to explore the relationship between nominal variables.

Respondents reported that 83 % (n=160) of their offices had an internal crisis

communication plan, while 17% (n=33) did not. In addition, 57% of respondents reported

that their offices had an external plan; however, 43% (n=80) did not.

The importance of having a crisis communication plan can be described from one

respondent, who reported, "We had not electricity or phone services in our county for

over two weeks, so communication was limited. Once electricity was restored, our

computers were damaged and we were unable to access the Internet or e-mail for a

month. Communication during this time was quite a challenge. We relied on cell phones

mostly" (See Table 4-15).









Table 4-15. Internal and external communication preparedness efforts used by Extension
offices in a crisis like the2004 hurricanes or other emergency situations.
Communication Plan Yes No
n % n %
Internally 160 83 33 17
Externally 104 57 80 43


S Objective 3: Determine the perception of messages communicated during the 2004
hurricane season and why Florida Extension faculty communicated those messages.

To meet this objective, respondents were asked to describe what messages they

were trying to get across both to the public and to their Extension clientele group during

the hurricanes. To analyze these questions, qualitative responses were grouped into

common themes and categories using the constant comparative method (Glaser, 1978).

Communication Messages to Public

"Extension is here to help" emerged as the overarching message that respondents

tried to communicate to the public. "Extension is here to help" included such areas as

Extension being the agency for the public to find out information about disaster

preparedness, safety issues, contacts for disaster relief, and landscape and yard cleanup.

Respondents noted that Extension "help is available regardless of need" to the public, and

that "Extension has the information and assistance to questions and problems."

Respondents wanted to impact people on more than just a rational level; they wanted

people to know that they cared. As one respondent noted, "IFAS cares and will help you

in any way possible."

As mentioned, these themes comprised the overall message of "Extension is here to

help": disaster preparedness, safety issues, contacts for disaster relief, and landscape and

yard cleanup. Following are specific examples of the messages respondents stated were

communicated to the public during the hurricane season:









Disaster preparedness: "Information on drinking water, food safety, chainsaw

safety, dealing with flooding and mold." "Find locations for animal care, store adequate

batteries, flashlights, water, canned goods, and hygiene materials. Also, information on

helping children cope emotionally with disasters."

Safety issues: "Basic information on how to survive the aftermath of a hurricane.

Practices for food safety; helping children deal with trauma; safety of drinking water."

Disaster relief: "What type of assistance was available, who was eligible to receive

it, when and where to get help."

Landscape and yard clean-up: "What to do about storm damaged trees and how

to reassure people so that they would not want to remove all their trees in anticipation for

next year's hurricane season."

Communication Message to Extension Clientele. Respondents also were asked

what message they communicated to their primary Extension clientele groups. The

overarching message was the same: "Extension is here to help." As one respondent

wrote, "We care about them and their families and are here to support them. We are still

keeping the doors of Extension open in spite of no electricity or phone."

The themes for their clientele groups were different from the ones communicated to

the public at large; however, new themes included livestock and crop management, and

meetings, classes and programs. Fewer responses were focused on safety, and more on

disaster preparation. The following are specific examples of the messages respondents

stated were communicated to Extension's clientele groups during the hurricane season:

Disaster preparation: "How to prepare their farms for the hurricanes, how to

handle resultant disease outbreaks, and how to handle a few specific damaged items."









Livestock and crop management: "Types of help available for livestock. What to do with

storm impacted livestock. Water treatment methods and crop salvage methodologies."

Disaster relief: "Described in detail the disaster programs that were available

through the FSA and how to access the programs by filling the proper forms. I described

in detail how to access the FSA Web site and how to register online or print needed forms

from the FSA Web site. I also informed my clientele of the IFAS information that was

available online or in print for information about disaster recovery."

Landscape and yard clean-up: "Looked at damaged trees to determine if they

were salvageable and if so, how to correct problems. Also, if they lost trees, follow right

plant, right place concept."

Meetings, classes, and programs: "Rescheduling of programs and decisions on

how Extension responds to emergency situations is determined in large part by the county

structure/administration and Extension administration above my level of involvement. I

respond by doing as instructed."

* Objective 4: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
methods and messages during the 2004 hurricane season as a function of their
geographic location, program area, and years of Extension employment.

Objective Four was examined to what extent Extension faculty made use of mass

media channels according to the number of years employed by Extension and to what

extent personal communication methods were used to convey information to Extension

clientele during the hurricanes. Table 4-16 displays the number of years employed by

Extension according to mass media usage. Faculty employed 11-15 years reported the

greatest usage of mass media channels (M=2.77, n=13), while faculty employed 0-5 years

reported the least amount of usage (M=2.01, n=70). Overall, respondents reported not

using mass media channels at all (31%, n=61), as reported in Table 4-7.









Table 4-16. Extension agents' use of mass media channels to communicate during the
2004 hurricane season according to years of Extension employment.
Years of employment M n SD
0-5 years 2.01 70 .985
6-10 years 2.31 36 1.064
11-15 years 2.77 13 .927
16-20 years 2.18 22 1.097
21-25 years 2.44 25 1.193
26-30 years 2.40 15 .910
More than 30 years 2.29 7 .951
All respondents 2.24 188 1.040
Scale: 1 through 4, where 1= "not at all" 2= "slight extent" 3= "moderate extent"
and 4= "great extent"

To analyze the personal communication responses, program area, geographic

location, and years of experience were compared to the source/channel of personal

communication used. Appendices E-G identifies the mean of each form of personal

communication.

Out of all Extension program areas surveyed, agriculture and natural resource

faculty used face-to-face communication (M=3.29, n=45) and on-site visits (M=3.02,

n= 44) more than any other program area. Rankings were on a Likert-type scale with

1= "not at all" to 4= "great extent." Commercial horticulture faculty (M=3.14, n=7) and

urban horticulture faculty (M=3.13, n=15) also used face-to-face communication

(M=2.86, n=7) and on-site visits (M=2.27, n=15) more than any other form of personal

communication. On the other hand, family and consumer science faculty listed the

telephone (M=2.93, n=43) as their most used choice of personal communication, and 4-

H/youth development faculty used electronic mail (M=2.36, n=38) more than any other

type of agents. Overall, text messaging (M=1.05, n=171), e-mail (M=2.17, n=179), and

cell phones (M=2.25, n=181) were the least sources of personal communication used by

all agents (Appendix E).









When comparing the use of personal communication sources/channels by

geographic location, the South Central District used face-to-face communication

(M=3.31, n=39), on-site visits (M=2.51, n=39), cell phones (M=2.58, n=38), and

electronic mail (M=2.35, n=37) more than any of the other districts. Overall, face-to-face

communication (M=2.98, n=174) and telephones (M=2.92, n=173) were the most used

sources of communication of all the districts (Appendix F).

Face-to-face communication was used the most by respondents with 0-5 years of

Extension experience (M=3.12, n=68), followed by those with 16-20 years of experience

(M=3.33, n=21). However, it was used the least by faculty with more than 30 years of

experience (M=2.33, n=6). Respondents with 0-5 years of experience in Extension

reported using cell phones (M=2.39, n=67), text messaging (M=2.39, n=67), and

electronic mail (M=2.31, n=65) more than faculty with five or more years of experience.

Faculty with more than 30 years of Extension used the telephone (M=3.33, n=6) more

than any other age group, followed by faculty with 0-5 years (M=3.12, n=69), and faculty

with 26-30 years (M=3.00, n=15) (Appendix G).

Summary

The 208 respondents were described according to demographics such as age, rank,

years of Extension employment, program area, and geographic location. Analysis was

performed to report Extension agents' and their offices' efforts in communicating to the

general public and Extension clientele during the 2004 hurricane season. Follow-up cross

tabulations were used to analyze, program area, geographic location, and years of

Extension. These demographics were then used to report on how each was a determinant

of the communication methods and messages used during the 2004 hurricane season.









Significant results from this data identified agriculture and natural resource faculty as the

program area which used face-to-face communication the most, and faculty with 0-5

years of Extension employment used face-to-face, cell phones, text messaging, and

electronic mail more than faculty with five or more years of experience.

Thirty-one percent of respondents indicated that they did not use mass media

channels at all during the hurricanes, yet it was also recognized that the media is an

important resource during a crisis. When comparing years of Extension employment to

the amount of mass media usage, faculty with 11-15 years of Extension used media

channels the most. Extension faculty also reported the need to inform its clientele and the

general public of Extension's efforts and impacts in light of the natural disaster. In

addition, respondents also felt the need "to get word out" of what needed to be done in

these types of crisis situations. Overall, personal communication, such as word of mouth

or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of personal communication used.














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS

Summary

Chapter 5 summarizes the intent, procedures, findings, conclusions, and

implications of this study, in addition to providing recommendations for practice and

future research. This study examined what communication channels Florida Extension

faculty utilized and what messages were communicated during the 2004 hurricane

season, in an effort to better equip Florida Extension faculty to respond during future

hurricanes and natural disasters.

The survey instrument was developed by a team of researchers in the department of

Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida to gain a clear

understanding of Extension's role during the hurricane preparation and recovery efforts.

An online survey, composed of 76 questions, both quantitative and open-ended

(qualitative), was distributed to Florida Extension faculty (n=328). The instrument was

made available to Extension faculty via an e-mail, which gave them an overview of the

study and provided the link to the survey. The questionnaire was converted to an online

Web form using Zoomerang, a premium online survey software, that numerous

businesses and organizations use to create professional, customized questionnaires. Two

waves of follow-up were conducted with nonrespondents.

The following objectives guided this study:

S Objective 1: Describe the communication methods used by Florida Extension
faculty during the 2004 hurricane season.









* Objective 2: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
efforts during the 2004 hurricane season.

* Objective 3: Determine the perception of messages communicated during the 2004
hurricane season and why Florida Extension faculty communicated those messages.

* Objective 4: Describe Florida Extension faculty's perception of communication
methods and messages during the 2004 hurricane season as a function of their
geographic location, program area, and years of Extension employment.

Discussion

A total of 208 faculty responded to the study, for an overall response rate of 63.4%.

Seventy respondents (38%) were male, and 114 (62%) were female. The majority of

faculty (38.1%, n=51) ranged in age from 51-60, and 30.6% (n=41) were ages 41-50.

While the largest percentage (25%, n=47) of respondents were an Extension Agent IV,

there was also a significant number of respondents who were an Extension Agent I (23%,

n=44). Of 182 respondents, almost half were from the Northwest and South Central

Districts (49.4%).

Based on the data associated with Objective 1 and the communication methods

used by Florida Extension personnel during the 2004 hurricane season, the majority of

respondents made slight to moderate use of mass media channels to communicate;

however, the greatest percentage of respondents (31%) did not use mass media channels

at all to communicate. Instead, faculty used personal communication methods, such as

word of mouth or site visits, as the most common form of communication. When asked

the same question about mass media usage by their local county Extension offices, the

pattern of response was similar. Although the greatest percentage of respondents (35%,

n=68) indicated moderate usage of mass media channels, only 11% indicated that their

local county Extension office used mass media channels to communicate to a great

extent. These findings indicate that personal communication, such as word of mouth and









on site visits, were the most effective communication method in the time of a natural

disaster or crisis because without face-to-face communication, people would not have

been kept informed. D'Ambra, Rice, and O'Connor (1998) found face-to-face and

telephone to be the top two media types used and reported that face-to-face is the highest

because people can receive both verbal and nonverbal cues by using this communication.

It can be inferred that, due to the limited access of power and technology, faculty had no

other choice but to use these forms of communication. However, it can also be concluded

that Extension faculty chose forms of personal communication as the most effective

means of insuring the well being of their clientele.

The most often used sources/channels to convey information was flyers/print

materials (29%, n=56), followed by newspapers (19%, n=37). The majority of

respondents reported that they did not commonly use live television interviews, television

public service announcements, or live radio interviews. Respondents also reported

telephone, limited e-mail, cell phones, site visits, and word of mouth as sources/channels

used. Again, these findings indicate that in times of a natural disaster, people need

information that is readily and easily accessible and is not constrained to limited

technological or power restraints.

Objective 2 described Florida Extension personnel's perception of communication

efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. Faculty were asked to provide their perception

of the general public and their clientele's awareness of Extension's efforts during the

hurricane season. Respondents felt that the general public was only aware to a slight

extent (53%) of Extension's efforts during the hurricanes, while 20% of the general

public was not aware at all. Faculty felt their clientele were moderately (40%) informed









of their efforts; however, 11% reported their clientele not being aware at all. This could

be a result of Extension not traditionally delivering information to an audience other than

its traditional clientele, or that the general public might not have viewed Extension as a

source of information during a crisis, or have known about their efforts. Breeze and

Poucher (1999) conducted a study on the marketing of UF/IFAS, which included

Extension. They found that the majority of respondents were not familiar with any of the

UF/IFAS and major sub units, and the respondents were least familiar with the county UF

Extension office with 85% responding "not familiar."

Alberts, Wirth, Gilmore, Jones, and McWater (2004) reported that more than 65% of the

general public did not know the location of their county Extension office.

In addition, they were not aware of Extension services and the information it provides,

nor that a portion of their tax dollars sustain the county Extension office.

While flyers, print materials, and newspapers were listed as the most effective

sources/channels of communication, qualitative responses indicated that some felt that

there was too much print information. As one respondent reported, "People want simple-

concise information, NOT a bulletin! We used too much print- stress levels so high not

everyone wants to read." These findings indicate that even though print/written

communication might be the most convenient to disseminate under crisis circumstances,

it will not be effective if it fails to reach one's intended audience's needs. Therefore,

Extension needs to communicate with its clientele to understand what methods of

communication worked best and plan accordingly for future crisis or natural disaster

circumstances.









Qualitative responses also indicated that some faculty felt there was a lack of

clarity as to priority of who and what they should be responding to first-their families,

the general public, and/or their clientele- delivering information and/or assisting with

preparation/recovery efforts. One respondent reported, "Was it more important to

disseminate paper information or to lend assistance by supplies and labor?" Responses

like these suggest that Extension faculty were unclear of their role at times and need to be

trained on how to encounter future decisions during a crisis.

Faculty reported that 83% of their offices had an internal crisis communication

plan, while 57% said their Extension office had an external plan. For the purpose of this

study, "internal" referred to the crisis communication preparedness on behalf of

Extension agents, Extension offices, and the UF/IFAS Extension administration.

"External" communication preparedness was how participants communicated with

outside agencies at the county, state, and national levels. As a result of the lack of a

unified crisis communication plan, consistent internal and external outreach efforts on

behalf of Extension were, in many instances, not known and not obtained. At times, this

caused facultyto be unclear of their roles and responsibilities and how to effectively

communicate to their clientele and the public during a time of crisis.

Objective 3 was to determine the perception of messages communicated during the

2004 hurricane season and why Florida Extension personnel communicated those

messages. Qualitative responses were analyzed, relating to Extension's messages to the

general public and its clientele. Overall communication themes associated with both

groups indicated, "Extension is here to help" as the predominant message. In addition, the

following themes were most commonly reported when communicating with the general









public: disaster preparedness, safety issues, contacts for disaster relief, and landscape and

yard cleanup. For their clientele groups, the predominant themes were the same as those

of the general public, with the exception of livestock and crop management. There was

also a slight more emphasis on the specifics and detail of information given in responses

related to "Extension is here to help" and "disaster relief." Clientele responses were less

focused on safety, and more on disaster preparation. It is important to understand that

while there was not a significant difference in the overall themes communicated to both

groups, messages geared towards Extension clientele were often more detailed and

agricultural specific. Therefore, in future crisis situations, faculty may need to develop

messages suitable and in the best interest of both audiences' needs. According to Boehlje

and King, (1998) Extension has done very little to find out about its customers and its

markets. However, as described by the excellence theory, the organization must practice

symmetrical communication and understand the needs of its publics to avoid crisis

(Grunig, Grunig, & Dozier, 2002).

Objective 4 described agents' perception of communication methods and messages

during the 2004 hurricane season as a function of their program area, geographic

location, and years of Extension. Responses indicate that those program areas more likely

to interact with their clientele out in the field, such as agriculture and natural resources

and urban and commercial horticulture, used face-to-face communication and on-site

visits. In contrast, program areas such as family and consumer sciences and 4-H/youth

development, were more likely to use the telephone as their primary communication

source because they tend to reach a broader target audience, including the general public.

The South Central District was struck by three of the four hurricanes; therefore, it is









reasonable to understand their use of face-to-face communication, on-site visits, cell

phones, and electronic mail was more than any of the other districts. Faculty with 0-5

years of Extension employment used face-to-face communication and on-site visits more

than any other agents, while those with more than 30 years used them the least. This

might be because faculty with 0-5 years of Extension experience are more likely to be

younger in age, and therefore, more physically able to handle tasks in the field. Also,

faculty with more than 30 years of Extension could primarily perform administration

roles, as opposed to working with clientele. When examining agents' use of the mass

media according to years of Extension, those respondents with 21-25 years of experience

reported the greatest usage of mass media channels, while faculty with 0-5 years of

Extension reported the least amount of usage. This is important to note because even

though faculty with 0-5 years experience used the most personal communication

methods, they used the least mass media to communicate. This could be a result of lack

of knowledge and/or experience of working with the media.

Recommendations

Recommendations for future research and practice are provided as a result of

examining the communication channels Extension utilized and what messages were

communicated during the 2004 hurricane season.

Recommendations for Future Research

Although this study specifically focused on Florida's 2004 hurricane season and

Extension's communication response, research in other states faced by disasters is

essential to further the understanding and awareness of Extension's response in these

types of situations. By comparing Extension's efforts in states other than Florida,

researchers could further determine what roles and responsibilities faculty serves









according to location. It would also be important to survey both Extension clientele and

the general public regarding their perception of Extension's communication efforts

during times of crisis. By doing so, the application of two-way communication could be

applied. Therefore, in terms of excellence theory, Extension would understand the needs

and perceptions of their target audience and be able to apply those findings to future

preparation and response to natural disasters.

Other recommendations includes conducting a follow-up study of how Extension

applied what it learned from the 2004 hurricane season in communicating and responding

to the needs of its clientele and the general public in future hurricane seasons. Also,

additional research, with an increase in qualitative questioning, might allow researchers

to better understand respondents' input and feelings on what they faced during times of a

natural disaster.

Recommendations for Practice

Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that UF/IFAS Extension

administration implement a unified crisis communication plan in order for all Extension

faculty to achieve consistent internal and external outreach efforts. Each county

Extension office should also personalize the crisis plan to their local personnel and

clienteles' needs, while working with local emergency agencies to plan for such crisis.

In addition, it is recommended that Extension designate a public relations component to

the organization to plan, prepare, and respond to the needs of Extension administration,

faculty, and other supporting agencies. The role of the public relations director would be

to serve as the spokesperson and liaison between the media and the organization and with

all members of the organization. According to Grunig, et al., (2002), the empowerment

of a public relations function is crucial to an organization. Additionally, as relationship









theory described, poor handling of a crisis can ruin the years of establishing credibility

and trust of an organization with the relationships of its clientele. Through the

implementation of these efforts, Extension faculty will be better prepared and informed

about their roles during a natural disaster and how to react in these types of natural

disaster and/or crisis situations.

Because one-third of respondents indicated that they did not use mass media

channels at all to communicate during the hurricanes, recommendations include

establishing a media relations plan to enhance informative and positive news coverage of

Extension and agriculture during a crisis situation. In addition, because faculty with the

least amount of Extension experience were less likely to use the media to communicate,

efforts should be particularly focused to train and educate them to communicate in future

crisis by using the media. By establishing sound media relations with the media and

learning how the news media typically operates in a natural disaster, faculty can increase

their access to the media, enhance the media's understanding of the issues, and influence

the delivery and accuracy of information (Ruth, et al., 2005). This type of assessment and

preparation will enhance Extension professionals' overall ability to communicate

effectively during a crisis and understand the organization and their individual roles in

assisting clientele, members of their community, and outside organizations. As framing

theory described, the media's packaging of information influences the way one's

audience comes to understand an issue; therefore, Extension can increase the amount and

accuracy of news coverage by building and maintaining relationships with the media.

Because electronic media was problematic due to electrical outages caused by the

hurricanes, Extension faculty need to depend on other channels, such as flyers/print









materials, word of mouth, newspapers and radio to communicate their messages. These

procedures should be outlined in the crisis communication plan. While personal contact,

such as word of mouth or site visits, appeared to be the most common form of

communication used during the hurricanes, it is also vital that Extension attempt to reach

all outlets of news coverage.

It can also be recommended that Extension develop training for Extension faculty

on how to respond during hurricanes and other disasters, to be prepared and informed

about their roles and responsibilities. Developing a "dark Web site," that would be

activated as Extension's home page in the event of a hurricane or other emergency is also

suggested. The "dark site" would provide information about emergency preparedness and

recovery, links to various emergency relief agencies, Extension publications, and overall

information to aid Florida's residents. In addition, before hurricane season each year,

Extension should update and prepare concise and appropriate reading level disaster

materials and handouts to be distributed to all clientele.

Conclusion

Overall, results from this study indicate that Florida's Extension faculty were,

indeed, front-line responders following the four hurricanes of the 2004 season: Charley,

Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Extension professionals were on the front line to provide aid

to storm victims, sometimes when the professionals themselves were also severely

impacted by the storm (UF/IFAS, 2005). Many times, they were the first persons to assist

farmers and ranchers in rural and hard-to-reach areas, while also providing food, water,

and ice, organizing chain saw crews, and securing and providing electrical generators to

their clientele and the general public (UF/IFAS, 2005). In addition, Extension was faced









with the challenge of communicating and responding in a situation that no state had

experienced in over 120 years.

Due to the massive destruction caused by the hurricanes of 2004 and the recent

Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, Katrina and Rita, it is vital that Extension assess its

personal and professional needs and impacts within their communities in times of a crisis

or natural disaster. In addition, communication preparedness, such as implementing crisis

communication plans, and establishing how to communicate during these situations

should be addressed. When organized and employed with strategic communication plans

intact, Extension will continue to be the arm that provides education, research, and

instruction (Seevers et al., 1997).















APPENDIX A
PATHS OF 2004 FLORIDA HURRICANES


0

Pensacola ca ville
e


ST Daytona Beach
I *












** \*P Charley Frances Ivan







Source University of Florida AS Extension Response to the 2004 Storm Season
o Charley 0 M 0 0 Frances M Ivan Jeanne
Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension Response to the 2004 Storm Season
















APPENDIX B
SURVEY RESULTS
FRONT-LINE DISASTER RESPONDERS: THE NEEDS OF FLORIDA'S COUNTY
EXTENSION PROFESSIONALS


Zzoomerang


Jian no!)


I


Survey Results

Front-Line Disaster Responders: The Needs
of Florida's County Extension Professionals


Please answer the following questions based on your experiences during the 2004 hurricane season.

Extension Communication Efforts


To what extent did you make use of mass media channels to
Number of Respnnse
20.communicate during recent hurricanes? Response Ratio
Not at All 61 31%
Slight Extent 56 28%
Moderate Extent 54 27%
Great Extent 27 14%
Total 198 100%



To what extent did your local extension office make use of mass media
Number of RPepone
21 channels to communicate during the recent hurricanes? Responsesa atio
Not at All 40 21%
Slight Extent 65 33%
Moderate Extent 68 35%
Great Extent 22 11%
Total 195 100%


Imrimm~r~nd














To what extent do you believe the general public was aware of
22.Extension's efforts during the recent hurricanes? Rlespons RaI

Not atAll 39 20%

Slight Extent 104 53%

Moderate Extent 1 46 23%

Great Extent 8 4%

Total 197 100%




To what extent do you believe your Extension clientele group was
nNunbarof Responre
23.aware of Extension's efforts during the recent hurricanes? ResponIse Rati

Not atAll 22 11%

Slight Extent 67 34%

Moderate Extent 79 40%

Great Extent 29 15%

Total 197 100%



To what extent did your Extension office use the following communication sources/channels to
24.convey information to the public during the recent hurricanes
The top percentage inocates total 1 2 3 4
respondent rato; lie botlom number
represents actual number ofrepondents Not atAII Slight Extent Moderate Extent Great Extent
selecting the option
10% 29% 32% 29%
1. Flyers, print materials 20 56 63 56

18% 34% 29% 19%
2. Newspaper 34 64 56 37

51% 23% 19% 6%
3. Radio publicservice announcements 36 12
96 43 36 12

66% 21% 10% 3%
4. Live radio interviews
123 39 19 6

69% 19% 9% 3%
5. TV publicservice announcements 128 3 17
128 35 17 5

71% 22% 7% 1%
6. Live TV interviews
130 40 13 1

39% 22% 24% 14%
7. InternetWeb74 42 46 27
74 42 46 27

56% 11% 18% 15%
8. Other
8. Oth37 7 12 10



25.If OTHER was selected in Question 24, please specify below.

6" 37 Responses














Of the communication sources/channels you used, which one was
most effective in conveying information to the public during the recent
Number of Responue
26.1 11r11: ii. : 2 Responses Ratio

Flyers, print materials 40 32%

Newspaper 45 29%

Radio publicservice
S15 10%
announcements

Live radio interviews 6 4%

TV publicservice announcements 6 4%

Live TV interviews 4 3%

Internet/Web 4 3%

Other 26 17%

Total 155 100%




27.1f OTHER was selected in Question 26, please specify below.

16I 28 Responses


To what extent did you use the following personal communication methods to convey
29.information to your Extension clientele group during the recent hurricanes?
The top percentage indicates total 1 2 3 4
respondent ratio the bottom number
represents acftual umber of respondents Not at All Slight Extent Moderate Extent Great Extent
selectng the oputon
8% 23% 32% 37%
1. Face to face
16 43 61 71

27% 30% 23% 20%
2. On-site visits51 43 3
51 56 43 38

12% 21% 30% 37%
3. Telephone 22 40 57 71

34% 25% 21% 19%
4. Cell phone 64 47 40 36
64 47 40 38

95% 3% 2% 0%
5. Text messaging 169 5 3 0

34% 31% 23% 12%
6. Electronic mail (e-mail) 62 5 43 23

67% 2% 20% 11%
7. Other31 1
31 1 0 5













30.If OTHER was selected in Question 29, please specify below.

6L& 27 Responses




Of the personal communication methods you used, which one was
most effective in conveying information to your Extension clientele Number Rapnme
31.group during the recent hurricanes? Response Rto

Face to face 60 36%

On-site visits 16 9%

Telephone 59 35%

Cell phone 0 14 8%

Text messaging 1 1%

Electronic mail (e-mail) 0 8 5%

01,-.r 11 7%

Total 169 100%




32.If OTHER was selected in Question 31, please specify below.

yjL 12 Responses



What messages) were you trying to get across to your Extension clientele group during the
33.recent hurricanes? Please describe.

J 148 Responses




Does your Extension office have a plan to manage communication efforts in a crisis like the
34.hurricanes or other emergency situations?
The top percentage indicates total 1 2
respondent rafo; the bottom umber YES
represents actual number ofrespandents NO
selectng the option
83% 17%
1. Internally 160 33

57% 43%
2. Externally 104 80


Disaster Preparedness: "The Disaster Handbook"















APPENDIX C
QUESTIONNAIRE REQUEST LETTER TO IFAS EXTENSION FACULTY

November 30, 2004

From:
Dr. Larry Arrington, UF/IFAS Extension Dean
1038 McCarty Bldg.

RE: Extension Hurricane Response Survey

Dear UF/IFAS Extension Faculty,

Within the next few days you will be receiving a web-based questionnaire entitled:
Front-Line Disaster Responders: The Needs ofFlorida's County Extension
Professionals. It is focused on UF/IFAS Extension's Response with the 2004 hurricane
season.
We realize that many of you have been dealing with the reality of the direct hits that we
had this past fall. We know that Extension has gone above and beyond the call of duty to
help clientele in many different ways. We also know that this has been a real personal
and professional challenge in dealing with all the needs and issues that have arisen from
these devastating storms that have affected our state.
It is because of these reasons, that I ask you to complete this very important questionnaire
in a timely fashion upon receiving it. This questionnaire is designed to help us capture
what we did as an Extension organization to help local clientele and communities.
Moreover, it will provide critical data related to personal and professional needs that you
have. This information will help us develop much needed organizational communication,
training, curriculum and resources in preparation for future hurricanes and other types of
disasters.
If you have any questions about this questionnaire, you can contact: Nick Place, Ricky
Telg, Tracy Irani or Mark Kistler in the Department of Agricultural Education and
Communication. Thank you in advance for your candid participation.
Sincerely,



Larry R. Arrington
Dean, UF/IFAS Extension














APPENDIX D
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/IFAS EXTENSION ADMINISTRATION DISTRICTS

1=Northwest
2=Northeast
3=Central
4=South Central
5=South


Northeast
District 2


Central
Distric 3


South Centra
District 4


South
Dstrct 5


Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension Office of Extension District Directors.
Available at http://ded.ifas.ufl.edu/NewDistrictsfiles/NewDistricts.htm


District 1















APPENDIX E
EXTENSION FACULTIES' USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO PROGRAM AREA.











Table E-1. Extension faculties' use of personal communication sources/channels
according to program area
Program Area M, N, SD Face to On-site Telephone Cell Text Electronic Other
face visits phone messaging mail
(e-mail)
Agriculture/ Mean 3.29 3.02 2.93 2.80 1.05 1.98 2.00
Natural
Resources
N 45 44 44 45 42 43 12
SD .869 .976 .950 1.014 .309 .913 1.279
Community Mean 3.00 2.00 3.00 3.00 1.00 3.00
Development
N 1 1 1 1 1 1
SD
Family & Mean 2.68 1.74 2.93 1.81 1.02 2.02 1.33
Consumer
N 44 42 43 42 41 41 6
SD 1.006 .939 1.121 1.042 .156 .961 .816
4-H/Youth Mean 2.76 2.03 2.77 2.21 1.09 2.36 1.00
Development
N 34 34 35 34 32 33 8
SD 1.017 .969 1.114 1.067 .390 1.168 .000
Sea Grant/ Mean 2.43 2.00 2.43 2.14 1.00 2.00 3.00
Aquaculture
N 7 7 7 7 6 7 1
SD .976 .816 .787 1.069 .000 1.155
Ornamental/ Mean 3.00 2.62 3.05 2.25 1.00 2.33 1.60
Environmental
Horticulture
N 21 21 21 20 19 21 5
SD .949 1.117 1.071 1.070 .000 1.065 1.342
Urban Mean 3.13 2.27 3.73 1.73 1.13 2.80 2.00
Horticulture
(including
Master
Gardener)
N 15 15 15 15 15 15 4
SD .743 1.033 .458 1.100 .352 1.014 1.155
Commercial Mean 3.14 2.86 2.86 2.17 1.00 1.71 2.50
Horticulture
(vegetables,
citrus, forestry)
N 7 7 7 6 5 7 4
SD 1.069 1.069 1.069 1.169 .000 .756 1.291
Other Mean 3.55 2.55 2.55 2.55 1.00 2.00 2.25
N 11 11 11 11 10 11 4
SD .688 1.128 1.036 1.440 .000 1.095 1.500
All respondents Mean 2.98 2.35 2.93 2.25 1.05 2.17 1.77
N 185 182 184 181 171 179 44
SD .961 1.091 1.033 1.125 .262 1.030 1.138

















APPENDIX F
EXTENSION FACULTIES' USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS
SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO GEOGRAPHIC DISTRICT

Table F-1. Extension faculties' use of personal communications sources/channels
according to geographic district.
District M, N, Face On-site Telephone Cell Text Electronic Other
SD to face visits phone messaging mail (e-mail)
Northwest Mean 2.86 2.37 2.66 2.19 1.03 1.95 2.45
N 42 41 41 42 40 41 11
SD 1.002 1.019 1.153 1.065 .158 1.024 1.293
Northeast Mean 2.96 2.42 3.12 2.27 1.00 2.08 1.20
N 26 26 25 26 25 24 10
SD .916 1.065 .881 1.002 .000 .929 .632
Central Mean 2.86 2.26 3.14 2.15 1.15 2.14 1.78
N 36 35 36 34 33 36 9
SD .990 1.146 .961 1.306 .508 1.018 1.202
South Mean 3.31 2.51 2.90 2.58 1.03 2.35 2.00
Central
N 39 39 40 38 34 37 4
SD .863 1.097 1.105 1.154 .171 1.033 1.155
South Mean 2.90 2.23 2.87 1.97 1.03 2.28 1.45
N 31 31 31 31 30 32 11
SD .978 1.146 .957 1.080 .183 1.143 1.036
All Mean 2.98 2.36 2.92 2.24 1.05 2.16 1.76
respondents
N 174 172 173 171 162 170 45
SD .959 1.086 1.037 1.135 .268 1.034 1.131


















APPENDIX G
EXTENSION FACULTIES USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
SOURCES/CHANNELS ACCORDING TO YEARS OF EXTENSION

Table G-1. Extension faculties use of personal communication sources/channels
according to years of extension.
Years of M, N, Face On- Telephone Cell phone Text Electronic Other
Extension SD to site messaging mail
face visits (e-mail)
0-5 years Mean 3.12 2.51 3.12 2.39 1.11 2.31 1.43
N 68 68 68 67 63 65 14
SD .939 1.126 1.000 1.114 .406 1.131 .852
6-10 years Mean 2.56 2.03 2.71 2.23 1.03 2.00 2.00
N 34 33 34 31 30 34 13
SD 1.078 .951 1.194 1.257 .183 1.073 1.354
11-15 years Mean 3.00 2.62 2.67 2.00 1.00 2.31 1.75
N 13 13 12 13 13 13 4
SD .913 1.193 1.155 1.225 .000 1.109 1.500
16-20 years Mean 3.33 2.45 2.95 2.29 1.00 2.19 1.00
N 21 20 21 21 20 21 3
SD .730 1.234 .921 1.146 .000 1.030 .000
21-25 years Mean 2.92 2.12 2.71 2.12 1.00 1.92 2.20
N 25 25 24 25 24 24 5
SD .997 .971 1.083 1.130 .000 .881 1.095
26-30 years Mean 3.13 2.29 3.00 2.27 1.00 2.27 2.00
N 15 14 15 15 13 15 5
SD .915 1.069 .845 1.033 .000 .799 1.414
More than 30 Mean 2.33 2.00 3.33 2.00 1.00 2.00 2.00
years
N 6 6 6 6 6 6 1
SD .816 .894 .816 .894 .000 .632
All respondents Mean 2.98 2.34 2.93 2.26 1.05 2.17 1.76
N 182 179 180 178 169 178 45
SD .969 1.086 1.039 1.130 .263 1.033 1.131















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