RISK COMMUNICATION: THE CASE OF CABOT/KOPPERS SUPERFUND SITE IN GAINESVILLE, FLA. By REBECCA BURTON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF THE ART IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
2014 Rebecca Burton
I would like to thank my m om who has always kept me optimistic, even when work gets too hard. I would also like to dedicate this to my adviser and chair, Dr. Treise, and the rest of my committee for their continued guidance and kindness.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I over the course of my college career. Without continued support from those wiser than me, I would not be where I am today.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 PURPOSE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY ................................ ........................ 11 Risk Communication and Superfund sites ................................ .............................. 14 The Case of Koppers ................................ ................................ .............................. 16 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 17 2 LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ............................... 19 An Introduction to Superfund ................................ ................................ .................. 19 Stages of Superfund Cleanups ................................ ................................ ......... 21 State and Local Involvement ................................ ................................ ............ 22 The Case of Koppers Superfund Site ................................ ............................... 22 Audience Constraints in Risk Communication ................................ ........................ 25 Hostility and Outrage ................................ ................................ ........................ 25 Apathy ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 29 Mistrust of Risk Assessment ................................ ................................ ............ 31 Disagreement on Acceptable Magnitude of Risk ................................ .............. 35 Lack of Faith in Science and Institutions ................................ .......................... 37 Risk Communication and the EPA ................................ ................................ .......... 40 Risk Communication and the Alachua County Health Department ......................... 40 Best practices in Risk Communication ................................ ................................ .... 41 Treating Risk Communication as a Process ................................ ..................... 42 Accounting for Uncertainty ................................ ................................ ............... 43 Taking Demographic Characteristics into Consideration ................................ .. 44 Acknowledge Diverse Levels of Risk Tolerance ................................ ............... 47 Involving the Public ................................ ................................ .......................... 48 Present Messages with Honesty ................................ ................................ ...... 50 Include a Variety of Credible Sources ................................ .............................. 50 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 51
6 3 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 54 Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 55 In Depth Interviews ................................ ................................ .......................... 57 Interview Questions and Validity ................................ ................................ ...... 58 Coding Process ................................ ................................ ................................ 60 Qualitative Co ntent Analysis ................................ ................................ ................... 60 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 64 Historical Timeline of Koppers ................................ ................................ .......... 65 1995 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 66 1998 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 66 2001 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 67 2002 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 68 2003 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 68 2004 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 68 2005 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 69 2006 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 70 2009 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 71 2010 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 72 2011 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 73 2012 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 74 2013 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 75 RQ1: Who were the Key Players in the Risk Communication Process in the Case of the Cabot/Koppers Superfund Site in Gainesville, Fla.? ......................... 76 RQ2: Did the Key Players Use Best Practices in their Risk Communication Efforts Regarding the Cabot/Koppers Superfund Site? ................................ ....... 76 U.S. EPA ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 76 Involving the public ................................ ................................ .................... 76 Attention to demographics ................................ ................................ ......... 8 1 Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance ................................ ................ 81 Honesty ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 82 Accounting for uncertainty ................................ ................................ .......... 83 Treating risk communication as a process ................................ ................. 85 Using a variety of credible sources ................................ ............................ 86 Alachua County Health Department ................................ ................................ 87 Involving the public ................................ ................................ .................... 87 Accounting for uncertainty ................................ ................................ .......... 90 Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance ................................ ................ 92 Honesty ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 94 Treating risk communication as a process ................................ ................. 95 Using a variety of credible sources ................................ ............................ 95 Beazer East ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 96 Protect Gainesville Citizens ................................ ................................ ............ 101 Remaining Key Players ................................ ................................ .................. 104
7 RQ3: What were the Main Messages Disseminated by Various Key Players? ..... 104 Delays ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 104 Getting Bought Out ................................ ................................ ......................... 104 Pro buyo ut ................................ ................................ ............................... 105 Criticizing buyout ................................ ................................ ...................... 106 Injustice ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 107 Superfund bankrupt ................................ ................................ ................. 107 Cleanup on schedule ................................ ................................ ............... 108 Contamination ................................ ................................ ................................ 108 Danger/high risk ................................ ................................ ....................... 109 Low risk/no immediate danger ................................ ................................ 110 Hope of a cleanup ................................ ................................ .................... 111 2 mile radius ................................ ................................ ............................ 111 Disagreement/Debate ................................ ................................ .................... 112 Uncertainty ................................ ................................ ............................... 113 Health effects ................................ ................................ ........................... 115 RQ 4: What A udience Constraints, if any, could have Hindered the Effectiveness of the Risk Communication Efforts of the Various Key Players? If so, what were they? ................................ ................................ ........................ 116 Disagreement on the Acceptable Magnitude of Risk ................................ ...... 116 Hostility/Outrage ................................ ................................ ............................. 119 Lack of Faith in Scientific/Government Organizations ................................ .... 121 Mistrust of Risk Assessment ................................ ................................ .......... 123 Mixed Messages ................................ ................................ ............................ 125 No Informati on/Sporadic Communication ................................ ....................... 127 Apathy ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 129 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 139 Best Practices Hierarchy ................................ ................................ ....................... 139 Beazer East ................................ ................. 143 No Collaboration ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 144 Audience Constraints and Community Advocates ................................ ................ 145 An Educated and Informed Public ................................ ................................ ........ 146 Local Lawmakers ................................ ................................ ........................... 146 Local Utility Officials ................................ ................................ ....................... 148 Residents ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 148 Informed Communities Need More Attention ................................ ........................ 150 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 151 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 152 Future research ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 152 APPENDIX A SAMPLE INTERVIEW GUIDE ................................ ................................ .............. 154 B EXAMPLE RESIDENT TRANSCRIPT ................................ ................................ .. 156
8 C CODE BOOK ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 163 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 168 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 181
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Superfund steps toward cleanup (Hird, 1994). ................................ ................... 52 2 2 Nine cleanup criteria for Superfund sites from National Contingency Plan ......... 52 2 3 Contaminants and possible health effects associated with Koppers .................. 53 2 4 Common outrage factors and guidelines ................................ ............................ 53 3 1 Risk communication audience constraints and best practices ............................ 63 4 1 Key players in the case of Cabot/Koppers Super fund site ................................ 130 4 2 Report card of best practices ................................ ................................ ............ 133 4 3 Best practices and the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department 134 4 4 Best practices and Gainesville Regional Utilities ................................ .............. 135 4 5 Best practices and the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. .......... 136 4 6 Delay message descriptions and examples. ................................ ................... 138
10 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts in Mass Communication RISK COMMUNICATION: THE CASE OF CABOT/KOPPERS SUPERFUND SITE IN GAINESVILLE, FLA. By Rebecca Burton May 2014 Chair: Debbie Treise Major: Mass Communication Hazardous waste sites, commonly known in the United States as Superfund sites, litter the country. These sites pose risks to the environment and human health alike and it is the responsibility of a variety of agencies to communicate these risks to the communities affected. Because of organizational constraints and shaky beg innings to environmental legislation, the Superfund law has had many critics, inclu ding the residents of affected communities. This case study utilized in depth interviews of communications officials and affected residents, as well as textual data to analy ze the risk communication efforts of the agencies responsible for communicating the risk of a Superfund site in Gainesville, Fla. In addition, this study attempted to determine which audience constraints (hostility/outrage, mistrust of risk assessment, apa thy, disagreement on the acceptable magnitude of risk, lack of faith in science and institutions) were present in Results showed that risk communicators involved in educat ed and informed communities need to take special care in their methods, and new best practices and audience constraints not previously revealed in the literature are considered.
11 CHAPTER 1 PURPOSE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY People worldwide face environmental and health risks every day from contaminated tap water, chemical or gas leaks, weather disasters, climate change etc. Some people face possible health risks from various carcinogenic chemicals emitted from a Superfund site every day b e cause they either work or live near a site A risk is defined as a lack of certainty in a situation involving danger (for example, to health) (Palenchar and Heath, 2002 ). But, about thirty years ago, no environmental risk ha d generated as much fear among Americans as the fear of hazardous wastes generated from Superfund sites. A poll conducted in 1988 (eight years after the passage of the C omprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, also known as Superfund ) showed that 66 percent of respondents in the United States said hazardous wastes and abandoned waste sites w ere a bigger health problem tha n nuclear radia tion, pesticide residues, contaminated tap water, ozone layer destruction or acid rain (Roper R eports, 1990). The increase in public concern about hazardous waste sites drew greater public attention than it had before the 1980s for many reasons. First, a switch in environmental legislation became apparent beginning in the 1970s. Laws shifted away from conservation and stewardship and became more geared toward protecting public health. Hird (1994) explains the laws that contributed to the shift in legislat ion. The Clean Air Act of 1970, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodentici de Act of 1978, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 have been motivated not by threats distant to wild lands but
12 almost exclusively by concerns about risks to human he alth ( Hird, 1994, pg. 3). Second, the media have given more coverage to environmental health risks and the way they are handled politically This increased attention has been attributed to 1962 book Silent Spring which put the risk from pesticides on the media agenda. After the book was published, t he media began to focus its attent ion on controversies such as poor government and industry responses to environmental disasters like The Love Canal in New York, and nuclear accidents such as those that occurred in Bhopal, India a nd Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union (Hird, 1994). I n 1986 The New York Times dedicated th ree times as much space to the coverage of air pollution, six times more to water pollution and 12 times more to solid waste than in it had 1954 ( Yandle, 1989). Hird (1994) argues that p ublic concern about chemical risks is proportional to increased scientific ability to measure these risks. For example, in the past scientists could only detect chemicals in measurements of parts per thousand, but today they can be detected in amounts as small as parts per m illion or parts per trillion This makes the question of whether or not a chemical causes cancer difficult to answer. An because the carcinogen ic ity of a chemical is a matter of degree not a specific yes or no concept This major blurred line makes risk communication particularly difficult especially when the lay public be lieves any amount of risk is unacceptable For example, with new technology, trace levels of a toxic chemical now can be identified, and a lthough the its strength as a carcinogen may be very low, the lay public may still see it as a hazard, making the communication of these facts difficult (Hird, 1994).
13 Although Americans generally view hazardous waste sites as dangerous, scientific calcula tions of risks by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency typically rate the health risks associated with the abandoned waste sites as low particularly because the risk of cance r is only increased by a small amount numerically (Hir d 1994). This dilemma often pi ts the public against the scientists, mainly because the general public would like there to be no risk, while the EPA sees that as unfeasible. This is where risk communication is crucial But this is also where the nderstanding of the risks often suffers. Without the buffer of effective communication, a hazardous waste site in a community can cause out rage among residents, which can cause lengthy litigation followed by a delayed and costly cleanup (Hird, 1994). In ad dition, the costs associated with litigation, and in some instances unnecessary stringency in cleanups may be disproportionate to the actual risk eliminated. negative consequen ces and how they can be reduced and Heath, 2002 p. 131). P erhaps a more relevant definition of risk communication regarding hazardous waste sites is used by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA defines risk communication as science based approach for communicating effectively in high (Covello, 2002 pg. 11 ). Effective risk communications from agencies such as county health departments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or chemical companies can help minimize the public risk more in line with what the science says These communication efforts also have the ability to
14 explain that a proposed risk can be mitigated in a certain way to ensure the public is prepared if the risk beco mes a bigger threat. But, because risk involves un certainty, and, in the case of a Superfund site, potential political polarization many possible audience constraints can interfere with effective risk communication (Hird, 1994) These constrain ts can hinder the success of any and efforts and create a perception gap between the public and the agencies disseminating the message. It is important for agencies to recognize these constraints in order to modify faulty communication plans. Although communication may not be the sole sol ution to the Superfund sites, it can be a major tool in buffering the perception gap when coupl ed with site cleanup and litigation (Hird, 1994) L undgren and McMakin (1998) identified several possible audience constraints factors that can prevent the public from understanding, trusting or receiving the intended messages, related to environmental and health risk communication: hostility and outrage, apathy, mistrust of the risk assessment process, disa greement on the a cceptable magnitude of the risk and lack of fa ith in science and institutions If risk communicators do not recognize these audience constraints, then even the best communic ation plans will be ineffective (Lundgren and McMakin, 1998). Ris k C ommunication and Superfund sites A Superfund site is an area of land where toxic wastes have been dumped (i.e. from prior industries that occupied the land) and that the EPA has designated to be cleaned up (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). C leaning these sites is a long process that can take years, and residents of these communities, by law, must be informed of the possible environmental, health and safety risks associated with these
15 sites. In addition, the law calls for public participation in cleanup decisions. It is the responsibility of multiple organizations which often include county health departments and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to communicate this information. The EPA has a special plan in place for thes e sites Involvement Plan which emphasizes the importance of having the community participate in the cleanup and decision process (Environmental Protection Agency, 2011). f a community organization called Protect Gainesville Citizens in Gainesville, Fla. The EPA awarded the group a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) to fund activities to help boost community involvement TAG was part of an initiative of the Superfund Reauthor ization Act of 1986 aimed at increasing public awareness and participation (Technical Assistance Grants, 2013). However, due to the audience constraints mentioned previously (hostility and outrage, apathy, mistrust of the risk assessment process, disagree ment on the a cceptable magnitude of the risk and lack of fa ith in science and institutions ) community members may not view the risk communication efforts and messages by the governmental agencies, the responsible polluters, community agencies and lawyers as favorabl e. Furthermore, the messages from these organizations may conflict, further confusing the public. For example, a lawyer fighting on the side of concerned citizens may communicate that the risk is much greater than what the EPA has conveyed, which may cause public mistrust of the federal agency
16 The Case of Koppers Because few studies have focused on audience perceptions (Sellnow et al., 2009), this case study will investigate which audience constraints were present in the case of the Cabot/Koppers 1 Superfund site in Gainesville, Fla. The 140 acre Koppers site is located one mile east of U.S. Highway 441 and was an operational wood treatment plant from 1916 to 2009. After resi and possib le drinking water contamination, the site was placed on the National Priority List in 1984 because of contaminated soil and groundwater. However, the wood treatment facility continued operation until 2009. The main carcinogenetic contaminants were arsenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxins/furans and creosote (Environmental Protection Agency, 2013). The EPA is also cleaning up residential yards near the site due to contaminated soil Cleanup is set to begi n January 2014, after almost 100 years of wood treatment operation (Curry, 2013). The residents of the Stephen Foster housing community, which lies adjacent to the site, along with other surrounding neighborhoods h ave created websites and sent letters to local media voicing concern about and anger toward Some of this anger stemmed from cleanup delays, while other residents blamed the health department for trying to minimize the risks associated with the site. Although both organizations have extensive risk communication plans that seem to place importance on community involvement, there still appears to be some d isconnect between their communication efforts and the depth interviews 1 Because local residents simply know the site as Koppers, it will be referred to as such for the remainder of the study.
17 with members o f the Stephen Foster community this study explore d which audience constraints were present, and f rom wh ere they stemmed This study also explore d the use of common best practices in risk communication by the EPA, the Alachua County Health Department and other key player s involved in communicating Koppers Superfund site risks to the public. These best practices include : treating risk communication as a process, accounting for uncertainty, attention to demographics acknowledging diverse levels of risk tolerance, involving the public, presenting messages with honesty, and making an effort to collaborate and coordinate risk information from multiple credi ble sources (Sellnow, Ulmer and Seeger, 2009). The communication effo rts of the organizations were analyzed using a qualitative content analysis of risk communication plans and other official documents, as well as stories from local media to see which best practices were utilized, as noted in the literature. In addition, in depth interviews of key personnel responsible fo r communication efforts were analyzed to see which best practices were followed and if the messages they were trying to convey were disseminated t o the public in a way that matched their own perception s of the risk s The personnel interviewed represent ed the EPA, the Al achua County Health Department the Alachua County Department of Envi ronmental Protection and the Protect Gainesville Citizens o rganization Although Protect Gainesville Citizens was a citizen organization, it was included as a key player because it was funded by the EPA. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to analyze the risk communication efforts and messages of the multiple o rganizations involved and to ascertain whether their efforts mirror suggested best practices in risk communication literature. These efforts and
18 messages were then compared to the com s of the communication efforts and messag es received to determine which audience constraints were present. By comparing discrepancies in the messages and efforts, such as magnitude of risk and mistrust of agencies, these audience constraints became apparent in the interviews and other text reports Once the constraints were identified, lesso ns about how organizations might modify their effor ts to overcome the constraints and gain community support through more effective risk commu nication were identified A few studies have looked at specific hazardous waste sites as case studies ( Caracas and Nicole, 1997; Barnes, Litva and Tuson, 2005; Cross, 2010 ; Bennet, Calman, Curtis and Fischbacher Smith, 2010 ) but most were conducted in Eur ope, so In addition, none included interviews with residents, which is crucial in understanding the audience perspective. This research also served as a case study to supplement existing knowledge ( Sandman, 1989; Peters, Covello, and McCallum, 1997; Tal, 1997; Lundgren and McMakin, 1998; Leiss, 2004) in the risk communication literature related to environmental and health related risks. Sellnow, et al. ( 2009) argued that past studies have typically focused on the processes of the elite defined as those people or agencies responsible for disseminating the risk messages to the public, without taking into consideration audience perceptions Because of this need, this study will explore the case of a Su perfund site from the perspective of the elite as well as the intended audiences to gain insight into the connections between the two Because the processes leading up to contaminated land remediation involve interconnecting procedures they must be comm unica ted to all key stakeholders (Strange and Langdon, 2008)
19 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK An Introduction to Superfund T o put the case study of the Koppers Superfund site in Gainesville, Fla. i nto context, it is necessary to expla in the history of the Superfund l aw. T he history of the law has a significant impact on audience constraints and best practices involved with the risk communication process. Experts say the law was conceived initially because of the famous hazardous waste incident called Lov e Canal, which occurred in 1978 and was and was spurred by 1962 best seller Silent Sprin g attention to the harmful chemicals being emitted (Hird, 1994) In 1980, the EPA estimated that the amount of hazardous waste being produced could have fill ed the New Orleans Supe rdome to its capacity every day and most of it was not being disposed of properly (Hird, 1994). In 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) wa s passed to regulate hazardous waste by tracking it from cradle to gra ve meaning a pap er trail was required of all entities who disposed of hazardous waste By monitoring the waste lawmakers believed it would be easier to find the parties responsible for improper disposal. Unfortunately, by the time this legislation was passed, there were already thousands of abandoned waste sites in the United States. Because the tracking system came so late, it was d ifficult to point the finger at the parties responsible for the already abandoned sites (Hird, 1994) To address this gap between sites that had the tracking system in place and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
20 Liab ility Act (CERCLA) also known as Sup erfund was passed in 1980. CERCLA added two components to existing laws, with the first being : a $1.6 bill ion fund, financed by taxes on petroleum products and forty two chemicals, which could be used to clean up land based sites pending cost recovery ac tions against responsible parties; and second, liability 1994, pg. 10). The $1.6 billion Superfund was to be used only if the responsible party could not afford the cleanup. The b eginnings of Superfund the common name used for CERCLA were nothing short of rocky and highly politicized During a personal interview with Hird (1994), o ne commentator Superfund was nearly destroyed at the beginning due to politicization . and in some ways it has never worked itself out of that Superfund authority; President Reagan changed his stance against the legislation and pledged to support the reauthorization of the law. Consequently, the House and Senate passed their own versions of a Superfund Reauthorization Act, but they were unable to compromise before Congress adjourned. Their differences involved the financing in the bill. The Senate want ed a fund of $7.5 billion over five years which would be funded by a business tax. The House, on the other hand proposed a fund of $10 billion financed by petroleum and chemical taxes (Hird, 1994). In a move to gain broad public support, Reagan drafted a plan calling for a smaller fund of about $4.5 to $5.3 billion. The EPA agreed with Reagan s plan saying it could not realistically spend more than that and more money would simply be a waste. In 1985, a fter a taxing authority lapse cause again, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) was passed ; it
21 $ 8.5 billion trus t fund to be accumulated over five years, a nd set strict cleanup goals (th ough not mandatory requirements as the H (Hird, 1994, pg. 13). The fund would come from multiple sources: a petroleum tax, corporate minimum tax, revised chemical feedstock tax, general revenues and a small portion from cost recoveries from liable parties as well as interest on the growing fund (Hird, 1994). A recent report show ed that the Superfund has since gone bankrupt due to the elimination of the petroleum tax in 1995 (Schons, 2011) Most important to this study SARA also added requirements for public invol v e ment and participation d uring the remediation process for a designated Superfund site. Stages of Superfund Cleanups The EPA is required to keep the local public and stakeholder s involved at every stage of a S uperfund c leanup, which can take more than a decade in some cases. The first step is, not surprisingly, the identific ation of a hazardous waste site These sites are hazardous wastes. Possible contaminated sites become part of the inventory system, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Confirmation and Liability Information System ( CERCLIS ) After the site is identified, it undergoes a prelimi nary assessment to establish its priority among other si tes. If the site is deemed as a high priority, a site inspection is conducted. The site inspection determines whether a site qualifies for the National Priority List (NPL). Most sites t hat are inspected do not qualify for the NPL, but the ones that do wil l begin a cleanup process. The steps toward cleanup are summarized in Table 2 1
22 In addition, t he cleanup plan must meet specific criteria, summarized in Table 2 2. A lthough these criteria are guidelines, the definitions can be somewhat arbitrary. For in stance, it is hard to determine what exactly constitutes protection of hu man health and may have multiple meanings to different constituents, meaning it is difficult to monitor the progress in meeting these cri teria. In addition, Doty and Curtis (1989) found in their survey of 50 R ecords of Decisions (RODs) State and Local I nvolvement SARA requires states to play an important role in Superfund cleanups. States are allowed to push the EPA to clean up a site to state standards, should they be more stringent than natio nal standards, as is the case with Florida. Koppers was one example of this. While the EPA says safe dioxin level in soils is 55 p arts p er m illion the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says safe concentrations should be no more than 7 ppm. Because of this, the cleanup plan for Koppers required the cleanup of residential soils with more than 7 p arts p er m illion of dioxins. If the U.S. EPA had abided by national standards, most of the residential yards adjacent to Koppers would not be eligible to be cleaned. S tates must also match cleanup funds by 10 percent for privately owned s ites, or 50 percent for state/locally owned sites. In some cases, federal monies are simply transferred to the state to conduct and plan the cleanup. The Case of Koppers Superfund Site Koppers Superfund site covers 17 0 ac res bridging two properties. It is comprised of two sites: the Koppers portion covering 90
23 acres on the western side, and the Cabot Carbon portion covering 50 acres on the treatment facility that began operation in 1916 and ceased in 2009. On the Cabot portion, there once was a charcoal production operation, but it has since been cleaned up and redeveloped. Efforts to clean the Koppers portion of the site began in February 2014 The EPA list ed the possible risks at Koppers on its website: Poor waste handling practices in the past have resulted in contaminated ground water, soil and possibly off site surface water. Contaminants include arsenic olycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and sand creosote compounds. Soils and sediments above the water table are contaminated as result of residual DNAPL in unsaturated pore space or contaminants that are adsorbed onto soil particles. Arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (expressed as benzo(a)pyrene toxic equivalents [BaP TEQ]), and dioxins/furans (expressed as 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibe nzo p dioxin toxic equivalents [TCDD TEQ]) are contaminants that drive the evaluation of human health risk for direct contact with soil (Environmental Protection Agency, 2013). Each of the con taminants found pose s potential risks to the groundwater and soil at the site as well as surrounding properties. The EPA identified health risks associated with the contaminants found on the Koppers site are summarized in Table 2 3 In February of 2011, th e final cleanup plan for the Koppers portion of the site was approved and formalized in a Record o f Decision (ROD). The ROD stated that the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) which is the company who the EPA deems financially responsible for the cleanup must ddress soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water contamination from the site. EPA will oversee the work to ensure all the cleanup goals are met and, once cleanup is complete, the site will be ready for reuse as commercial, industrial, recreati onal or mixed use with a residential component (Harris Young, 2011, para. 1). According to the EPA, a comprehensive, four year process of public involvement took place and included more than 22 opportunities for community input (Harri s Young,
24 2011). The R OD promised that the areas affected will be cleaned up using the most stringent processes (Harris Young, 2011). Although the decision to begin cleanup and redevelopme nt is currently in progress, the EPA claims that c ommunity involvement is crucial. However some community members have voiced negative opinions of the efforts. A letter to the editor in the Gainesville Sun read: The only reason the EPA should be stalling now on cleanup is if they are considering a more stringent plan. Mounding the contaminated soil onsite so it can continue to leach down toward our drinking water and aquifer is unconscionable! Soil at Depot Ave was h auled away. So should this be! (Cooper, 2012, para. 4). Another letter to the Gainesville Sun showed distrust in the Florida Department of Health (which is associated with the Alachua County Health Department) and read : Upon reviewing the most recent heal th consultation on cancer rates in a percentage of Gainesville residents living near the Koppers Superfund site, we see that several types of cancer were found to have an incidence up to four times higher than expected. Only residents living east of North Main Street were included in the review, which excluded thousands of residents living west of the site. Though the Florida Department of Health states that dioxin, such as that found at Koppers and in neighboring yards, that the increases in cancer incidence are not due to dioxin contamination from Koppers. The report recommends that people living in the Stephen Foster neighborhood keep chickens caged (presumably on concrete pads) so they don't ingest dioxin contaminated soil. But no mention of any precautions parents should take to limit their kids' exposure to dioxin, except to kee p them off the Koppers property (Gress 2012, para. 18). Although the comments of a few community residents may not reflect the attitudes of t he entire community, it is important for the EPA and the Alachua County H ealth department not to take these comments lightly, especially because they appear in the media and might potentially turn other residents against the agency, which would potentially lead to lengthy litigation and delayed cleanup While the EPA has stated that
25 the health risks associated with the Koppers site are generally low rumors of a cancer cluster have been circulating among communit y members (2013, October 24, Personal Intervi ew) A better understanding of which parts of the communica tions process by these agencies are causing community members to be dissatisfied (constraints) can aid th e organizations involved in this case study in modifying their communication efforts to create harmony between the organization s and the community affected. Audience Constraints in Risk C ommunication Even when risk communication efforts use best practices, sometimes audience constraints hinder the effectiveness of the messages. Lundgren and McMak in (1998) identify five common audience constraints: hostility and outrage, apathy, mistrust of risk assessment, disagreements on t he acceptable magnitude of risk and lack of faith in science and institutions. Identifying these constraints among the p ublic and determining where they stemmed from can help communicators modify their communication efforts. Hostility and O utrage Hostility and outrage are common reactions toward risk messages (Sellnow et al., 2009) The broad ca tegory of hostility can inclu de anger, frustration and contempt and McMakin, 1998, pg. 49). These emotional states can put psychological stressors on the audience and hinder their interpretation of the risk information ( Lundgren and McMakin, 1998 ) In the case of aba ndoned hazardous waste sites, like Superfund sites, hostility and outrage are echoe d throughout news stories in famous incidents such as the public outcry that resulted from Love Canal, coincidentally the main example that prompted the government to establ ish a federal Superfund program in 1980 (Hird, 1994). In addition, public opinion polls have shown that Americans at one time, rate d these hazardous waste sites as the most
26 important environmental problem (Hird, 1994) The more people are concerned about a problem, the more likely they are to develop emotions such as hostility and outrage (Hird, 1994). Therefore, this audience constraint can be viewed in the context of a single case study to ascertain the various ways hostility and outrage were prompted or mitigated. Factors causing hostility and outrage There are several factors that cause the public to become hostile. One of the main causes of fear and anger is due to t he fact that the word has typicall y classified many Superfund sites. Hird (1994) explains how this fear arose along with the passage of Superfund legislation. In short, while significant legislation addressed existing hazardous waste generation and disposal, little could be done about the thousands of abandoned dumps reportedly scattered across the country. And because they were abandoned, the fear that a waste of public concern (Hird, 1994, pg. 9). One reason for audiences to feel hostility and o utrage involving a Superfund site has to do with the political histo ry of the law itself. The controversial law had a rough beginning with both parties debating where the money should come from This resulted in mistrust and accu sations of pork barrel politics. C oncerned parties such as those who read about the ongoing deb ate in the late 80s and early 90s, may therefore be skeptical of the entire program (Hird, 1994) Another reason for the skepticism was the omission of key parts from the original legislation, an action that seriously pitted environmental groups against the EPA. The first Superfund bill (CERCLA) had two central components. The first was a $1.6 billion fund financed by petroleum and chemical taxes. The second was liabili ty provisions to compel responsible parties to finance cleanup costs. In addition, when the bill was
27 passed, Democrats sugg ested a $4.1 billion fund over six years for victim compensation. However these laws were weakened by Republicans who opposed the ta x on the petroleum and chemical companies This left many who saw the Superfund as a necessary program dissatisfied and doubting the law and program altogether (Hird, 1994). This doubt spread to the news media, prompting public distrust resulting in outrag e (Hird, 1994) A third reason for public hostility and outrage in risk communication is that the organization presenting the information is not regarded as a credible source (Law, 2013). The EPA had this problem during the Reagan Administration, when it was viewed as taking the side of the polluter instead of the environment (Law, 2013) In a geographically similar situation to the Koppers site an editorial from the Tampa Tribune question ed ibility in the case of a Superfund si te in Tarpon Springs, Fla. The editorial At the beginning of the meeting, the EPA's representatives, Joanne Benante and Michelle Staes, announced they would leave after a brief presentation and only 10 minutes' of questions. They held true to their word. Their decision was a poor example of government on any level. It was nothing more than a hit and run approach to a matter of great public importance and a disservice to residents who are concerned ab o ut their environment and health para.4) Like all criticisms of the Superfund program and the EPA, the credibility issue of the agency can be considered in the historical context of the law. O riginally the EPA was boasting that it was (Hird, 1994) But after the Reagan administration argued for a diminished federal regulatory role, the stick. In 1983 congressional investigators found that th e EPA had negotiated settlements favorable to polluters to avoid litigation. Critics said this action slowed
28 Superfund deals with industry for partial cleanups, and particularly galling to the Democratically controlled House, Superfund money was used in 1982 to aid Republican congressional candidat es O ne anonymous interviewee summ ed up the motto of Superfund this way laced by one of lunch now, l awyers maybe, but shovels never (Hird, 1994, pg. 11). Such a credibility loss is often hard to overcome and may only subside after constant honest efforts are given by communicators (Lundgren and McMakin, 1998). Public polls a in scientists and scientific information has dwindled (Nisbet and Scheufele, 2012). Another possible instigator of hostility and outrage is the common mistake of presenting the message in a way the public views as and McMakin, 1998, pg. 51). This type of message is often viewed as a cover up and may cause the public to become suspicious, thus lowering their level of trust. spec ific concern s are an additional cause of hostility. Concerns important to the organizations may not match the concerns of the public. For example, in the case of the West Nile outbreak in New York City in 1999, officials failed to address asthmatics when communicating about the risks associated with widespread pesticide sprays, resulting in public hostility (Covello, Peters, Wojtecki and Hyde, 2001) Risk communicators must therefore make sure they understand the publics concerns, even if they are not the main concerns of the organization. Again, this is also very relevant in the case of Superfund sites. Because each Superfund process includes legal claims and a variety of agents and agencies with their own agendas, the
29 risk communication efforts must be b ased on the understanding of the technical and environmental aspects, and the economic, social and reputational dimensions. If the or other stakeholder (Cross, 2011). Finally, pure misunderstanding of the risk at hand may also trigger public hostility, especially with topics in the health and environment realm because they include communicating technical and scientific information. In the case of Superfund if that language and a method that meet the needs of your audie and McMakin, 1998, pg. 52). Experts recommend humanizing the risk assessment process and m aintaining a designated point of contact to maintain consistency and approachability (Cross, 2011). Oleckno (1995) made a comprehensive list of common outrage factors, all of which are directly related to abandoned hazardous waste site s and guidelines for mitigation; these are summarized in Table 2 4 Furthermore, Otway and Winderfeldt (1982) suggested that other causes of audience dissatisfaction include: involuntariness of risk, lack of personal control over the outcome, and being uncertain about the consequences of exposure to the risk. Again, these are all directly related to the risks associated with Su perfund sites. Apathy Apathy is another concept viewed as an audience constraint in risk communication. Apathy occurs when the organization views the risk as high, but the and McMakin, 1998, pg. 53 ).
30 This is most common when communicating to a disinterested public, and often occurs when env ironmental health concerns are not concrete (Sly, 2000). When risk communicators encounter audience apathy, a thorough audience analysis is needed to match the r isk to matters of importance to the public (Lundgren and McMakin, 1998; Sly, 2000). Although the public historically has viewed the risks associated with Superfund sites as higher than the experts, it is still important to understand if residents experienc e apathy and why. One example of audience apathy related to an environmental health problem pertains to radon risk. Unlike hazardous waste sites, the public is not generally concerned with radon risk, although exper ts see the risk as high (Roper O rganiza tion, 1990). A study conducted in New Jersey in 1989 contract lung cancer due to radon exposure compared with 31 whose cancer stems from hazardous waste sites. However, rted from the public has been one of overwhelming apathy an d skepticism Times, 1989, pg. 41). Again, although residents who live close to Superfund sites do no t generally demonstrate apathy, other audience members, including po liticians and chemical company officials have expressed apathy about the Superfund program since its beginning. Apathy coming from key stakeholders such as politicians could potentially co nflict with the risk communication efforts of other agencies. When audience members such as local residents read about the conflicting viewpoints in the news it could cause mistrust in the institutions, which is another audience constraint.
31 Hird (1994) gives an example of apathy coming from the top down during the Love Canal episode : Critics believe that Hooker Chemical Company, which originally discarded They argue the comp any was actually forced in 1953 to deed the site over to the local school board, which later sold the site to a residential developer, despite repeated warnings from Hooker. They clai m that further follow up studies at Love Canal turned up no evidence of abnormal le vels In short, some cr itics contend the program is a (pg. 27). In the previous example, the events generated accusations that the Superfund zardous waste of taxpayer money ude of health risks addressed by Superfund Because of this publicized apathy, citizens started to doubt the program altogether. A common suggestion in reducing the possibility of audience apathy is to communicate the information to those most at risk first (Sly, 2000). In doing this, communicators must be sure not to manipulate the message in a way that makes it untruthful or dishonest (Lundgren and McMakin, 1998). Mistrust of Risk A ssessment A third c assessment. Risk assessment is defined as the systematic process of determining the risk associated with something, i.e. Superfund sites. Tal (1997) surveyed 17 national and 16 local en vironmental grou ps to measure their attitudes toward risk assessment. Of those surveyed, more than 75 percent felt risk ass essment was undemocratic and le d to regulatory delays. Five percent of respondents felt that risk assessment was biased toward the or ganization and therefore underestimated risk meaning that public mistrust of risk assessment regarding Superfund sites is a plausible cause for concern
32 There are various ways risks are assessed with hazardous waste sites and each has major limita tions that three main ways the EPA assesses risks associated with Superfund sites are animal bioassays, human epidemiology and popular epidem iology. A nimal bioassays are used to try to show the link between human exposure and controlled chemical dose ingested by animals (frequently mice or rats) an d any associated health effects this process in volves at least two sets of animals, the control group and another group that will be given various levels of carcinogens or whichever chemical is present at the site. The animals are then kept (sometimes for several years) in controlled living conditions to isolate the effects. A lthough thes e bioassays are the most common scientific technique used to determine whether a substance is carcinogenic, there are many limitations. This first problem is that the animals are usually given an unusually high maximum tolerated dose of the chemical at hand. This chemical concentration may over exaggerate the exposure for residents near the site. Another obvious problem is that the animals being tested are lifestyle s and diet can play a part i n how they react to the chemical. So, in sum, it is hard to verify anything from the results of animal bioassays. The second risk assessment technique commonly used by the EPA is human epidemiology. This process includes collecting healt h data from different areas with different levels of exposure to a specific hazard and identifying any differences. As with animal bioassays, there are also problems with epidemiolog ical risk assessment. The
33 main problem is that the data cannot be used to investigate chemicals that are new or that have long latency periods because epidemiology only includes observed exposures and outcomes. Another problem with the methodology is that it cannot predict the amount of the chemical people were exposed to and th erefore cannot be accurately determin ed Finally popular epidemiology, the process in which residents observe and report unusu ally high rates of disease in a community near the site, is a form of risk assessment that involves the public But again, as with all asses sments, popular epidemiology may lead to inaccurate information because high levels of disease concentrated in a sma ll area may happen by chance. Therefore, this form of risk assessment has the potential to cause alarm and contradict what the EPA and other agencies are stating as the associated risk Even with the technical issues and uncertainty that plague risk asse ssment, the main problem lies in the communication of the risk. There is too often an overriding search for a single numerical estimate of risk. Individuals want to know whether they should eat butter or margarine. Policy makers want to know which of the two chemicals is riskier. Risk assessment is cheapened and sometimes downright misleading when a single number is used to characterize an envir onmental or public health risk (Hird, 1994, pg. 47). Therefore, one of the best practices in risk communication is to account for uncertainty during the whole communication process If the audience knows the limitations and what they mean, the risk assessment may be seen as more transparent and trustworthy.
34 Generally the EPA and other similar agencies try to acco unt for the uncertainty by overstating the risk (Hird, 1994) For example, when measu ring exposure of dioxins in soil, the EPA may base the risk assessment on an average sized male eating soil every day for 30 years. Of course, a normal resident who lives near a Superfund site probably does no t eat dirt so in a sense the risk is overstated. Just as there are implications for under stating the risk, there are also implications for overstating it. One example of this was the 1989 scare related to Alar, the commercial name for daminozide, a chemical that was sprayed on apples. Scientists have come to the consensus that the risks invol ving the chemical were very small and that the previous tests proving carcinogenicity were due to the genetic composition of the mouse strains used. However, b ecause this story received so much publicity, the EPA banned the chemical costing the apple indu stry about $125 million in profits As a result, families involved in the industry suffered. This example showed that even overstating a risk can cause problems. Agencies therefore have to be careful about how the information is obtained and how the resul ts are weighed against other factors (e.g. I n the Alar example it would have helped to weigh the health benefits of eating apples against the health risks of the chemicals ). This constraint may be overcome by familiarizing the audience with the definitio n of risks and also the study methods used in the risk assessment. M istrust in the science and a perception of low credibility of the organization may also lead to this audience constraint (Nisbet and Scheufele, 2012; Weigold, 2001; Law, 2013; and Haarstad 2012).
35 Disagreement on Acceptable Magnitude of Risk The fourth common audience constraint occurs when there is disagreement about how much risk is acceptable For example, dioxin levels that are seen as tolerable This phenomenon occurs because the public often sees risk as or nothing proposition and McMakin, 199 8, pg. 54). This means the audience may view any level of risk as unacceptable, even if the organization believes otherwise (Hance, Chess and Sandman, 1998; and Chess, Sandman and Greenberg, 1990). The media also may play a role in intensifying the disag reement about the magnitude of risk. Hird (1994) points out that popular books such as the infamous Silent Spring (1989) also found that the New York Times devoted three times more n ews coverage t o air pollution in 1986 than it had in 1954 and 12 times more coverage to the hazards of solid waste during the same period Because of this, members of the public were more aware of the hazards that might be in their own backyards. However, experts generally rate the risk of environmental hazards such as Superfund sites as low. Henderson, Ross and Pike (1991) concluded environmental pollution is a major cancer risk is inco rrect ore, Gough (1989) calculated that even if the EPA were to eliminate all cancer risks from environmental sources, the annual cancer mortality rate would decrease only by about 0.25 to 1.3 perc ent. Ames, Magaw and Gold (1987 nt not or saturated fat, by the pursuit of hundreds o f minor or nonexistent hazards
36 1994, pg. 64). A former EPA official even said that in the context of Su perfund sites, Another example of the news media playing contributing to disagreement pertains to adding debate within the stories meaning that in an effort to be balanced the reporter will generally pi t two sides against each other in each story about controversy Sandman, Miller, Johnson and Weinstein (1993) found that news stories filled with debate and controversy lead to higher risk perception by the public as opposed to news stories without thi s conflict. The more the debates between the public and the experts are publicized, the more the audience constraint may hinder risk communication efforts of all agencies involved. Another former EPA official responded to news reports to hope that over time the weight of professional opinion will start bringing people around. . and at some point, newspaper reporters will be embarrassed about writing scar e stories about Superfund sites It is important to point o ut that there are fundamental reasons for these disagreements, and to be familiar with the reasoning may help risk communicators better overcome the differences. There are generally two explanations T he first is that disagreement stems from the l ack of scientific knowledge This belief holds that if the public could just understand the numbers as scientists do, a problem exist (Hird, 1994) H owever, this explanation assumes that the preferences of the public and those assessing the risk a re the same. But, on the other hand, s tates that the public is not a t all misinformed or irrational. Instead, populists believe members of the public simply include more factors in their person al risk assessment than the experts do These factors include dread, distribution of risk, the
37 voluntariness of exposure etc. Voluntariness is particularly important because people often dread those things over which they feel they have no control In the Koppers exam ple, although risk ass essors were looking at the dioxin concentrations in the soil, they may not have taken into consideration how the people who live d near the site interact ed with the soil (i.e. gardening or young children playing). Again, just as with the previous audience constraint, familiarizing the audience with the data may help communicator s overcome this common problem. In additio n, the technical risk assessors from agencies such as the EPA and Health Department, also need to communication efforts (Claire, 2007; Atenstaedt et. al 2010). Lack of Faith in Science and Institutions Lack of faith in science and institutions is another common audience constraint. K asperson (1986) showed that there was decreasing confidence in industry and government officials near the time the Superfund program started L ack of confidence in s cience and their institutions has also been a salient theme among publics ( Weigold, 2001; Nisbet and Scheufele, 2012; Haarstad 2012 ; Law, 2013 ). This audience constraint must be examined particularly in relation to the botched history of Superfund It is important to back track to see how the law came to be, in order to gain perspective as to why the public and policymakers may not trust Superfund Hird (1994) wrote that the EPA was boasting that it was later, began pushing for a diminished federal regulatory role, policymakers and the public started to doubt the law. Congressional investigators in 1983 found that the EPA had negotiated settlements
38 favorable to polluters to avoid litigation. Critics claimed this action slowed Superfund remedial efforts (Hird, 1994). However, the most publicized critique of the EP A was that it only successfully remediated six sites in its first four years. Because of this, Democratic Representative James Florio in 1985 concluded that at that pace, it would take 1,500 years to clean up the projected 2,000 sites. In 1991, a nother observer who remained anonymous during a personal interview told Hird (1994) that the Su perfund law had been almost destroyed due to politicization (Hird, 1994, pg. 11). Likewise, Superfund ] started to stabilize, something else Because the lack of faith was essential ly stemming from politicization among the agencies involved Hird (1994) a rgued that the public may have shared some of these Superfund is a slow moving program may have been cause d by the average 12 year cleanup time. Therefore, i f the organization is aware that the public does not have absolute confidence in it organization officials must make an effort to change this negative stigma (Peters, Covello, and McCallum, 1997). On thi s point, the EPA historically has also fallen short Bruce Diamond, former head of the Superfund enforcement section noted : EPA seems to be tongue happening. When I say there are 350 sites in long term construction for number. When I say . more than 2,000 emergen cy actions have been taken over the last few years, practically no one has heard that. When I heard of that. They ha author of OTA studies], they have heard the complaining about the liability
39 scheme, but they have neve (Hird, 1994, pg. 30). The use of better communication methods might Cross (2011) conducted a case study of communication practices regarding a hazardous waste site in Europe called Manywells and found th at public trust in the agencies involved was generally low. The main reason was that eco nomic motives not public interest, were perceived to be the main goal of the agencies. Although Cross (2011) asserted this insight, the study involved interviews among memb ers of the agencies responsible for communicating the risks and not audience memb ers. Therefore it is important to look at audience constraint s from the perspective of the public to g ain a better understanding of whether the lack of faith in science and i nstitutions was present in this case study and, if so where it stemmed from in order to better understand how to mitigate it. Scrudato, Wunderlich and Weston (1999) conducted a survey of various abandoned and inactive hazardous waste sites during their remediation period s and found that most of the dec isions regarding the cleanup were made with very little public input They concluded that, t his ineffective form of communication can lead to distrust and delays or changes in the remediation proce ss a l 1999, pg. 31). Based on the lack of public participation Oleckn o (1995) suggested that effective risk oriented public that is collaborative, reasonable, and thoughtful. Effective risk communication should also focus on informing citizens, increasing pub lic trust, and developing allies in attaining
40 Risk C ommunication and the EPA Risk communication began to gain more importance to the Environmental Protection Agency after the passage of the National Envir onmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 (Rahm Crites, 1996). Furthermore, the 1978 Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA identified two parts of risk communication to pay particular attention to message development (making the message accessible to laypeople) and public participation (Rahm Crites, 1996). The exact text of NEPA states appropriate graphics so that decision makers and the public c an readily understand Crites, 1996, pg. 1). In regard to Superfund sites, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthor ization Act (SARA) of 1986 made community relations a mandatory step in the remedial investigation and res ponse (Rahm Crites, 1996). But these efforts have not always seem ed proficient to the public involved. Risk C ommunication and the Alachua County Health Department The Alac hua County Health Department pos t ed s everal press releases and risk reports about the site using the b est science, a But conflicting views on the validity o f these messages and reports about the Koppers Superfund were present in news articles published in the Gainesville Sun. An article published in 2012 reported that the health department had come to the conclusion that However the next paragraph quoted an attorney fighting a $10 million law suit against Koppers as saying data were too limite d to provide definitive results
41 2012, para. 21). These preliminary observations showed that the risk communication efforts of the Alachua County Health Department needed to be analyzed to see from where these data discrepancies stemmed Like the EPA, the Alachua County H ealth Department also implemented a community involvement plan, but instead of including goals specific to one risk or health problem, it has a general pl . m ty ownership and responsibility Plan, 2012). Best practices in Risk C ommun ication Although there are multiple approaches to risk communication, which vary by organization type and purpose (Lundgren and McMakin, 1998), there are several key values that are necessary for risk communication to be successful, no matter which approa ch an organization decides to use (Sellnow, et al., 2009). These values are seen to environmental and health risks. These best practices serve as a blueprint to help organizations overcome some of the reasons for poor communication being disseminated by agencies and communicators. Although each of the audience constraints mentioned previously can contribute to problems in the risk communication process, there are also other reasons for poor communication stemming from the institutions themselves Cross (2011) summarized the key problems he found in his evaluation of risk communication in a similar case study in Europe. Cross (2011) looked at risk communication fro perspective and found eight common problems for poor risk communication: poor
42 management and use of available expertise and experience, being unwilling to communicate, inadequate management of the risk communication process, the process bein g poorly defined, communication being seen as an unnecessary cost, the and inadequate resources. Although some of these common problems are inevitabl e the be st practi ces described below may help steer the communication process in the right direction and even help mitigate some of the audience constraints. Treating Risk Communication as a P rocess Treating risk communication as a process is one of the best practic es identified in the literature because the concept of risk is a dynamic process in itself, as is the basic concept of communication ( Schotten feld, 2008; Sellnow, et a l., 2009 ). Berlow (1997) found that when communic ation is seen as a process, the elements o f interactivity, dynamism and adaptability are brought to the forefront. But the concept of risk is changing as Pale iscussions of risk refer to (a) the likelihood that some harmful event will occur and (b) the chance that i t will harm the These attributions can change as time goes by, which is why risk communication efforts need to be constantly changing. Kasperson et al. (1988) explain ed the process of the changing perception using the Social Amplification of Risk (SARF) model which states that, A s information about risk flows down the communication path, it is amplified, filtered and reorganized along each step of the way. These distortions are magnified at each step and th rough feedback along the communication path. This dynamic process creates higher order distortions that produce ripple effects which can greatly alter public per c eptions of risk (Whitmore and Choi, 2010, pg. 2).
43 For this reason, risk communication should not be a static process, and instead efforts must be evaluated at every step of the way; the intended audience must also be able to provide feedback to assist in communication evaluation. The EPA (1988) posed seven cardinal rules up on which it bases its risk communication process: Accept and involve the public as a legitimate partner. Plan carefully and evaluate your efforts Be honest, frank and open Coordinate and collaborate with other credible sources Meet the needs of the media Speak clearly and with compassion The remaining best practices are a part of treating risk communication as a process. Accounting for U ncertainty Another popular best practice in risk communication is accounting for uncertainty in the apparent risk. Although testing and research may be conducted by the EPA, the health department and the responsible party to quantify these risks, limitations always exist, which contributes to uncertainty. One example of possible uncertainty in a Superfun d Sunstei n (1993) said es no scientific determi nations 13) ; the perceptions of risks b y the experts and by the lay public could be very different Furthermore, Cross (2010) found that one of the major problems in dealing with uncertainty was t he empirical evidence that cont (fortunately) limited. By contrast, the scientific evidence that contaminated land
44 is well established site i nvestigation may be a problem because of inconclusive data. T he audience may need to be educated as to what uncertainty means in scienc e so that it can understand that uncertainty credible. Sellnow et al. (2009) found that, given the inherently dynamic and uncertain nature of risk, messages are most accurate and effective when they are stated in equivocal terms . remaining equivocal in risk messages means acknowledging that uncertainty exists and framing me ssages w ithin that inherent uncertainty (pg. 23). Sometimes pressures to frame the mes sage with absolute certainty may inhibit risk communicators from incorporating this practice and may be problematic. A s previously stated in the audience constraints sec may cause hostili ty and outrage (Lundgren and McMakin, 1998, pg. 51). Taking Demographic Characteristics into C onsideration D esigning risk messages to be culturally sensitive is another best practice in risk communic define the target audience when in reality, multiple audiences should be considered In addition, there is too often a focus on the elite audience ( those who hold leadership pos itions in agencie s ) in risk and crisis communication research and being audience centered has not been the focus of previous risk communication ( Weick, 1988, 1995 ; Slovic, 1986; Covello, 1992, 2003; Barton, 1993; Benoit, 1995, 1997; Heath, 1997, 2001; Seeger et al., 1998, 2003; Lindell and Perry, 2004;). But research from the advertising and public relations fields ( Fink, 1986; Leanna et al.,1992; Leitch and Neilson, 2001; and M cMahan et al., 1998) show s that age, gender, education lev el and socio eco nomic status might affect how individuals respond to a message, and
45 therefore these factors must be examined prior to disseminating a message (Savage, 1997). Sellnow, et al. (2009) s aid involves adapting the location and form of messag es to fit the preference and media consumption patterns of the target and type of media used can affect risk perception s (Ayers and Myers, 2012; and Callanan, 201 2). I n addition research suggests that the ge neral public reads at an eighth grade level or lower, so messages that fit within this context may be better understood (Sellnow, et. al, 2009). To agencies must know how to distinguish between different audience types. Pere lman and Olbrechts Tyteca (1958; 1971) provide d one theoretical framework for framing messages that will work with the intended audience. The model they use d distinguishes between two type s of audiences : the universal and the particular audience. According to Pere lman and Olbrechts Tyteca (1958; 1971) audience] consists of the whole of mankind, or at least, of all normal, adult persons. . The second consists of the sing le interlocutor whom a representative of those who are similar to those presenting the messages. Therefore, the message presenter believes that if s/he understand s the mess age, others will too. Olbrechts Tyteca (1971) conclude s speaker at each moment, there exists an audience transcending all others, which cannot easily be forced within the bounds of a particular a 30). This suggests that as the risk messages are being constructed, particular audiences can
46 emerge. This links directly back to treating risk communication as a process, which was another best practice. Unfortunately, designated spokespeople too often t ake on a universal audience perspective and construct messages to be relatable to the general public. Sellnow, et al (2009) explain that this tendency : R isk communicators must construct their messages to take into account he context of interacting arguments, this construction helps the risk communicator to be more persuasive as the multiplicity of arguments resonates differently with the various publics receiving the messages. Similarly, multiple publics within the particul ar audience require preparing messages in accordance with how these publics ar e conditioned to receive them (pg. 36). Another framework for taking multiple audiences into consideration focuses on the spheres of ethnocentricity (Littlefield and Cowden, 2006). The spheres of ethnocentricity were community, region state, meaning messages can differ between these spheres. (Sellnow, et al. 2009, pg. 39). It is important for the risk communicator to know how these spheres interact to understand how the messages will come across to the target audience. Sarbaugh (1979 from Sellnow, et al. pg. 44 45 ) summed up why taking audie nce characteristics into consideration is important by concluding: The more diverse the publics, the less efficient a single spokesperson will be in communicating a risk or crisis message. If spokespeople do not share a common code system (both verbal and nonverbal) or have a mechanism for translating into a common code with the particular publics, then the desired goal of communicating the seriousness of a risk or crisis becomes less likely. If the relationship between the spokesperson and public is percei ved to be friendly and helpful, the participants more likely will respond positively and follow the instructions for dealing with the crisis. Conversely, if the relationship has a
47 hostile, dominant, disruptive tone, the less likely the participants will re spond as instructed. If the intent shifts from helping to disrupting, there will be resistance to the risk or crisis message. The more heterogeneous the relationship between the spokesperson and the diverse public, the greater the probability for communica tion difficulties. If two participants have different patterns of beliefs and behaviors, they will respond differently to communication messages. If participants do not know and accept the normative beliefs and behaviors, the difficulty in carrying out the transaction increases and probability of communication breakdown increases. The greater the difference in worldview, the more difficult it will be for a single spokesperson to convey the severity of the risk or crisis. Acknowledge Diverse Levels of Risk T olerance The next best practice is to acknowledge diverse levels of risk tolerance (Sellnow, et al, 2009). Covello and Johnson ( 1987 ) sta te d meaning different people have different tolerance for risks (p. viii). Furthermore, in the case of environmental and health risks as is the case with a Superfund site, risk is determined by scientific data. The capacity to process this data is dependent on the individual, and therefore messages need to cater toward these capacities. However risk communicators must be careful not t o st ereotype the public as ignorant or unable to pro cess the information at all, therefore dismiss ing their concerns altogether. Morgan, Fischo ff and Bostrom (2001) state d that when the public senses these perceptual stigmas risk communication efforts ma y become more difficult. This goes hand in hand with the audience constraint of presenting messages as too positive leading to hostility and outrage. Another problem is the social amplification of risks that
48 may occur via media reports or word of mouth causing the public perception of risk to be mismatched with what the scientific evidence suggests ( Kasperson, et al. 1988 ). The social amplification of risk refers to the phenomenon in which absorption of media reports and social interactions cause their perception of risk to be far greater than what the scientific data or the communicating organization suggests. This mean s t hat at various times during the steps to remediation of a hazardous w aste site, the public may percei ve the risks differently than the organizations in charge so the organization needs to frame its messages in a way that caters to the different stages (C ross, 2010). This step goes hand in hand with treating risk communication as a p rocess In conclusion, risk communication must not only rely on what research says but for the public, the perception of the risk is re ality (Cross, 2010). In addition, organizations may benefit from taking the technical, reputational and economic risks into consideration because various key audiences will look at the risks differently (Cross, 2010). In essence as part of treating risk communication as a proc ess, an agency must work toward understanding and acknowledging the diverse levels of risk tolerance that change over time and differ among publics. Involving the P ublic Involving the public is also a valuable step in the risk com munication process (Sellnow, et al 2009). Not only is this seen as a best practice, but also a responsibility for companies liable for communicating risks (Kasperson et al., 1988 ). In the case of Superfund sites, grassroots advocacy groups had a historical impact on making public
49 involvement a requirement of the law. These environmental groups successfully added to SARA a Title III right to know provision requiring industry to provide local residents with information about which chemicals they use and dispose of, and a small grants program to fund technical studies for local interest groups to interpret and possibly challenge EP d cleanup strategies (Hird, 1994, pg. 13). requires EPA to respond to all significant public comments, particularly in the remedy selection phase, although many local communities still feel left out of cleanup decisio ns 994, pg. 14). The law also states that before remediation occurs, a Community Relations Plan must be in action (Hird, 1994). The United States Office of Technology Assessment the agency responsible for giving objective analyses on technical informatio n was historically one of Superfund worst critics. It claim ed that EPA catered to the interests of the Potentially Responsible Parties, rather than the interests of community members (Hird, 1994; and Cross, 2010). It also said cleanup decisions were based on faulty technical assumptions (Hird, 1994). Atenstaedt et al (2010) said a best practice for the agency in terms of involving the public in cludes humanizing the process to create relationships among stakeholders and experts. In other words, a ctiv ities such as risk sharing and decision making will help further community involvement (Reynolds and Seeger, 2005 ). Leiss ( 2001 ) posed forums, focus groups, and in this era of technology, social media may all serve as tools to involve the public. It is equally important for agencies to include elected o fficials into the process because their voice s will disseminate messages to the local community (Cross, 2010).
50 Present Messages with H onesty Another best practice that spans both risk and crisis communication is to present messages with honesty (Sellnow, et al 2009; Johnson and Slovic, 1995; and Seeger, 1996). Because distrust of an organization may lead to anger and hostility, which is a major constraint of risk communication, acting with dishonesty could potentially anger publics and render the communication efforts ineffective. Sometimes the pressure on an organiza tion to gain support from the public inhibits honest and open communication (Morgan et al., 2001 ). Risk communicators, however, must be c areful in presenting their messages in an honest way because manipulating information to gain support initially can prove to backfire in the long run. This can be a difficult best practice to evaluate because the perception of whether or not a message is h onest is based on the individual interpreting that message However, it is possible to analyze the perception of what was honest and if the agency was successful in creating the perception that its messages were honest. Include a Variety of Credible S ources Making an effort to collaborate and coordinate risk information from a variety of credible sources is also another best practice. It is important that these messages be consistent without portraying conflicting information. Contradictory i nformation may lead to confusion and even distrust which are lethal to risk communication efforts. It is important to note that these best practices do not serve as a step by step procedure, but rather are necessary elements to aid in the success of any r isk communication plan (Sellnow, et al., 2009). Based on the best practices and audience constraints explained in the previous sections, the following research questions were posed.
51 Research Q uestions RQ1: Who were the key players in the risk communicati on pr ocess in the case of the Kopper s Superfund site? RQ2: Did the key players use best practices in their risk communication efforts regarding the Koppers Superfund site? What were the strengths and challenges of the risk communication efforts ? RQ3: What were the main messages disseminated by the various key players regarding Koppers Superfund site? RQ4 : W hat audience constraints if any, could have hindered the effectiveness of the risk communication effor ts of the various key players?
52 Table 2 1. Supe rfund steps toward cleanup (Hird, 1994). Superfund steps toward cleanup 1. Remedial investigation and feasibility study (to deter mine how cleanup should occur) 2. Record of decision (ROD, decision on how cleanup is to be conducted) 3. Remedial design (details of cleanup plan, equipment used, etc.) 4. Remedial action (actual cleanup) 5. Construction completed 6. Delisting from the NPL Table 2 2 Nine cleanup criteria for Superfund site s from National Contingency Plan Nine cleanup criteria for Superfund sites from National Contingency Plan Threshold criteria 1. Protection of h uman health and the environment 2. Compliance with applicable or relevant and appropriate regulations (ARA Rs) Primary balancing criteria 3. Long term effectiveness 4. Reduction of toxicity, mobili ty, or volume through treatment 5. Short term effectiveness 6. Implementability 7. Cost Modifying criteria 8. State acceptance 9. Community acceptance
53 Table 2 3. Contaminants and possible health effects associated with Koppers Contaminant Health risks Arsenic Gastrointestinal effects, central and peripheral nervous system disorders, carcinogenic Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Birth defects, damage to the skin, body fluids and immune system, carcinogenic Dioxins/furans Changes in hormone levels, chloracne, changes to fetus development and other birthing problems, suppressed immune system, carcinogenic EPA (2013) Table 2 4 Common outrage factors and guidelines Common outrage factors Guidelines 1. Catastrophic outcomes 2. Dreaded outcomes 3. Fatal outcomes 4. Invisible risk 5. Involuntary risks 6. Memorable outcomes 7. Untrustworthy sources 8. Risks focused in time and space 9. Uncertain risks 10. Uncontrollable risks 11. Undetectable risks 12. Unethical risks 13. Unfair risks 14. Unfamiliar risks 15. Unnatural risks 1. Be honest 2. Distinguish between fact and opinions 3. Explain how to manage the risk (do not tell them to simply not worry or to not be upset) can be seen as pat ronizing 4. Be careful in making risk comparisons tailor them to the target audience 5. Share decision making responsibility 6. Seek a balance in presenting technical information (Oleckno, 1995)
54 CHAPTER 3 METHOD The purpose of this study was two fold. The first goal of this study was to identify whether the EPA and the Alachua County Health Department as well as other key players, followed best practices as described in the risk communication literature. Because revealing the other key players was one of the research questions, they are discussed in detail, in the results section. The second goal of this study was to describe resident s perceptions of the ris k communication efforts of the EPA and the Alach ua County Health Department as well as any other key players in the communication process (i.e. community advocacy groups) and which audience constraints (hostility/outrage, lack of faith in scientific/government institutions, mistrust of risk assessment, disagreement on the acceptable magnitude of risk, apathy, learning hindrances) were present This study used a two step qualitative approach: a combination of content analysis of news articles and official documents a s well as in depth interviews with t he affected public and communication leaders from the organizations. This method was chosen because this interpretive approach can help better un cover the risk perceptions of the local public as well as the efforts by the organization s and how they were po rtrayed in the media ( Geertz, 1973; Wilkins, 1983,1984 ; Weick and Browning, 1986; Pakanowsky, 1988; Herndon and Kr eps, 2001) Researching text, artifacts, and analyzing full accounts of public perception s can reveal data that a survey may not due to its clo se d ended nature (Deetz, 1982; Fish, 1990; Koch and Deetz, 1981; Kreps, 1995; Manning, 1979; Martin and Powers, 1983; Pettigrew, 1979; and Putnam and Pacanowsky, 1983). Although analysis was conducted based on the risk communication
55 literature, an open cod ing technique was used, in that t he researcher analyzed text s for preexisting themes from the literature, but also kept an open eye for any other insights that were not found in previous research From the audience perspective, comments, letters to the editor and any personal postings on activist blogs were analyzed to see wh ich audience constraints were present. In addition, selected residents of the Stephen Foster community were interviewed with a focus on their perception s of the risk communication efforts of these communications personnel leading the efforts were also interviewed Q uestions were formulate d in a way that revealed whether best practices identified in the literature were used by the Alachua County Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency The efforts of these organizations were compared to the best practices in the crisis com munication literature to see if any gaps exist ed Table 3 1 below summarizes the audience constraints presented in the literature as well as risk communication best practices and how they are connected. Sample The content analyzed included the risk comm unication plans of the EPA and the Alachua County healt h department, any other reports regarding the site, as well as local Koppers Superfund Site without any dates stipulated, was conducted and yielded 21 official reports by the EPA. Because none of the reports generated by the Alachua County Health Department were located in this search, a total of 10 reports regarding the site were retrieved from the
56 website. Both communication plans were also retrieved by askin g public relations personnel from each organization for a copy. Electronic copies were received. To o btain a sample of news articles and letters to the edi tor a search was conducted on Gainesville.com, the website as well as the database Access World News Superfund site, with no dates stipulated. This method was used so the researcher could obtain information about the site as far back as it went. Online articles were available as far back as 1995, with the most recent article analyzed being from 2013. The original search yielded a total of 178 ne ws articles, but after irrelevant and dup licate articles were eliminated, a total of 138 news articles and letters to the editor were retrieved and analyzed. Th e Gainesville Sun was chosen because it was the main newspaper that covered the day to day event s of the site, providing textual information about actions related to the site. Actions, steps and communication efforts of both organizations were coded for, as we The text documents analyzed se rved as a way to check data from interviews in a process called triangulation a process in which the researcher uses multiple methods or multiple forms of data to validate the other s I n this case, the newspaper articles and agency reports provided supple mental information to the in depth interviews. In addition, each newspaper article was coded for important events or milestones during the history of the site (i.e. public meetings being held, decisions that were made, lawsuits filed, etc.). This informati on was then used to formulate a comprehensive historical timeline of the site, which is shown in the results section. This timeline served as a way to give context to the readers and therefore give more insight into the case study holistically.
57 In Depth I nterviews In dep th interviews were conducted with both residents of the Stephen Foster community and with leading communication personnel in the two organizations the EPA and the Alachua County Health Department Upon referral from those personnel, emplo yees from the Alachua County Department of Environmental Health and c itizen members of the TAG group Protect Gainesville Citizens were also interviewed. This technique has been used in many qualitative studies not limited to social sciences but also in hea lth communication and public relations (Aldoory, 2001; Tsetsura, 2011). A nonprobability technique called judg mental, or snowball sampling was used where the researcher chose respondents based on their rel evancy to the study, in this case residents from the Stephen Foster community as well as communications personnel from the organizations involved (Babbie, 2012). First, the researcher found information from the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association online to c ontact some key residents. Next, the researcher obtained contact information from Gainesville Sun reporters for residents they had previously interviewed. After making initial contact with the first residents, the researcher obtained from those residents c ontact information for neighbors and fri ends interested in being interviewed a technique called snowball sampling (Babbie, 2012). The researcher also obtained interview participants by placing flyers in nearby businesses and going door to door around the site. For the organizational interviews, the researcher obtained contact information for to obtain permission to interview. Personnel from the city of Gainesville refused to be interviewed and did not give an explanation as to why In addition, no response was
58 ever received from Beazer East representatives. All interviews were recorded with the for coding Interview Questions a nd Validity To eliminate items such as leading questions that could inhibit objectivity of the interview the researcher conducted a series of three s ample interviews with classmates During this process, the researcher was able to eliminate leading questions. From the simulations, the framework of questions was finalized as open ended and exploratory, allowing reflection on personal experiences without allowing the preconc eived responses to seep into the interview. Gaskell (2000) stated that an in to 45). Also, an interview relies on both what interviewers and interviewees talk about, and how the dialogue flows (Charmaz, 2006). So, to ensure the naturalness of an in depth interview, the semi structured question guide used questions as topics to address the goal of initiating conversation and maintaining conversation flow The researcher intended to conduct between 20 and 25 interviews. In the end, a total of 20 interviews were conducted. Residents were asked questions pertaining to their experience with the Koppers communication efforts. Residents were also asked if they had received infor mation from other or ganizations, su ch as community advocacy groups or the responsible polluter. Some example questions are listed below. How are you associated with the Koppers Superfund site?
59 Talk to me a bout how you learned about the S uperfund site? Do you remember about when that was? Have you been regularly updated on the progress of cleanup? What types of notifications did you receive and from which types of organizations? Please see Appendix A for full question guide. Personnel from the organizations responsible for co mmunicating the risks to residents were also interviewed using a separate semi structured interview guide, w hich can be found in Appendix A These questions were based on the best practices in the risk communication literature and were geared toward reveal ing whether or not these best practices were used. In some instances, the interviewees fell under both the category of resident and communicator, and in those cases, both question guides were used. It is important to note here that those who fell under th e category of residents and communicators may have belonged to a grassroots organization and may have not been expected to follow best practices (or know what they were). However, they were still asked questions similar to those asked by official agency pe rsonnel for the purpose of getting a thorough view of all communication efforts. Sample personnel questions can be found below. When did you start getting involved with Koppers Superfund site and how? Does the organization What are some of the strategies you use to communicate uncertainties to laypeople, for example the Stephen Foster residents? In addition, a sample int erview can be found in Appendix B.
60 Coding Process Transcribed interviews newspaper articles, reports and communications plans were coded for recurring messages, constraints and best practices. The researcher coded sentence by sentence and recorded the the mes in an electronic qualitative data analysis system, Dedoose. While using Dedoose, the researcher selected excer pts from the text and determined which codes were represented in the excerpt. The Dedoose program facilitated analysis of code co occurrence b y providing charts that show ed the frequency with which each code was identified in the same excerpts as another code. A code co occurrence chart enabled the researcher to determine which other codes most frequently were identified in the sam e excerpts as for instance, the audience constraint hostility and outrage. Dedoose also has an op enabled the researcher to see a specific excerpt within the original text where it appeared; these features enhance d ability to develop a fuller understanding of the contexts in wh ich various themes and codes were discussed in the original materials. In addition, the data were constantly compared and coded for emergent themes, and data collection was treated as a constan t process. Once the researcher hit saturation, finding no new emergent themes, a formal codebook was designed. Every interview was then coded again, paying close attention to the formal codebook, which can be found in Appendix C. Qualitative Content Analy sis According to Hertog and McLeod (2 001) qualitative content analysi s aim s at informed writings or discussions, depth or focus interviews, and ethnography (p. 147). As previously stated, text (newspaper articles and official records and repor ts) was
61 analyzed as well as in depth interviews of residents of the Stephen Foster community and personnel from t he EPA, Alachua County Health Department and other key communications players In this study, the text from newspapers, communications plans an d other official reports served as a supplement to in depth interviews, and also as a check for validity in a process called triangulation, or, a mixed method approach to research (Rothbauer, 2008). Rothbauer, (2008) posited that triangulation may be used to ensure that the topic under study is best analyzed with a variety of research methods. The newspaper articles and official documents were specifically used to create an in depth timeline of the Koppers case study as well as to supplement interviews for how residents felt and for the actions of communications pe rsonnel. By obtaining multiple perspectives, the researcher was able to get a more accurate understanding of the case study. For the text analyses, each piece was read sentence by sentence, just as was done with the in depth interviews Then each part of the text was grouped into excerpts in the electronic program Dedoose Excerpts were grouped together using the same messages, best practices and audience constraint codes as portrayed in the codebo ok which can be found in Appendix C After the researcher reached saturation, a formal codebook was made and each article that had already been coded was analyzed again using the codebook. Next, the researcher went code by code and analyzed the grouped ex cerpts for each theme to see them in context and how they were related. Other than the notion of best practices and audience constraints stated in the literature no pre determined themes were used. Using this inductive method, themes emerged from careful reading of the text, as well as reading carefully the transcribed interviews.
62 Text and interviews were both analyzed using an online qualitative analysis program, Dedoose. A complete version of the final codeb ook can be found in Appendix C
63 Table 3 1. Risk communication audience constraints and best practices Possible audience constraints Best practices to consider Hostility/outrage Involving the public, attention to demographics, attention to diverse risk tolerance levels, honesty, accounting for uncertainty, treating risk communication as a process, including a variety of credible sources Lack of faith in scientific/government organizations Honesty, involving the public, treating risk communication as a process, accounting for uncertainty Mistru st of risk assessment Involving the public, treating risk communication as a process, honesty, accounting for uncertainty, using a variety of credible sources, attention to diverse risk tolerance levels. Disagreement on the acceptable magnitude of risk Involving the public, treating risk communication as a process, honesty, accounting for uncertainty, using a variety of credible sources, attention to diverse risk tolerance levels. Apathy Involving the public, treating risk communication as a process, ho nesty, accounting for uncertainty, using a variety of credible sources, attention to diverse risk tolerance levels. Learning hindrances Taking demographics into consideration, accounting for uncertainty, involving the public, attention to diverse levels o f risk tolerance
64 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Overall, the researcher conducted 20 in depth interviews. Ten residents were included, as well as 3 communications personnel (one from the Alachua County Health Department, one from the EPA and one from the Alachua County Environmental Protection Departmen t). One Alachua County environmental educator was also included because she was familiar with the topic. In order to get a variety of perspectives, it was important to include those who actively sought information about the site and those that who and including someone who taught students about the subject was appropriate in order to get a range of viewpoints. The remaining six interviews were residents who also participated in communication efforts, either by choice, or because they received grants from the EPA and other sources to do so. These six residents were asked questions from both question guides (both for residents and personnel) because they had both received information and disseminated it. In addition, a total of 138 Gainesville Sun new s articles and letters to the e ditor were analyzed. The analysis also included 16 Alachua County Department of Health reports, five letters from the EPA that were sent to the residents, one information sheet from Protect Gainesville Citizens, two letters f rom Beazer East that were sent to the residents, one EPA community involvement plan as well as website content from the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association website. Before examining the research questions, it is important to be familiar with the al most century old history of the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site. While coding, the researcher made a note of important historical events to give the reader adequate background information about the site. In addition, the researcher also made note of any uniqu e
65 characteristics of this case study that were not present in the previous literature. Below, the major events and unique traits of the Cabot/Koppers case study are summarized. Historical Timeline of Koppers The first part of the timeline is from an artic le that was published in the Gainesville Sun. Because some historical documents were not available online, this article provided additional background information (Bruno, 2004, pg. A1). 1 913: The Cabot Carbon part of the 170 acre Superfund site first put into industrial use by Williamson Chemical Co. Williamson later sells to Retort Chemical Co. 1916: Koppers' 90 acre part of the Superfund site opens under American Lumber and Treating Co. of Chicago ownership. The plant preserves wood utility poles an d lumber with creosote. 1945 1966: Cabot Carbon Corp. purchases 34 acres from Retort Chemical, and operates a pine tar and charcoal generation facility for two decades. The process generates 6,000 gallons of crude wood oil and pitch each day. Oi l is discharged into holding ponds and periodically overflows into ditches le ading to Hogtown Creek. 1954: Koppers Co. buys the Gainesville plant operations from American Lumber and Treating Co. 1967: Raymond I. Tassinari buys Cabot Carbon property. Bulldozers run through tar retention pits and spill waste into a drainage ditch that clogs Hogtown Creek w ith black, oily sludge. 1979: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts site investigation of Cabot Carbon property. It dete rmines leachate from the site had detrimental im pacts on Hogtown Creek. 1983: The EPA determines an old lagoon area on Koppers' property is a potential contamination source. EPA lists Cabot Carbon and Koppers properties on its National Priority Lis t, maki ng it a Superfund site. 1988: Beazer East PLC of Britain buys Koppers Co., including its wood treating division. Beazer East PLC then unloads the wood treating division to Koppers Industries Inc. now Koppers Inc. Beazer East then a Beazer East PLC subsidiary, retains Koppers Co.'s environm ental responsibilities.
66 1990: EPA issues its Record of Decision, outlining selected steps for the Superfund site's long term remediation. 1991: Beazer East PLC is acquired by Hanson PLC, a nother Bri tish aggregate company. 1995: Cabot Carbon completes its cleanup requirements as outlined by the EPA. 1995 In August, a four day court hearing was convened scientific testimony in a lawsuit involving contamination at the Koppers/Cabot Carbon claimed that toxic soil dust was to blame for his multiple sclerosi s. Massey had worked at a car dealership, that adjoined one side of the Superfund site in the late 1980s (Staff report, 1995). Earlier that month, prior to the court hearing in Gainesville, the U.S. House of Representatives had proposed federal budget cut s to the Superfund program, 1998 In May of 1998 the search began for two old wells rumored to be contaminated w ater (Magrin, 1998). Just a day after the original Gainesville Sun story ran notifyi ng residents about the search, one of the wells, documented as being deeper than 30 feet, was located (Staff report, 1998). In July, partisan disputes threatened to delay an overhaul of the Superfund para. 2). Additionally, the Clinton administration was asking for $650 million more
67 ree with spending that much money until the overhaul had strengthened the program first (Loughlin, 1998). 2001 In May a public meeting was held in Gainesville to discuss the cleanup of the toxic chemicals on site. The EPA held this meeting to receive public input for proposed from part of the site and a barrier installed to 2001a, para. 3). Howeve r, just one month later in June the Gainesville and Alachua County commissions joined together in telling the EPA that the proposed cleanup plan was inadequate. Commissioners said the EPA plan puts city drinking water at risk, ignores toxic goo in a nearby creek and condemns the 170 acre site to industrial use even though it is surrounded by neighborhoods. They also said they favored cleanup alternatives that would cost up to three times more than the $17.3 million fix favored by the EPA. County Commissioner Penny Wheat said the EPA plan would leave Gainesville with a "time bomb." "This is not a cleanup plan sufficient to meet our community standards," she said (Matus, 200 1b, para. 3 5) and issued an amendment to the 1990 Record of Decision due to the updated and more severe contamination data (Matus, 2001b ). The EPA did not agree with residen ts and local officials and decided that Springstead Creek was not contaminated enough to be cleaned (Matus, 2001c).
68 During the month of August, in an effort to get residents on its side, Koppers, which was still operational at the time, organized a commun ity advisory panel, allowing residents to tour the facility. The perceived honesty and openness temporarily earned the company praise (Matus, 2001d). 2002 In October, results from soil samples of 16 yards of nearby homes showed elevated levels of arsenic. However, the findings were t oo premature to determine if Koppers was to blame for the contamination. That discovery led to more testing (Lockette, 2002). 2003 In February, GRU felt that contaminants were leaching even closer to the Floridan aquifer and t so they called for the With additional testing, wells were installed to provide full coverage of th e wellfield (Bruno, 2003a). But t he city officials publicly stated that there was no immediate danger simply intended to detect any dangers quickly (Bruno 2003a). In April, the drilling of the testing wells began, as did the contin uous testing of the groundwater (Bruno, 2003b) 2004 The wells proved to be effective, and in January, arsenic was detected in two of the testing wells. This was proof that the contamination originally had been underestimated (Rowland, 2004). In March, during an effort to protect the local water supply, Gainesville city officials looked to Washington for help dealing with the site,
69 which had been on the National Priority List since the early 1980s (Bruno, 2004a). In April, U.S Sen. Bill Nelson promised publicly to help expedite the cleanup of the Koppers site (Bruno, 2004d). In July sampling conducted by Beazer East the party responsible financially for cleaning up the site, showed that a different form of the toxic chemica ls had surfaced. Dense non aqueous phase liquids (DNAPL), which are known to sink and not dissolve in water, posed a problem that was more costly and more difficult to tackle than previously thought (Bruno, 2004e). Later that same month, the Sierra Club pu blicly criticized the Bush Administration, stating that Superfund budget cuts were putting millions of Americans at risk for cancer (Bruno, 2004f). In August 2004, officials from Beazer East proposed treatment options for the chemicals that were slowly ma king their way into the aquifer. Proposed plans included injecting cement into the ground to stop chemicals from leaching further, various chemical treatments and recovery wells (Bruno, 2004g). 2005 However, in January, GRU disagreed with the Beazer East proposals saying they were not adequate and were based on containing, rather than removing the pollutants (Adelson, 2005a). Just five months later in June, an official for Beazer East ran an opinion piece in the Gainesville Sun claiming that GRU was ove rstating the risks to the During the whole debate, it seemed as if the EPA was taking sides with GRU and attempting to push Beazer East Beazer East the company that wa s being held responsible for nearly 180 waste sites nationwide, rejected the order by the EPA saying the plan was too expensive and
70 un necessary (Adelson, 2005b). But Beazer East request. Just a few days after the reject ion, the company began installing more monitoring wells, though not as many as required by the EPA. GRU officials expressed anger, saying the EPA should drill and worry about billing the company later (Crabbe, 2005). In August Beazer East gave in and dec pleasing GRU officials. Beazer East officials stated that their plan always had been to move along with the monitoring; they just wanted reassurance that the plan was the right one (Adelson, 2005c). In December 2005, a GRU computer model suggested that the equipment designed by Beazer East to contain the chemicals was only preventing about 38 to 70 percent of creosote from spreading. However pose an immediate threat (Adelson, 20 05d). Beazer East officials contended that the leaking contamination would be degraded by natural processes and there was no greater threat than originally thought. 2006 In February 2006, benzene and naphthalene were both fo und 225 ft. deep below the sit e Beazer East said the quantities were in small enough amounts that they were not a threat and would be naturally degraded (Crabbe, 2006a). In April 2006, Beazer East officials said digging more monitoring wells could make things worse, providing openings for the contaminants, and that there was still no greater risk than originally thought. GRU officials, on the other hand, said that the findings provided more proof that Beazer East needed to conduct more testing (Adelson, 2006b). The dispute continued.
71 2009 In January, new tests showed that rain water runoff leaving the site contained six times more arsenic and 13 times more copper than the state standards. The Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection said that while the chemicals did not pose a threat to human health, they could where much of the rain water is carried (Rolland, 2009a). In March, city officials began to d iscuss the future of the Koppers site, even while it was still an operational wood treatment plant. Officials noted that a blocked off piece of land would be the worst case scenario and an eye sore to the community. They proposed that the best option, if K oppers did close operations, would be a mixed use residential and commercial redevelopment project (Rolland, 2009b). In May, the focus on the pollution from Koppers shifted from the groundwater to the soil. Residents near the site received notices stating that the soil in their yards exceeded state residential standards for dioxin, a carcinogenic chemical (Rolland, soil, to wash all vegetables grown in the yard and to keep chickens in a coop. In June the first large public meeting was held in the Stephen Foster neighborhood, and more than 100 people showed up. The purpose of the meeting was were no plans to clean up offsite soil, partly because Beazer East said the state standards were very conservative anyway and their results showed that there was no reason to go into the neighborhood at that point (Rolland, 2009e). Another meeting was he ld in October to receive public input about the remediation for the site (Curry, 2009a).
72 In December, the city of Gainesville directed GRU to end its contract, to purchase utility poles from Koppers. Later that same month, Koppers decided to end all operations on the site and blamed the closure on the economic downturn (Clark, 2009). During tha t same month, a local nonprofit, Protect Gainesville Citizens was formed. The group received a $50 ,000 technical assistance grant from the EPA to hire a technical advisor who w ould serve as a neutral voice for the public (Curry, 2009b). 2010 In April, seven Gainesville residents sued Koppers, Inc., Beazer East and Cabot Corp. The plaintiffs were seeki ng $500,000 to screen for diseases related to the site and to decontaminate homes they felt were dangerous. Critics of the lawsuit claimed the plaintiffs were simply trying to get the company to pay th em for the high mortgages they had taken o ut during the housing boom. But the plaintiffs claimed to have suffered adverse health effects they blamed on the pollution (Smith, 2010b). (Smith, 2010c). That same month, Beazer East offic ials led interested residents on a tour of the closed Koppers site company was afraid they would be used out of context. The tour came after three proposed solutions for cleanup ; each ended in debate (Smith, 2010d). Also in that same month, the Alachua County Health Department released a health consultation for the off site soil contamination and concluded that there was no significant health risk. In July, the EPA released another cleanup plan that included encasing a mound of the contaminated soil inside a 32 acre expanse. Cleanup plans are usually followed by a 30 day public comment period, but the city commission asked the EPA to give a 60 day extension in part because it disagreed with the plan and wanted time to draft a
73 better version (Smith, 2010e). In August Sen. Bill Nelson met with residents to hear 2011 In January the lawsuit filed by the residents was voluntarily dismissed. In that same month Beazer East sought less stringent cleanup standards for offsite soil contamination. The company wanted to abide by federal standards, which are far less fought back and demand ed the soi l be cleaned up to state standards, which is seven parts per trillion for dioxin (Curry, 2011a). Also during that month, University of Florida faculty members decided to move forward with a health study because some residents saw that the Alachua County H s as inadequate (Smith, 2011a). In February the city voted to urge the EPA to move on with the final cleanup plan, even though it did not agree with every part of it. The mayor at the time comp ared the plan to a Roll ing Stone s classic song: 2011b, pg. B1). Although the city disapproved of containing the contaminants in a mound, mainly because of it being near a residential area, the EPA did order Beazer East to clean up the off site soil to meet state standards, which was seen as a victory by city officials. The city officials also said that time was of the essence and it did not want to prolong the process any longer (Smith, 2011b). However, a few days later the county co mmission urged the EPA to conduct more tests, particularly inside the homes and to provide relocation assistance for any residents found to be living in contami nated houses (Curry, 2011c).
74 In April the Alachua County commission also voted to demand mor e than $43,000 from Beazer East for reimbursement for consulting and testing fees the county had fronted (Curry, 2011d). That same month, a local homeowner sued Bosshardt Realty Services for not disclosing that his home was near the Superfund site (Smith, 2011c). During the next three months, the Alachua County Health Department released several health consultations and community updates regarding the offsite soil contamination and the contamination of the creeks; each report explained that there was no si gnificant health risk, but still cautioned those playing in the creeks or living near the site. In August the Alachua County Health Department held another open house to Later that month Beazer East held a seco nd request, the EPA in October required Beazer East to move forward with indoor dust testing in homes near the Superfund site (Curry, 2011d). 2012 In December 2011 and Ja nuary 2012, the Alachua County Health Department issued another health report and community update regarding the residential soil near the Koppers site and concluded that ingesting small amounts of soil would not cause a significant increase in cancer risk Also in January, the EPA began issuing letters to homeowners letting them know about the upcoming indoor soil t ests (Curry, 2012). In February, the Alachua County Health Department released a cancer report, showing that there were no unusual or elevated instances of cancer in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. In March, the nonprofit that had received the technical assistance grant fro m the EPA, Protect Gainesville C
75 renditio ns of the waste site. It became a traveling exhibit within the EPA (Feldman, 2012). Then, in April, a local citizen w ith a small environmental grant held an eco health festival to teach residents practical things they could to do to be safe near the site, such as taking showers at night before they went to bed (Staff report, 2012). At the same time, the city was considering the possibility of using the site and the surrounding neighborhood as a community redevelopment area, in which property values are froz en for some time while 90 percent of any revenues from increased property values go straight back into the Community Redevelopment Area general fund (Curry, 2012b). In June, the Alachua County Health Department issued anothe r community update explaining the previous cancer report and letting residents know they could expect the results from the indoor dust sampling that fall. 2013 In February another public meeting was held to discuss the remediation agreement, which had be en signed that same month between the EPA, Beazer East and the U.S. Department of Justice. The meeting was the start of the 30 day public comment period. The EPA and DOJ had opportunities to respond to the comments before the federal judge either approved or disapproved the agreement In the meantime, residents voiced their concerns and dissatisfaction with not being relocated. At the same time, the city and county told residents that while it was pushing for relocation assistance, it had no legal authority to force Beazer East to help (Curry, 2013a). Later in May the announcement was made that cleanup of residential soils was expected to start in January 2014 (Curry, 2013d). Also during that month, the Alachua County Health Department released the results from the indoor dust tests and concluded there was no pe nding threat. Finally, in August the Alachua County Health
76 department released another community update stating that residents should use caution while eating zucchini grown in their yard s, because z ucchini had a greater risk of absorbing dioxin than any other plant. It was later revealed that the update was based on a calcu lation error and the risk was not as great as the public had been told At the time of this study, that was the latest informati on on the Superfund site. year review on the status of the cleanup is set to occur in 2016. RQ1 : Who were the Key Players in the Risk Communication Process in the Case of the Cabot / Koppers Superfund Site in Gainesville Fla .? The Superfund P rogram is very complex and each particular case involves different key players. The key players outlined here include not only the people and groups responsible for disseminating information, but also those who contributed to the conversation, conflicts or compromise of the sit uation. Table 4 1 below summarizes the key players within this case study and how they contributed to the communication process. RQ2 : Did the Key Players Use Best Practices in their Risk Communication Efforts Regarding the Cabot / Koppers Superfund Site? For this section, it was important to to go through each best practice to see whether or not they carried it out. Below is a summary of the best practices each key player did o r did not incorporate into its risk communication efforts. U.S. EPA Involving the public It is a legal obligation for the EPA to involve the public in the matters regarding a Superfund site. The law holds the organization responsible for holding public meetin gs
77 when new agreements are made. Historically in the Koppers case, these public meetings were held after decisions (such as cleanup agreements) had already been made by the city commissioners and the EPA Six of the residents interviewed said they felt out of the loop because of the fact that the meetings were hel d post decision They felt their comments were simply solicited for formality and did not make a difference in the final decision. In addition, t he meetings were advertised in loc al newspapers, which could have left out those who did not read the newspaper or who obtained most of their information in other ways such through email, social media or television. Eight of the residents interviewed said the advertisement for the meetings seemed outdated, but because they actively sought out information about th e site, they knew when the meetings were being held. The EPA also sent several letters to residents within the immediate vicinity of the site, which most re sidents interviewed (n=7) appreciated; however the broader community was not aware of certain thi ngs going on and felt left out. live in the immediate remediation area ( n=3 their mailboxes. These residents still lived in the Stephen Foster Neighborhood, but were just far away enough that t by the EPA, at risk from the contaminants. When asked if the EPA involved the local community and public, the EPA spokeswoman said they did so in many ways. One way the EPA involved the public (or attempted to) was through the implementation of a technical assistance grant (TAG) $50,000, through which it gave a local community organization $50,000 to hir e a
78 technical advisor The goal of the technical advisor was to serve as a neutral voice and produce e asy to understand information for the residents. Alt hough the EPA outsourced the job o f public communication, it did so in a way that could empower community members to communicate. The EPA offered the group guidelines and specific goals to meet in order to fulfi ll th is best practice However, in this particular situation, the members of the nonprofit that received the grant, Protect Gainesville Citizens (PCG), were criticized by two residents as not being repres entative of the Stephen Foster n eighborhood and its residents These two residents, who were m embers of the competing group, Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. expressed in personal interview s that the president of PGC was simply a property owner who had real estate in the neighborhood that he rented out to tenants. But back to the TAG group. So the TAG group is mainly comprised of people who don't live around the Superfund site at all. It's even headed up by someone who doesn't live near the Superfund site, owns property there, rented it out t o families who became sick and gave them difficulties, actually. They wanted ou t. And he tried to sue them too (2013, Oct. 24, Personal interview). Three other residents had also heard of PGC, but they also criticized the group. They felt their efforts di d not cater to the mainly working class and low income residents The remaining residents (n=8 ) either had not heard of PC G, or communication effor ts. The remaining three residents were members of PGC and were therefore not included in this count. In addition to the TA G group, the EPA implemented public comment periods after each major remediation agreement. These public comment periods started with a public
79 meeting, during which representatives of the EPA, Beazer East the Alachua County Health Department, the Alachua County Department of Environmental Health, city officials and members of PGC would give brief presentations and updates about the sta tus of the site. During these meetings, members of the public commented with a two minute time limit, if they wished. The public comment period began after these meetings and typically lasted 30 days. During this time, m embers of th e public were allowed to submi t comments or concerns about the proposed remediation plan to the EPA The public comments were analyzed by EPA and city officials and taken into considerat ion before the final decision was made. The comments were also recorded and kept in the community involvement plan document. In some instances, the EPA extended the public comment period by 60 days, listening to the local city officials who felt they needed ample ti me for additional comment s The EPA also sent representatives to various One of the EPA officials responsible for communication explained in a personal interview why the communication was an afte rt hought : I believe I got involved with Koppers back in 2006 or 2007. First arrival, we were going to the county commissioners and meeting to talk about the site work that was going on at the site, and trying to work with the county commissioners on getting a resolution to do some remediation. Basically that is where I met most of the community folks, because for the longest time when we were going, it was my understanding that there was no community interest. But, when we got to the commissioners meeting, we found out that there were very concerned citizens and so from there, I began to work with the project manager at the time and start working on getting some type of communication actions together and trying to find out, you know, where they are, how much t hey kno w. You know, if it was factual. Basically that's where we started and at the end of the day, I guess back in 2010, 2011, it took us probably about 3 or 4 years to get on
80 what I would say the good side of the community (2013, Oct. 28, Personal interv iew). The consensus of residents who lived near the site for more than 5 years (n=9 ) was that the EPA had waited too long to reach out to the community. Each of these early communication efforts. One resident who lived in the community for eight years noticed the lack of community involvement at the beginning: Things were a bit adversarial at the beginning, mainly because EPA had been doing a lot of things without comm unity involvement. T =T hey had come to a lot of. . they had reached certain milestones without proper community involvement. They had essentially come to a desired remedy, their desired remedy, without. . I don't want to say any community involvement, but with minimal community involvement. .because the public hadn't been invited so to speak. And they had not been complying with what their responsibilities were regarding community involvement. They hadn't had their feet held to the fire by anybody. That's my opinion. And they had gotten kind of lax in terms of what the actual regulations that 17, Personal Interview) The remaining residents (n=7) had lived in the neighborhood for less than five years, once th e community involvement plan had already implemented. When the community involvement plan was finished, it included information such as public comments with EP A official responses, history of the site, remediation plans, and contact numbers for people in charge. The document was more than 50 pages and read like a record keeping document. When asked how the plan was shown to the public or implemented, the EPA communication official replied: The community involvement plan is actually put in the repository, usually a local library. But, in this instance, we not only put it in the library W e also ga ve a copy to the TAG group. And usually if people ask for an individual copy, it is a public document, usually we send people thro ugh the process to get it, but since this is a public document, if it's not like 50 copies, you
81 know we would usually send an ind ividual copy if they request it (2013, Oct. 28, Personal interview). Attention to demographics For the EPA, there was really n o way of determining if the organization paid attention to while disseminating messages regarding the Superfund site. While the community involvement plan included the information about the neighborhood, there was no proof that this information was used while communicating. When asked if the organization paid attention to community demographics, the EPA representative simply would list the ways the organization communicated (i.e. meeting s, mail outs, public comment periods). The five letters that were mailed out were analyzed and the researcher used an online readability test to calculate the reading level of the letters Each letter was written at a sixth grade level or lower. The lette rs included information about the site, its history and where the residents could find more information. However, t he community involvement plan was available only by r equest or at a local library which may have left out group members who may not be infor med enough to know how to find those documents. The residents who were involved in communication efforts (either grassroots or through the EPA grant) knew about the community involvement plan. However, most residents who were not involved in communication, or who lived near the site for less than five years (n=7), did not know the document existed. Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance The EPA exhibited this best practice, particularly in its actions requiring Beazer East to clean up the site to Fl orida state standards, as opposed to federal standards. Gainesville Sun newspaper articles reported that t he agency
82 frequently communicated to Beazer East concerns. However, analysis of the articles showed that this took a lot of convincing from the city and county commissions who were trying to p ush the EPA to require it. It is hard to determine whether the EPA would have pushed for these stricter standards without the pressure from city officials. However, some residents (n=6) criticized the EPA as an agency that was brushing the seriousness of the issue aside and cozying up to Beazer East. One resident, who owns property in the area, explained his perspective of the agency: This could've been highlighted and perhaps should've been earlier. I think we think of ourselves as a pretty green and, you know, liberal and activist type community and I think the EPA might chalk it up kind of to it's a government office and you know wha t is the reward for them? In either creating more work or more hassle or anger and etc. So I think they weren't terribly anxious just to really dive into it (2013, Oct. 24, Personal Interview). A communications official with the EPA said when she did make her first trip to Gainesville, she realized there were three or four types of audiences who all saw the risks as different. She explained that once she spoke to each group individually, the confl ict as to what they saw as the risks started to calm down and protests by between the groups (i.e. PGC and Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc ) started to subside However this visit did not occur until around 2006 Nonetheless her effort to sp eak to each c ompeting group differently is one example of acknowledging diverse levels of risk tolerance. Honesty It is hard to determine the amount of honesty the agency used when communicating with local residents because honesty in science is based on th perspective and its differing risk tolerance level s For example, while the EPA may have
83 been telling the truth abou t how risky the contamination was some residents felt the (2013, Oct. 24, Personal interview). In total, about 10 residents expressed t he belief that some of the On the other hand, some residents (n=6 ) felt the government agency genuinely cared about the community and were w illing to trust any information it published. It is important to note that the residents who expressed extreme suspicion (n=2) about the agency were also the residents who had filed the lawsuit and were urging for relocation. One action stood out that see med to be an effort to be transparent. In 2011, the Gainesville Sun reported that Beazer East and the EPA held a tour of the site in or der to give the residents an up close look. Although it is hard to know how the residents a s a whole responded to this, in the risk communication literature, being transparent is a step toward honesty. Accounting for uncertainty The EPA utilized this best practice in many instances, often when there were disagreements between reports from GRU and from Beazer East On most occasions, the EPA required more testing to be done because it wanted to be sure that if the groundwater was goi ng to become contaminated, a monitoring system was in pla ce to This monit oring system the EPA required helped account for the uncertainty present in the data and An article that ran in the Gainesville Sun in 1998 gives an example of the EPA publicly accounting for uncertainty.
84 Despite the difference of opinions, the EPA says it's not going to gamble on who may be right. Williams said information gleaned from the additional monitoring wells will help plan f uture cleanup actions (Magrin, 1998). contamination caused by toxic dust, the EPA agreed to conduct indoor soil testing. Because the agency was uncertain whether t he homes were cont aminated, it accounted for uncertain ty by listening to the resident s concerns (Curry, 2012). However near the si te for more than five years (n=9 ) said the EPA was very vague in its mes sages regarding cleanup. They express ed the belief that they had never received clear answers about the timeline of the cleanup. One interviewee who was a member of Protect Gainesville Citizens, explained that during the public meetings at the beginning, the EPA would try to di vert the conversation when the cleanup was being discussed. F or example they would have a city commission meeting and the EPA and Beazer East the responsible party they would do presentations and they would show like brown field sites and other places that were contaminated that were all redeve loped and there were apartments. And, you know, they were showing all this fancy stuff without explaining what they intended to do with the cleanup and whether or not it was feasibl e. I t wa s sort of like diverting people s attention They would say things like e want to make it safe, but they wouldn't say if they were going to follow Florida's rules in terms of the criteria and stuff They were trying t o shift that, essentially not to c leanup anything. So I felt when they kept saying e will be w ithin acceptable risk ranges, people did not understand what they meant because they were bothe doing at the time that they should've been doing A nd I had no influence really on making them do anything LIKE finding out the extent of contamination (2013, October 14, Personal interview)
85 Treating risk communication as a process While the other best practices mentioned are all part of treating risk communication as a process, it is also important to highlight specific approaches the EPA took to implement this best practice. For example, while the Superfund program requires a 30 day public comment period after new agreements, the EPA was understanding and extended the comment period when the community asked. The organization realized the com munity needed more time and was able to adjust to their needs. Second, one EPA communications professional said she views the community We try to update it whenever there are major changes within the Superfund process or whenever the community feels like we need to Personal interview). However, if an orga nization does not evaluate its efforts in some way in order to get a gauge about how the a udience is responding, it may not be following this best practice in the most effective way. One example that shows evaluation was lacking by the EPA was the fact that some residents (n=5 ) felt the members of the TAG gr oup were not good communicators As stated earlier, the remaining residents were either not familiar with PGC or their communication efforts. However, the EPA applauded efforts. Had some sort of evaluation been conducted, it would h ave been easier efforts were working or not. One resident, when asked what suggestions she had for the agency simply said: Some follow Did you r How have Can we put your name on a mailing list to make sure yo u A nd that would have been helpful (2013, October 3, Personal Interview).
86 Using a variety of credible sources One way the EPA tried to implement the best practice of using a variety of credible sources was through the TAG grant. By giving the local community a chance to hire a neutral voice, it succeeded in at least attempting to add variety to the source s of information. As stated earlier however, a significant number of residents either criticized ts or were not familiar with them. In addition, the EPA provided health risks assessments from various organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In these ways, the EPA tried to include trusted voic es while disseminating messages; however, if evaluation had been implemented, perhaps the agency would have seen which voices the public deemed more trustworthy. Another action the EPA took which could be seen as using a variety of cr edible sources, was collaborating with city officials, such as the city and county commissions and GRU. According to the Gainesville Sun, i n 2002, the Alachua County Environmental Protection Dep artment assumed local oversight; that way a local entity that was closer to the problem served as another source of information. Overall, most residents (who were familiar with the agency) viewed the information from the Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection as a trustworthy source of in formation. Five residents in total gave positive feedback about the agency, while the remaining that of the EPA. Once resident said the involvement of the local environmental agency really helped the outcome of the situation.
87 They've [Alachua County Environmental Protection Department] stepped up to the plate. They've sort of got second wind if I may speak for them throughout this process, which is really good. Be cause it has empowered them as well and they feel in a stronger position to get up and speak No, we don't like this and we want something You know, t o whatever limits are available (2013, October 14, Personal interview). Residents interviewed showed a general preference in hearing information from local agencies (n=11 ) as opposed to federal agencies, so this collaboration of the EPA and the Alachua County EPD can be seen as a best practice. Alachua County Hea lth Department Involving the public Just like the EPA, the Alachua County Health Department used various traditional methods to involve the community such as posing community updates on its website as well as mailing them to the neighbors who lived adjace nt to the site. The community updates were mailed out every time a new health consultation was conducted. The full consultations were posted on the websites and read like a typical scientific study, including These documents were t ypically longer than 30 pages and were more suitable to readers who understood the scientific process and wanted more background information on the study. The community updates, on the other hand, were short and written at a 6 th grade reading level. The r esearcher ran the text through an online readability test, using the Flesch Kincaid method. In addition, the updates included bulleted information in an easy to read format. At the bottom of each community update was a brief survey asking for audience fe edback about the information and whether or not it was clear or covered all i nformation the reader wanted
88 as much feedback from the su rvey as he would have liked. He acknowledged that the low feedback rate may have resulted from that fact that the residents had to physically mail in the feedback form because there was only a PDF on the website. Second representatives from the local health department were also present at many of the commun ity meetings to answer resident s questions about the risks. other half d accurate. The residents who fell in these categories felt the Alachua County Health Department was downplaying the risks. These residents were typically involved in advocacy organizati ons or had lived near the site for more than five years. However, some residents (n=3) who di gave positive feedback about the availability agency officials. One resident said although she n the agency was disseminating, she appreciated the fact that representatives were willing to answer questions. This resident was particularly worried about the health risks associated with the site she had lived next to for more than 30 years She said although sh message, representatives from the department were always willing to communicate with her individually. a rosy picture. Th I want to say
89 the information that is given to them to pass on to us (2013, October 7, Personal Interview). So although half of the residents he did an adequate job of involving the public. Additionally, after the first offsite soil contamination was found, representatives from the department hand delivered the c ommunity updates in case residents needed further explanation or had questions (Rolland, 2009c). One of the representatives from the departm ent said the organization placed value in l etting the community know what was going on as he explained why door to d oor was a great method, especially in the Gainesville area. I was out in that neighborhood going door to door d elivering notices to individual s a nd it was on a Friday. A s soon as we had this information we wanted to get it out to that community as soon as we could. W e wanted to stay in front of it. T lot of mistrust with the know is not popular, and they never are. The federal government, the EPA, has been criticized for handling off sites and stuff like that, particularly this site because it has a cleanup plan and the local environmental protection department and th e city and the county fought it. stuff. So they tore it up, and started over an d it took them another 10 or 15 that information out there as quickly as possible. s contaminated, most of these, a large number of these hous es, the info rmation. They be here this term; the door to door, no question here (2013, October 21, Personal Interview). In addition, the same interviewee said the updates were sent o n an email blast and mailed out; therefore, there was a lot of redundancy in the information disse mination process
90 were not without criticism. One reside to ef forts mentioned above. It is important to note that this resident later conducted her own communications campaign, with the goal of informing resident s how to safeguard themselves from the contamination. Although this resident was an outlier, it is still i mportant to highlight the differing opinions. I would give it a zero. Harmful, actually. Because one thing name omitted first health consultation came about, we, you know, I went aro und and told as very self righteous about it, how many people did they must have done door to door and put notices. Ok, you come home and you see a notice. As it turned out 20 people, 20 homes out the whole official response and there was nothing, you know, to individuals, nothing making sure people knew what to do to modify t your children sit outside and play in the dirt all day; you know just little toddle rs and stuff. Nothing like that (2013, October 4, Personal Interview). In conclusion, residents opinions were mixed as to whether or not the Alachua County Health Department did an adequate job of involving the public. Those who believed the efforts were inadequate seemed to have a general mistrust in the agency itself and the information it was putting out. Accounting for uncertainty One way the Ala chua County Health Department accounted for uncertainty was by including the methodology within the health consultations. The organization included a methods section in the online document s However, these documents were long an d were not distributed with the community updates. Instead,
91 research methods to understand the uncertainties that resulted from the methods The community updates did not give information on the uncertainties that existed. T hey here is no significant health risk associated with the When interviewed about the health consultations, officials acknowledged there was still a lot more to find out. An article published in 2010 in the Gainesville Sun is an example of this. Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Health released two reports K oppers Superfund site contamination in nearby creeks and the soil around the site, but local officials are by no means celebrating. director for the A lachua County Health Department (Smith, 2010d) Another article in 2011 quoted Dennis again stating the limitations of the health co nsultation so that readers knew there was some uncertainty to be accounted for. He said there are limitations to the study, such as the fact many people have moved in and out of the area over the past few decades, making it difficult to track whether residents left with cancer that could be attributed to the Superfund site or whether people moved in with pre existing co nditions (Smith, 2011d) However, the Alachua County Health D epartment was also criticized in many Gainesville Sun articles for bei ng vague, a practice that is seen in the literature to be the opposite o f accounting for uncertainty. One article in th e Gainesville Sun noted that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the organization that assists with the health consultations from about the risks presented. Shortly after the site's inclusion in the Superfund program, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry conducted a health assessment
92 in Gainesville, noting numerous potential sources of concern for area residents, Koppers employees and anyone wh o ventured near the c ancer causing chemicals. The report was vague, however, noting only that the site was "a potential health concern because of the potential risk to human health resulting from possible exposure to hazardous substanc es (Bruno, 2004d). Again, the results were mixed among residents and among news articles About half of the residents trusted the information from the agency, while the other half acknowledged a general distrust in the agency. One resident, who lived near the site for al most 10 years, agreed that messages from the health department lack ed context. Making distinctions between things. You can't just say . well, it's people don't assume all ki Koppers site has contaminants100 times higher than normal doesn't mean the property next door that is not in the depressed swale tha t has collected storm water for a hundred year . that doesn't mean the property next kind of thing. They need to make distinctions between what the real dangers are and what are no t real dangers and what we have determined to th is point to be genuine concerns (2013, October 14, Personal interview). In conclusion, the Alachua County Health Department followed this best practice by including the methodology in health consultations, b to the community updates that were sent to the residents. Furthermore, the agency was criticized by multiple organizations and residents Attention to diverse levels of risk t olerance The Alachua County Health Department sent out the same community updates to everyone, so in a sense, the mess toward different levels of risk tolerance. However, the agency did serve as an alternate agency to call instead of the EPA. In this regard, those who trust ed a more local entity with their risk
93 messages, or those with a higher risk tolerance may have seen the Alachua County Health D epartment as a better place to get their messages. However, about half of t he residents interviewed (n=8) believed the agency scoffed at what residents saw as a serious problem. From the se risk tolerance levels. These residents viewed the risks and contamination as high and believed the agency was covering up the severity of the issue. Once again, these residents either belonged to advocacy organizations or had lived near the site for more than five years. One woman, who has lived near the site since the 19 70s, was an exempl ary example of this perspective I feel like they. . just kind of brushed aside the seriousness of some of us who have very, very toxic areas and how can you keep kids from, you know, being exposed and breathing dirt and breathing in on a windy d ay ? got respiratory problems; I have my own nebulizer machine. I have my there. P ting because I really feel like -from the -I still feel like there is not enough (2013, October 7, Personal Interview) When asked whether these types of residents were communica ted to differently, the employee interviewed said he could not pay special attention to the extremist residents. He explained that there were only about a dozen, and therefore nothing to worry about. As discussed later, however, some of the residents who b elonged to this group were very active in communicating. The remaining residents (n=8) generally trusted the information being released by the local agency.
94 Honesty Because honesty in risk communication is based on perception, this best practice was mainl y measured by With the Alachua County Health Department, the opinions were split. Some residents (n=8) knew that a full fledged health study with no limitations was not feasible and trusted the information the agency gave them. The y did not express any distrust of the agency. However, those who commented negatively about the agency (n=5) Many residents in this group claimed the and was just putting out infor As stated in previous sections, the group of distrusting residents included those who either belonged to advocacy organizations, or had lived near the site for greater than five years. This group did not believe in t he accuracy of the frequent reports that indicated there was a generally also spoke of friends and family members who experienced health problems from the contamination. Some even said they had suffered from respiratory p roblems themselves. Therefore while there was no specific way to measure how honest the health department was with its messages, it is safe to say it was based on the audience perception, which was split according to the results of the interviews conduct ed. This had lower levels of risk tolerance and saw the contamination as being more of a health risk than most. But it is worth mentioning that after one study, showed that zucchini was capable of absorbing more dioxins than most vegetables, officials were quick to release a report about it.
95 review, and what our toxicologist s did, but never t he less found it, get it out there, stay in front of it, get it out there. Be transparent because all th is trust, get it out there now (2013, October 21, Personal Interview) Treating risk communication as a process The Alachua County Health Department was the only official agency that attempted to receive feedback about how its messages were being accepted by the public At the bottom of each community update was a survey through which residents could rat e the effectiveness of the message or make suggestio ns. However, one employee explained He acknowledged that this may have been due to the fact that the updates were printed, and it took too much effort from residents to mail them back Using a variety of credib le sources For this best practice, the Alachua County Health De partment was at an advantage because it was linked to other credible agencies such as ATSDR and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In each of the health consultations, the sources of information are listed and explained. However, when it came to the location of the infor mation, the website repository and mailed communit y updates w ere the only places residents could retrieve this data. The Alachua County Health department also colla borate d with the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department made the updates available on its website as well, so that the residents were able to r etrieve the information from three different sources.
96 Beazer East Although Beazer East and Koppers were not legally responsib le for risk communication, it was sti ll important to look at how the companies communicated with the community in which they were responsible for remediation. This informatio n may help other companies see where some attempts at communication prompted compromise and which ones caused conflict and delays. When asked about Beazer East, most residents (n=10 ) said the company primary concern was t o save money. Six of these 10 re sidents expressed distrust for residents were the same ones who also expressed distrust for the EPA and the Alachua County Health Department. The other two said they unders tood the company was residents (n=4) were not familiar with the communication efforts of the company. These residents liv ed outside the remediation zone and therefore did not receive correspondence from Beazer East. For the purpose of this study, we will refer to Koppers and Beazer East as the responsible parties because although Beazer East is financially responsible for the cleanup, Koppers was the organization that was still operating on the site until 2009. So, when addressing this question, both companies will be taken into consideration. According to Gainesville Sun articles, w hile Kop pers was still operating, there was a lot of animosity toward the company by residents who d could still be functioning while the land was pol luted. In an effo rt to get the community on its side, Koppers started a Community Advisory Panel and invited members of the community to come and tour the site. Although this was seen by some as a simple
97 public relations move it still involved the public. A Gainesville Sun article explained the So when plant manager Jim Healey asked Waller if she wanted to serve on a panel that would allow residents to see the plant and maybe even change how the site is managed, she thought her response would surprise him. "I could be your worst nightmare," she said. But it turned out Waller was the one who was surprised. "Gosh," Healey said in response, according to Waller, "you're what I want." The panel Waller now serves on is called a Community Advisory Pane l, or CAP for short. It's a process that industrial plants across the country have been trying in recent years in an effor t to become better neighbors. Late last year, Koppers called more than two dozen residents, elected officials, environmental officia ls, business owners and scientists anybody who might have an interest in the plant, which chemically treats utility poles for power companies and municipalities. Since then, many of them have met monthly to listen to speakers, talk about issues a nd see in detail how pine logs are turned into utility poles. "We've got nothing to hide," Healey said. "That's one of the reasons we're doing this," Healey said. "We're in a very condensed neighborhood. I just feel if we're going to be in thi s community, we're going to be part of it"(Matus, 2001d). While the plant did eventually shut down, it is still worth mentioning this early gesture by the company. However, during the tour, Koppers representatives denied a Gainesville Sun reporter access to the tour (Matus, 2001d), something that could be viewed as a lack of transparency When Beazer East became involved, representatives from the company attended almost every public meeting, but often publicly disagreed
98 recommendati on s for the cleanup. R epresentatives did at least attend these meetings to answer questions. After Koppers shut down, representatives from Beazer East continued to hold tours for the resid ents on site to explain how the company was going to clean it u p, b ut, the effort was criticized for not being transparent enough. A Gainesville Sun article explained Maria Parsons, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, had a video camera and a tripod, and Brourman told her she co uldn't take it on the tour. Parsons asked why, and he replied, "Because I've asked you nicely." She left, saying she didn't want to see a "dog and pony show"(Smith, 2010c). The public debates that occurred over the years, particularly b etween local officials and Beazer East showed that the company was not always receptive to community concerns. The first example of this was their trust in the Hawthorne Clay layer, the layer of almost impermeable soil that serves as protection from the Floridan Aquifer. Beazer East publicly advocated that the clay layer would stop any contamination before it hit the GRU officials disagreed. Gainesville Sun articles reported on multiple occasions, that arsenic had been found in mon itoring wells and the company was proven wrong. One Gainesville Sun article explained that Beazer East had opposed original monitoring wells. Michael Slenska, a Beazer East environmental manager, said in an interview that he did not agree with GRU's insi stence that short term solutions are necessary. "Right now, I don't think there is a need to do any immediate action," Slenska said. "For something to be a problem, there has to be exposure.
99 The only real exposure to that stuff is if somebody were able to drink it. Two years later, GRU issued a report showing that chemicals associated with the site were leaking through the layer and that the risk of contaminants reaching the aquifer was grea ter than had been thought. Once again, Beazer East officials communicated publicly about their d isagreement with the community officials. But Slenska said the discrepancies did not constitute a serious challenge to Beazer East 's modeling of the speed at w hich the toxins will travel. Results closer to the model's predictions could have been obtained if the samples were taken from a few yards farther away from the source, he said. "It's such an insignificant difference in comparison to how th ings move from our site to the Murphree Wellfield," Slenska said (Adelson, 2006a). Every time the issue arose Beazer East officials more or less responded in th e same way, appearing not to budge in their decisions Below is an example : A Beazer East official said tests show the contamination isn't moving and said more tests should be done before deciding whether cleanup work is needed. "It would be premature to conclude something should be done immediately," said Michael Slenska, an environme ntal manager for Beazer East (Crabbe, 2006b). Another example of Beazer East officials publicly refusing to acknowledge dive rse levels of risk tolerance had to do with the issue of the offsite soil contamination. Wh ile residents expressed worry about ga rdening or letting their children play in the yards, Gainesville Sun articles reported that Beazer East expressed minimal concern. Furthermore, even after local agencies pushed the EPA to require Beazer East to clean up the offsite soil to Florida state st andards, the company still publicly stated that it
100 was necessary. Several public comments by Beazer East representatives express this. "In our time frame, this is just the next step," Brourman said. "The data that we collected on the margins of the facility wouldn't indicate that there's a reason to go out in the neighborhood and do something" (Rolland, 2009e). Brourman assured residents that the levels of dioxins, arsenic and benzo(a)pyrene found in the soil were not of concern a nd that the state and federal standards for these toxins were extremely conservative. "Living in that neighborhood based on the data we see today is perfectly One i nterviewee, a resident w ho viewed the risks from the contamination as very high, explained her first encounter with a Beazer East representative. She explained en Foster Cafeteria and that was when I first met [ name omitted] the Beazer East East site manager and I'm still pretty naive at that point. And I approached and I like to grow vegeta bles, feed my family, but we're concerned about This resident was not alone in her thoughts. Overall 10 residents fel t the company was not responsive to community concerns. However, in 2013, after the final cleanup plans were finally starting to take shape, a Beazer East representative took a different public tone. During a 1 p.m. presentation on the pending clean up T hursday, Mitchell Brourman with Beazer East East told a small crowd that the company was "sympathetic that this has been a long, drawn out, complicated, convoluted process" (Curry, 2013d).
101 Protect Gainesville Citizens As explained earlier, Protect Gainesvi lle Citizens was the nonprofit that received a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) local community. While these residents were not formally educated in risk communication, they were still given the responsi bility for communicating risk information to the public. For this reason, it is important to see whether this group used best practices in its efforts. However, because of their lack of expertise, they cannot be held to the same standards as the Alachua Co unty Health Department or the EPA. When asked about the group and their communication efforts, five residents interviewed were familiar with the group. Two of these residents were members of the competing group, Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. and the other t hree either helped nor hurt their understanding of the risks. The two who were members of Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. distrusted PGC altogether. The remaining (n=8) residents were not familiar with the group at all During a personal interv iew, TAG group members explained their mission an d purpose for existing, which was mainly to involve the local community So the TAG grant was for an initial $50,000 and what it allowed Protect Gainesville Citizens to do was to hire an environmental engin eer and have that environmental engineer review all of the documents and the data that was coming off of the site, and share her evaluation of that data and those documents. And we helped to translate those into language that we thought everybody could gen erally understand and then we would distribute them, share them with the media, share them with the local governments. Then the EPA started making sure that that TAG group, PGC was a repository for all information t hat was coming off of the site (2013, October 4, Personal Interview).
102 The group explained that its ef forts were in competition with Stephen Foster Neighborhood, Inc. an advocacy group that was often referred to as the lawsuit group because it s members we nt door to door explaining its class action suit, which was eventually dropped. PGC members gave the group credit for its because they said it garnered attention and an audience for their m ission One of the communication efforts the group organized was an art exhibit feat humanize the problem promote dialogue, and help Beazer East realize there was a community that cared located near this particular site. In order to make the artwork scientif ically accurate, the group said the artists teamed up with scientists. I think this helped sort of humanize the whole context and make it more dealing with here and not just stati sti it engages our humanity, you know? It provokes our thoughts a bout what it means to be human (2013, October 4, Personal Interview). The group members said the event had a great turnout of about 200 people and that the dialogue of conflict started to change to a dialogue of compromise although the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. did show up at th e beginning to protest. The group did acknowledge, however, that there was no way of knowing whether the attendees were f ro m the immediately affected area or from the broader Gainesville community. Only five residents interviewed were familiar with the exhibit The t hree residents who were familiar with the group, but not a part of Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, In c. said the art exhibit did not interest them. One of these resident s actually lived in the neighborhood. She said that an art exhibit with wine and food was seen as a luxury, and many of the wor king class parents who lived near the site
103 including herself, could not take the time to go to something like that That same resident had organized an eco health festival a few years prior to the art exhibit, focusing on ways to avoid contamination. Her event had a turnout of about 300 citizens In addition, the group also helped hire a part time city employee to be the community liaison for the sit e and to answer any questions. However, that city emplo yee refused to be interview ed so it was unknown what efforts they were taking to help engage the community. Although the group attended meetings, mailed fact sheet s and held an art exhibit that was eventually adopted by the EPA Region 4 as a traveling exhibit in various communities, one PGC group member exp ressed her skepticism about whether the group was taking the right steps to involve the public. She even said she believed the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. may have been doing a better job updating information. y painful to maintain websites and things like that so I think the litigation gro up is probably doing that better than I am. The county keeps all the documents, but that's not very user friendly for laypeople. We don't keep things updated I was trying to decide if we could do little sound bite here and there but I don't know who know what their positions are on these things. But I think that EPA has done some things in their communications that were really problematic and so has Department of Health to really frustrate pe ople (2013, October 14, Personal Interview). Based on the personal interviews with Protect Gainesville Citizens personnel, it was apparent that the re were no systematic steps taken to gauge the type of audiences involved and how they liked to receive their information. But a lot of times, like I said, is that we spread the word just informally. I ple (2013, October 14, Personal Interview).
104 A summary of how each key player scored in their ability to implement best practices is shown in table 4 2. The scores are as follows: 0 no effort given, 1 minimal effort given, 2 effort given without favorable results, 3 effort given with mixed results, 4 effort given with favorable results, 5 effort given with exceptional results. Remaining Key Players Although not all key players had an obligatory role to communicate the risks, it is still important to examin e their efforts in order to understand how they related to each Gainesville Sun communication efforts are summarized in tables 4 3 4 5 below. RQ3: What were t he Ma in Messages Disseminated b y Various Key Players? To gain more insight into which audience constraints were present and why they hindered the best practices that were used, it is important to l ook at the main messages being distributed among the key players, residents and in the news coverage and how they differed. Delays One of the most widely distributed messages present in all communication about the site was the concept of delay, whether it was litigation delays, cleanup delays or residents often blamed their frustra tion on the long and drawn out process. Table 4 6 summarizes the different contexts in which the delay message occurred, with examples. Getting Bought Out Another popular message that was disseminated in the case of the Koppers
105 disputed that property values had i ndeed gone down, some still criticized those keep pushing for relocation further delayed the cleanup process. Others, on the other hand, were very adamant about wantin g to have their homes purchased by Beazer East. Pro buyout Those who advocated for their homes to be purchased often expressed anger, often took the tone of advocacy and desperation. In a Gainesville Sun article, one woman expre ssed her willingness to be free from the neighborhood. Sharon Sheets said she has lived down the street from the Koppers property for more than 30 years. Wednesday evening, Sheets was one of several residents of the Stephen Foster neighborhood who attribu ted their health problems to the Koppers plant. "I'm praying for the opportunity to have my house purchas ed from me," she said (Curry, 2013b). Another woman, who also was part of a lawsuit at one point, said that commissioners agreed with her. She explained that until the homes were purchased, she felt death would be a normal part of life in the neighborhood. Ever ybody agrees, including the commissioner s that at least all of this from 23rd to 39th should be plowed down. And commissioner name omit ted statement was that it would be nice to plow down all the homes and put solar panels or something that would be even more beneficial to the community instead of continuously having this problem. Because believe it or not, this real estate, every 10 year s is a cycle in the community. And what happens is we may leave, but all the people, once they start dying, the children start dying. Y ou know how difficult it is as a young mother, you become attached to your child, all of a sudden your child gets a canc er and dies in 6 months, or gets seizure s and dies and the doctors can't tell you why and then you have a miscarriage after
106 miscarriage. W e had women that reported a weird fungus on their breast s and they were not a llowed to feed their children. O ur attorney recommended to all these families that they needed to move immediately for their health. But th ese people are telling me that it's ok to stay there. Is Criticizing buyout At the other e nd of the spectrum, there were messages that portrayed residents hoping to be bought out as simply make money or to pay for homes that had been purchased during the housing boom. Some also criticized those who were pushing for relocation, saying it was del aying the remediation process. One resident, who said he helped push for offsite soil remediation, explained his view of those residents urging relocation. Anyone that wants out, Beazer East ne eds to -basically you've got a couple people that like I sa id they took out high mortgages WAY higher than they should've been, back during the building boom, with t he idea of flipping them and all of a sudden the r eal estate boom went bust and it's we'll take it we will blame it all on Beazer And don't misunderstand me, Beazer East is absolutely reprehensible in what y they behaved, Beazer East/Koppers -thoroughly reprehensible. Bu t to blame someone unfairly right. (2013, October 17, Personal Inter view). Another resident shared the same frustrations. And I think even the mayor had suggested to them that they just buy out the people who wanted to be bought out. It would be the least expensive route for them, the least fought if they would just buy t hem out and send them on their way. But then Beazer East the responsible party was having none of that. That was just not what they were going to do, end of story. And so it really set up a stuck kind of conflict that just kept playing out in every meetin g. People would come and ask for the same outcome ober 4, Personal Interview).
107 Injustice Another theme that circulated in the messages regarding the Koppers Superfund site was the idea of injustice, or the belief that the way the government was handling the contamination was wrong and not in the interests of the community. One letter to the editor in the Gainesville Sun suggested that residents who wished to move had not had a proper hearing. Citizens living near the Gainesville site have died, and their families and others living there are not able to mo ve or sell their homes. Regional 4 of the EPA has made it impossible for these individuals to have a reasonable or proper hearing to seek assistance (Hallman, 2011) Another woman, who frequently held protests in the neighborhood and was a member of the a dvocacy group Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., suggested that the government and responsible party simply cared only about money at the expense of the people. This is a joke! They're treating people with disdain. They don't care about the pe it? Is it just they didn't want to invest $55 million to remove 6 inches of soil to a foot? It would cost you a lot less to remove those people from there. OK? But they don't want to do that, and the bill for the cleanup keeps going down (2013, October 24, Personal Interview). Superfund bankrupt constantly circulating about how the Superfund was broke, especially after budget cuts from the Bush Administration. One interviewee, when asked what her preliminary I knew it was an EPA Superfund site and wha t I had heard about it was that there was just no money in the Superfund you know?
108 Gainesville Sun ex emplified this message, which was present in many articles throughout the case study. The program, which is now broke, has struggled for money since the tax on the petroleum and chemical industries that funded it was eliminate d in 1995, Nelson said. It just makes my blood boil as I try to stand up for Florida's environment, especially with Nelson said (Adelson, 2005c). Cleanup on schedule This was one of the least disseminated messages, particularly because the messages a bout delay were so frequent. The only Gainesville Sun article that mentioned the cleanup following an efficient timeline ran in 2004. To be sure, both officials from EPA and Beazer East PLC, the company that is liable for the site's remediation, assure the community that remediation is on schedule (Staff report, 2004). Contamination Not surprisingly, the message of contamination was also common in discussions of the Koppers Superfund site. Messages referred to the contamination of groundwater, drinking water, the Floridan aquifer and offsite soils in nearby residential yards. In fact, the Gainesville Sun The message of contamination became more realistic when toxic chemicals were found in the monitoring wells on the site. But the sense of urgenc y resurfaced in earnest last year when environmental experts in charge of the cleanup announced that low levels of arsenic, benzene and other wood preserving toxins had found their way into the Floridan Aquifer. The discovery marked the first time waste ha d been detected in the deep aquifer system (Bruno, 2004a).
109 chemical levels to state standards. For arsenic a known cancer causing metal acceptable residential standards are 2.1 parts per billion and the right of way areas tested as high as 15.8 parts per billion and as low a s 3.2 parts per billion. Benzo(a)pyrene may also cause health problems when ingested, and its levels exceeded the state standard of 0.1 parts per billion, te sting in one area as high as 6.3 parts per billion and a s low as 0.5 parts per billion (Rolland, 2009c). Danger/high risk There were many mixed messages regarding the risks associated with the site, often because of the debate between city officials and Beazer East. Some of the messages were framed in a way that made it seem as if the residents were in dan ger. One letter to the editor in the Gainesville Sun was an example of this message. First, it is not only local creeks that are at risk. Arsenic and other dangerous chemicals washing off the site run to Springstead Creek, then to Hogtown Creek, and event ually into Haile Sink and the Floridan Aquifer, the source of our drinking water. So there other concerns to public health besides kids looking for sharks' teeth in creek beds. Second, levels of toxic chemicals leaving this site are extremely high. In Marc h 2008, concentrations of copper and arsenic in storm water exiting Koppers exceeded the permitted "levels of concern" by factors of 18 and 8 times, respectively. These data come from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Palmer, 2008). Anoth er Gainesville Sun article explained the risk of the contaminants to children, who were the most at risk. "For children under the age of 6, the risk is incidental ingestion of this soil, and prolonged exposure for more than a year increases the risk of reproductive problems," Anthony Dennis, the county's environmental health director, told The Sun (Editorial, 2009)
110 Finally, the most extreme messages in this category mentioned Gainesville residents experiencing birth defects or pets dying. One resident, who moved away from the neighborhood shortly after she found out about the contamination, explained her experience. I believe in science and I believe science proves things, but with my own eyes I have seen a huge amount of mothers giving birth with children with deformities and I remember when I lived there how many pets died. I mean any pet dies as every person dies, but it was I think it wasn't just my perception. When I was t here in my street, it was like seven dogs and five of them died. Tha t can't be a c oincidence and two of them were very healthy, they used to play with my dog (2013, November 25, Personal Interview). Low risk/no immediate danger Contrary to the high risk messages, there were also messages circulating that framed the risks as low, or in the distant future. These messages seemed to conflict with the high risk messages, and led some residents to express confusion. Mostly, the low risk messages were disseminated by Beazer East, who at the beginning said the contaminants would n aturally dissolve before they made it into the drinking water. A company official said the chemicals are in small enough quantities to break down well before contaminating drinking water. "We're not seeing this as a significant problem and we're no t seeing this as a threat to the Murphree Wellfield," said Mike Slenska, an environmental manager for Beazer East (Crabbe, 2010a) While Koppers was still running, company employees also boasted of its cleanliness. We take a lot of pride in this plant," s he continued. "I don't glow at night. I'm more afraid of my cell phone up to my head than I am working at Koppers. This is one of the cleanest facilities, as far as being a hazard to this town" (Bruno, 2004c). Finally, every Alachua County Department of Health health consultation indicated a generally low health risk for the site; however, its community updates still warned
111 parents to be cautious when letting their children play outside. The health consultations were seen by the residents as one of the m ost conflicting messages present from the same organization. Hope of a cleanup While the messages in the delay category focused on how long it was taking to get the site cleaned up, others offered a positive spin about the cleanup that was to come. Howeve r, these messages were few and far between and occurred either in 2013, once a plan was finally on its way to being agreed upon, or in the very beginning before the delays started to occur. One early article published in 2005 expressed this The recent exchange of letters between EPA and Beazer East reported by The Sun during the week of July 18 22 seems to offer hope of 2005). Similarly, in 2003, a city commissioner said he was finally hopeful that a cleanup was on it s way. I've had this strong feeling in the pit of my stomach th at nothing was said Commissioner Warren Nielsen, a longtime resident of Gainesvi 2 mile radius This was a controversial message that started with the class action lawsuit filed and the test results showed that contaminants were affecting every home and business wi thin a 2 mile radius of the site. However, while the Alachua County Health denied them access to the data. The members of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood
112 Association, Inc., were most notorious for spreading this message, flaunting it on their bright yellow website with a skull and crossbones spread across the homepage. City officials and EPA officials were skeptical of the secret test results. Some interviewees (n=5) t hought the test results were simply a ploy to help the case for getting residents relocated. An employee with the Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection shared his opinion on the 2 mile radius belief. The challenge for us is overcoming a lo t of misinformation that is out in the community. In this particular situation, there are certain residents for instance that believe their property is contaminated and are looking for someone to buy their property. They want the responsible party to buy t he ir property; they want to get out. Well let' s say that's not happening, or EPA has not agre ed or the responsible party. So they have a lawsuit. So many times those particular folks tend to exaggerate, tend to exaggerate the risk. Or they tend to make th e problem appear larger than it is. So we get calls from people saying I hear that, I hear that this contamination extends two miles away. Well the answer to that is we have not seen data. N obody has given hard, val idated data that shows that the re is con tamin ation 2 miles away (2013, October 29, Personal Interview). Disagreement/Debate Disagreement and debate was present in this case and was said to be one of the reasons for the lengthy delays in cleaning up the site. The debate was often between GRU and Beazer East, and sometimes spread toward protesting citizens and city officials. One article published in the Gainesville Sun in 2005 explains one of the early central debates. It's the latest development in the debate among the utility, environmental regulators and the Pittsburgh based company responsible for cleaning the waste site, located on NW 23rd Avenue. The site is polluted by creosote, a cancer causing mix of chemi cals used to treat wood. At issue is whether the contamination threatens Gainesv ille's water supply, as GRU and the EPA maintain (Crabbe, 2005)
113 There was also debate going on between scientists and regulatory agencies about how much of a chemical was needed to determine if the site was toxic. He said there is ongoing debate between scientists and officials at regulatory agencies such as the EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Protection over what levels of dioxin in soils pose a health risk and "this particular site happens to be in the middle of that debate (Curry, 2011a). As seen in the timeline of the case study, there was a constant back and forth between local city and county officials and the EPA. Each time a proposed remediation plan was drafted, the city would write a letter to the EPA rejecting it and demanding a m ore stringent cleanup. In the end, the city received the more stringent cleanup, to an extent. Finally, there were the residents who were in disagreement with each other. An official from the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, who fielde d calls from residents, explained. I think right now I think the community is kind of divided in that area. There is probably a group of people saying the plan is ready, let's get this cleaned up, let's get our property cleaned up, let's get going. They're glad to see it moving along. There is probably another group that is never going to be satisfied unless you buy out my property and let's get out of here. So I think that's probably where we are right now, but I think a majority of the folks, I b elieve, are at least agreeable to get this thing moving along. Y ou know it's been dragging along for over 25 years T hey want to go ah ead and get this thing solved (2013, October 29, Personal Interview). Uncertainty Throughout the entire case of the Koppers Superfund site, uncertainty was a message that permeated almost all dialogue and news coverage. One example of uncertainty was expressed by the Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection, an agency that was unsure of the results of the early groundwater tests.
114 Either the studies that were done weren't extensive enough, or they didn't go deep enough," said John Mousa, Alachua County's pollu tion prevention manager. "Everyo 2004a). Studies reporting that contamination at the Koppers Superfund site in north Gainesville has been largely Gainesville Regional Utilities' officials said Monday as the y released a review of p Uncertainty was discussed in connection with real estate. While many realtors She said it ha s been tough for real estate agents to discern where properties are at risk of Koppers is it 100 yards aw ay, a mile, three miles? The EPA has been reluctant to say, she said. "That's the kind of the double edged sword we're always facing," she said, "bec ause the re are no definitive boundaries (Smith, 2011c). Finally, there was uncertainty present in almost every discussion about testing for dioxin in the offsite soil around the site. The end result of the dust testing remains uncertain. There are no stat e or federal standards for regulating dioxin levels in dust, according to the FDOH report. Meanwhile, the EPA has been working since 1991 on a reassessment of the health risks associated with exposure to the various sources of dioxin exposure. Steve Rober ts, the director of the University of Florida Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, said that has been a "very controversial subject." "How you calculate that for dioxin has been the subject of lots and lots of discussion," said Roberts, who also served on the FDOH working group. Dioxin refers to about 30 similar chemical compounds, including toxic substances that are released on combustion and in chemical processes such as the wood treatment process used for decades at the Koppers plant. The pro perty has been listed as a polluted federal Superfund site for more than 25 years (Curry, 2011d).
115 Health effects Finally, there were messages regarding health effects from the contamination. Some messages documented personal effects, and others included dialogue about knowing someone who had suffered an illness or death. According to the Gainesville Sun, some residents were even suing Beazer East for money to cover their health bills. Many Gainesville Sun articles simply explained the health risks associated with the contaminants in question. Dioxins according to the World Health Organization are highly toxic environmental pollutants that if ingested will be stored in the fatty tissue and can impair the immune system, nervous syst em and reproductive functions (Rolland, 2009d) One resident, in a letter to the editor to the Gainesville Sun, expressed her disappointment in the paper for not running more stories about the sick people. The Sun never runs stories on sick residents an d families who have lost loved ones to illnesses like cancers that could result from the kind of dioxins, PAHs and arsenic that Beazer East says don't exist inside our homes (Kennedy, 2013) Seven of the residents interviewed mentioned health effects from the contamination, either referring to someone they knew, or to health risks they suffered personally. Another resident, who used to own a car dealership near the site, ended up filing suit for health problems he believed were a result of the contaminatio n. Former car dealer Gary Massey filed the suit in 1991, claiming that toxic chemicals in contaminated soil and dust caused him to suffer from multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system (Staff report, 1995). However, some reside nts knew it was hard to pinpoint where health problems were generated. One resident, asked if he knew anyone who thought they may have
116 who used to live in this area tha dispositions. RQ 4 : What Audi ence Constraints if any could have Hindered the Effectiveness of the Risk Communication Efforts of the Various Key P layers ? If so, what were t hey? Every audience constraint was present in some form or another during this case study, and they were present for many reasons. Below each audience constraint is explored and examples are provided. Disagreement on the Acceptable Magnitude of Risk This audience constraint occurred at the highest level of audience members, including local utility officials who wer e pushing to get the land cleaned up to stringent Florida standards while Beazer East believed federal standards were sufficient. Almost every news article included examples of this disagreement. Most residents (n=11) did not agree completely with the EPA assessments of the risks. Most residents (n=12) also believed the only way the risk would be acceptable was if the land and the properties surrounding the land were cleaned up to Florida state standards. Some of these residents (n=4) believed the only way to completely eliminate the risk was to have the homes purchased. This debate was a one of the main reasons for the many different risk tolerance levels that were present. Beazer East informed the residents that samp les from their yards had tested positive for dioxin but all levels were below the company's proposed threshold for the substance 95 parts per trillion and proposed agency wide guidelines for the EPA 72 parts per trillion. The state of Florida's curr ent standard for residential properties, which is the current
117 requirement in the EPA draft plan for the Cabot Koppers site, is more than 13 times more restrictive 7 parts per trillion of dioxin than Beazer East 's proposal. "It's a pretty powerful carc inogen and that's why it's regulated and (permitted) concentrations are so low in terms of parts per trillion instead of parts per billion," said John Mousa, with the county Environmental Protection Department (Curry, 2011b). When it came to the water supp ly, often the EPA and Beazer East agreed that some level of risk was acceptable, but local audiences did not want any contamination, no matter how small the risk. An employee with GRU expressed his disagreement, We don't wan t anything in our wat We don't want to detect any co ntamination, even if it's below a leve (Adelson, 2006a). More disagreement occurred when the EPA made the decision that local creeks were not polluted enough to be cleaned up. Residents disagreed, saying they cherished the creeks and needed them to be safe. A Gainesville Sun article chronicled this conflict. But while the Superfund site is being cleansed of contaminants, the cre ek has not been touched. That's because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the Superfund cleanup, determined years ago that the creek wasn't polluted eno ugh to warran t any help. Some creekside residents are not convinced. They worry that if there is enough pollution to cause a stink, there might be e nough to cause them harm. "I'd definitely like them to clean it up," said Scrivener, whose family moved next to the cre ek eight years ago. "It's a creek. Kids play in it. It's just not the right place for it Another Gainesville Sun article was also offered evidence of this audience constraint. Although Beazer East, the EPA and the Alachua County Health Dep artment had agreed the risks associated with the contaminated soil were low, residents were still unconvinced.
118 A company official says the neighbo rhood is perfectly safe. Mothers who have stopped letting their ch ildren play in the yard. Garden ers who ar e afraid to eat their ve getables. Long time homeowners who are concerned about inhaling contaminated particles (Rolland, 2009e). One interviewee, who was one of the unconvinced residents, said, n my own opinion about what to be concerned about, the things that you rious than is realistic in the way that it s worded to the public Personal Interv iew). Another example of this audience constraint was the constant debate about Foster neighborhood reiterate d their opposition to the plan and demanded that Beazer East be required to purchase their homes (Curry, 2013c). One couple, who had moved to the United States from Spain, wanted a second rnment regulations in the United States and wanted to ask a consultant in Spain for his/her opinion. Actually we checked with some friends in Spain, who worked in architecture or landscaping or something and the funny thing is when we checked the labels of some contaminants in the area, in Spain you're not allowed to construct neighborhoods with this level of contamination and actually that was the last thing we would hear about t he place and then we would move (2013, November 25, Personal Interview). Another resident, one who took it upon herself to educate the neighborhood about the practical measures they could take to avoid the risk, said she felt the disagreement stemmed from a matter of experience versus numbers. And then at a certain point I rea lized the decision makers, based on real life conditions. as in the computer and, you know, you g et the idea (2013, October 4, Personal Interview).
119 Hostility/ Outrage Any time people are exposed to a risk involuntarily, as is the case with a Superfund site, there lies a chanc e that audience members will exhibit hostility or outrage toward the agencies responsible for communicating, and this case was no exception Residents and local lawmakers both ex pressed feelings of frustration, fear, worry and disappointment in the EPA, the Alachua County Health Department and Beazer East During every interview wit h residents (n=17), some degree of hostility and outraged was expressed. This anger and hostility was exhibited in many ways, including through protests. A member of Protect Gainesville Citizens recalled how a group of residents reacted at the art exhibit PGC had organized to raise awareness about the site. They brought, you know, si gns, and, um, baskets of eggs, rotten eggs to throw at the artists. Saying this is a white wash. They said, they spread the rumor that Beazer East has actually underwritten the exhibition so that the artists would purposefully m isrepresent the problems (2013, October 4, Personal Interview). of action by the EPA. She said had been dealing with it so long that it had scarred her emotionally. And I have been very disappointed that it has taken over 30 years since it was designated a Superfund site for us to see any real action and very on three anti e any way out and I that even they have been lax, but they need to be in touch with each individual person from the ge t go and ask what are our biggest concerns. (2013, October 7, Personal Interview).
120 Even lawmakers exhibited anger publically. Sen. Bill Nelson was one of the representatives who frequently criticized the EPA and pledged to help get the site cleaned up. "It just makes my blood boil as I try to stand up for Florida's environment, especially with the fragile ec osystem we have," Nelson said (Adelson, 2005c). Similarly, in 2008, the mayor at the time considered filing a lawsuit against Beazer East. Gainesvi lle Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said she's considering a lawsuit through the county against Beazer East, the Pittsburgh based company responsible for cleaning the site. The decision to sue will depend on the extent and timetable o f the cleanup, she said. "I'm pr etty much to the point of extreme frustration that something of this magnitude has dragged on this long," she said (Crabbe, 2008b). One resident who was a member of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., was so angry that she said what was goin g on in Gainesville was un American. The tactics being used in American citizens here are, I cannot find enough nasty adjectives to describe what is being inflicted on American citizens. And I expect that from a third world country, but from this country ? I am shocked. We all, every single person that I know that has been involved with this stuff wants out of this country. (2013, October 24, Personal Interview). While most of the hostility and outrage was caused by delays, some residents (n=9) were even angrier about what they perceived as a lack of communication. One resident said she was not actively informed by any agency about what the cleanup would entail. She said her house was in the remediation zone and she worried about what would happen to her p ets when the company dug up her yard. clean it up first and actually, they the plans. We are left out of the loop in a huge w ke calls . calls . calls . to find out what the heck is happening and it
121 a million questions, you know (2013, October 7, Personal Interview). Lack of Faith in Scientific/Government Organiz ations This was another audience constraint that was particularly common among the site for more than five years. Overall, about seven residents expressed this lack of fait h. These people often saw the EPA as taking the side of the polluter, and generally had low faith in government. Robert Pearce, a resident who also is involved with Protect Gainesville's Citizens, said the EPA is giving too much deference to Beazer East Ea st. "Many of us feel that EPA's plan, with its cover up remedy, strongly favors the interests of the culprit, namely Beazer East East, over the interests of the victims, namely the community, our land and our water," Pearce said before the meeting (Smith 2010f). believing the EPA was there to serve the American people, but that after their experience they knew they had been wrong. Others (n=3) said the fact that the TA G their point about the EPA not caring. Two residents who were part of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. claimed to have received death threats from people Others (n=3) felt unsurprised by the fact that the EPA had taken so long to solicit public input, mainly because they felt that no government organizat ions would make an extra effort to do so. And bu r eaucrats, agai n this is not a negative term, so government staff, in general and enginee rs also, want to muck up their day or
122 their job by getting a lot of other people involved in what t hey do. So they would really like to hold close information they have, decisions they have to make and then the decisions that they have made. So the fact that a CIP was not updated, even though I think they re supposed to update them like every 6 months, had not been updated in so long was in part a reflection of the fact that no one was making them do it. So nobody was making them communicate. There was no organ ized force to oppose this natural tendency of governmental staff and engineers in general to wa nt to communicat e with a whole bunch of people (2013, October 4, Personal Interview). Region 4, there are suit seen them stepping forward to be proactive in helping us move forward with this picture? (2013, October 7, Personal Interview). Even officials expressed concern about whether or not the EPA was going to help solve the problem. Some area officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they don't expect the EPA to rush to the rescue (Bruno, 2004c). in. In a Gainesville Sun letter to the editor, one r eader praised the city commissioners, Their compassionate actions on our behalf stand in sharp contrast to the misinformation campaign being waged by the Florida Anoth er resident agreed. Well, what I learned from this: first of all, EPA is huge T here are great people and there are these horrible bureauc rats what I feel about the Department of Health is that they have an official line that t think it s best for industry and what s best for business interest and government (2013, October 4, Personal Interview).
123 The residents involved in Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., decided to reach out to other communities that had dealt with a Superfund site for advice. When we first became aware of the Superfund site and the contamination and the scale of the contamination in our own homes, we reached out to other communities in the southeast. They gave us lots of advice; they had been aware longer and had been resident activis ts in their communities longer. They had warned us not to trust any type of government. They told us that anything the residents could achieve, the people who are suffering from this. Anything you can do independently, do it, because their experience, all these communities, their experience with government agencies at all levels was that they actually, I hate to say it, worked against residents. So it is designed to, this whole thing is, to do as little as possible, save Beazer as much money as possible, ke ep the community in the dark and claim victory and the wonderful thing that has been done for the community, and it is the furthest thing from the truth, a bunch of hypocrites, liars (2013, October 24, Personal Interview). Mistrust of Risk Assessment This audience constraint was often coupled with the lack of faith in scientific and government institutions. Again, the same residents (n=7) who had a general lack of faith altogether were also the ones who exhibited this mistrust. Other residents (n=3) did no t necessarily have a general lack of faith in the agencies, but still exhibited some degree of mistrust of the risk assessment in their interviews. Below are a few examples. Before the meeting, protesters stood at the intersection of Northwest Sixth Stree t and 39th Avenue, in front of Stephen Foster Elementary, carrying signs with messages such as "This is a cover up not a cleanup." Inside the school auditorium, a representative of an attorney who has a federal lawsuit against Beazer East East that seeks c lass action status video recorded the meeting (Curry, 2013b) I think the EPA wants to smooth it over so I don't really trust what I hear from them. I know there is a problem, I know there is a Superfund site and the yards have been dug up and teste d and tested high for bad things so Interview).
124 One resident said she received a good portion of her information from Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., but also had re ceived letters from Koppers. Well, I got lots of information from them, but Koppers was the one who sent me more reading stuff. Koppers was the one who sent me more information, even though I still don't deeply believe, I mean, I don't believe everything they are telling me (2013, November 25, Personal Interview). She went on to say she trusted the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., more than she trusted other agencies; however, she just wanted a neutral voice. Well, they are, they have been m ore . as far as I remember, they have different results in some stuff, and I think the Alachua Department, they were recognizing the level of the harm was higher and I think they are more reliable, but still I would like an absolutely and definite voic e, not paid by the government, by Koppers or the neighbors to check the site. I would really like that (2013, November 25, Personal Interview). Those residents who were particularly knowledgeable in research methods frequently described the health study a n inadequate because it was simply based entirely of census data. A letter to the e ditor that ran in the Gainesville Sun in 2013 is an example of this. The 11 health assessments that The Sun references in its June 12 editorial were taken directly from a F lorida Department of Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry list of 11 assorted Koppers reports consisting of testing plans, site reviews, neighborhood updates, a creek sediment rep ort and a census review. The department and agency added t he prefix "health consultation" or "health assessment" to almost every report in this new list making it look like a list of health assessments, misleading anyone who hasn't investigated Koppers issues. The census review was originally called a health stud y but was downgraded to "health consultation/review" after complaints that a health study has never been conducted. Who adds their medical info rmation to census forms? A real health study interviews residents, tracking the ir health even after they move (Ho dill, 2013). The Alachua County Department of Health said getting their hands on actual medical records to conduct the most accurate study would be difficult due to privacy laws.
125 Another example of this audience constraint was caused by the frequent disa greement between GRU and Beazer East. While Beazer East would put out reports showing no short term risk, GRU representatives would contradict the reports with their own, stating that the risk was somewhat higher. Therefore, even audience members who were employees of the city distrusted the risk assessments from Beazer East. The review, compiled by a consultant for GRU, criticizes modeling done by a consultant for Beazer East East, the company now responsible for cleaning up contamination of the former woo d treatment plant near N. Main Street and NW 23rd Avenue. "Their model has some unrealistic predictions," said Rick Hutton, GRU se nior water/wastewater engineer (Adelson, 2006a). s of Protect Gainesville Citizens. the EPA,was confident that what the lawsuit group were putting out were concl usions that were being drawn from those numbers by the lawyers that was highly suspect. Because of the process that they use in Mixed Messages Although mixed messages was not a specific audience constraint referred to in the literature, many residents (n=11) blamed their confusion and lack of trust in what was being communicated on fact that there were many conflicting messages being tossed around, as show earlier in the messages section. An art icle that ran in 1999 in the Gainesville Sun gave examples of this. Faded warning signs still are posted where the creek originates, near a mobile home park west of N orth Main Street. But state environmental officials say there's nothing to worry about. T hey left the signs up just to be on the safe side (Matus, 1999).
126 It was not uncommon for high and low risk messages to occur in the same article. This was particularly common in Gainesville Sun stories that covered the frequent debate between GRU and Beaz er East. Brourman assured residents that the levels of dioxins, arsenic and benzo(a)pyrene found in the soil were not of concern and that the state and federal standards for these toxins were extremely c onservative. "Living in that neighborhood based on the data we see today is perfectly fine," Brou rman said. "I'd live there" (Rolland 2009c). The Health Department hand delivered notices to the 20 households nearest the boundary, notifying them of the contamination and warning that children should be kept away from the 20 foot right of way between the neighborhood and the industrial site where t he soil tests results reviewed by toxicologists and the message we are trying to get out right now is for parents to not let their children play in that area due to the level of dioxin found ," said Anthony Dennis, environmental health director for the Health Department, in May (Swirko, 2009). Finally, GRU officials presented another message. GRU's report concludes toxins are moving through the surface and Hawthorn Group layers into the Flor idan Aquifer, and will continue to do so unless remedial actions are taken. The earlier report said chemicals were not being transmitted through the layers, and suggested some contamination detected in the lower layers was moved there during the process of drilling wells for the study (Adelson, 2005a) One resident explained that she was confused by the mixed messages she was receiving. Basically it was sa ying that it was some filtration, but everything was very superficial, nothing, nothing bad for the h uman and nothing bad for animals, becau se it was another issue. And then a lot of pets having cancer and tumors and this and that. And I thought it was extremely contradictory to have the sign from the local government and the information from the company. So I started to be very suspicious about the company. Then I received a letter from the local government and the letter of the local government was basically, what I remember was a letter that
127 was very much like a conciliation with the company saying that this is happening but everything is under control and it is going to be cleaned up and that was the moment I decided to join the litigation. When I realized that the local government was putting a banner saying this is really sending m e a letter saying that this is not (2013, November 25, Personal Interview). No Information/Sporadic Communication Again, although this was not an audience constraint present in the literature, it was an issue that came up frequently among the residents i nterviewed. A total of nine residents complained of a lack of information from the agencies involved. They often attributed their hostility or anger to this constraint. A member of Protect Gainesville communication, in his opinion. T here was no systematic communication that was being done. No process that had been established by any governmental agency outside of the which had not been updated in like 6 years The community involvement plan A: did not have up to date information, B: was not doing any kind of specific outreach to either the neighborhood affected, the residents affecte d, or the community in general. f eel like trashing them. I mean, I were experiencing a long, slow constriction of their funding and staff and you know they just had too much to do and when there was no way to get anything done here because they would have to take Koppers to court. I guess, I but you know private property reigns supreme done. It was just sort of languishing a very they had their own constraints (2013, October 4, Personal Interview). One resident interviewed said she would have liked to see the Alachua County Health Department more involved. She lived near Koppers for more than 10 years, but moved once she was diagnosed with breast cancer. No, nothing. NOTHING. And, in fact, I called my landlady, she lived in Vero Beach, and I told her, you know everybody has a notice on their doors, it does
128 I never heard anything more from her or anything. I never heard anything back from the Florida Department of Health. It was just like an informational sheet that they, you know, it was just this informational sheet that with that name and address and I never got another -anything else (2013, October 3, Per sonal Interview). Another resident who owns property in the area said he believed the Alachua County Health Department should have gotten involved earlier. Well, I think the health department should, I don't know, it really is probably not their not the ir part to try and raise new issues. It seems like they uite certain that they wouldn't have gotten involved at some point if they kind of did n't get dragged there by others, you know people are thinking they might have can cer and higher cancer risks and obviously at some point they realized they needed to get involved but I don't th ink they were being proactive (2013, October 24, Personal Interview). PGC was also criticized for not making information accessible to the low income people who lived around the site; these critics complained that PGC had spent most of the grant on a website. [PGC] specific name omitted got that $50,000 grant initially. She spent a eet the needs of the residents. There was no going into the neighborhood and rea lly assessing what they needed (2013, October 4, Personal Interview). Finally, the last criticism of communication that fell under this audience constraint was the lack of comm unication from the realtors in the area. Below are two examples found in the Gainesville Sun. For five years, her attorneys say, she and her daughter lived there without knowing that less than 100 feet to the east was the northwestern boundary of a federal Superfund site, a designation reserved for some of the most conta minated spots in the country (Smith, 2011c). ct This is the edge of the Koppers property, and it's bo rdered by a neighborhood of narrow roads, one story, single family homes and duplexes.
129 Allen Howard says he has lived here along Northwest 26th Avenue east of Northwest Sixth Street for about eight years. Howard says he had no idea when he boug ht the home that he was moving in down the block from a contaminated site with a federa l Superfund designation. Today, he says he has a 4 year old daughter who cannot play in the yard because of soil contamination (Curry, 2013a). Apathy The least common a udience constraint to occur in this case study was apathy. However, this could be due to the fact that the people who volunteered to be interviewed had a specific interest in the site and were generally concerned. One resident did display a certain amount of apathy. Although she was in the destroyed at her age. But others living near he r feared that the contamination from her yard could potentially spread to their newly cleaned up yards. In this case, her apathetic attitude could be seen as an audience constraint for communication efforts to get people to agree to have their yards cleane d up. I knew t hat we had a Superfund site and that people were quite upset about it. I'm not because I sai d I don't have any kids visiting or anything like that ant, you know, I just anyway, so (2013, October 17, 2013).
130 Table 4 1. Key players in the case of Cabot/Koppers Superfund site Key players Scope of involvement U.S. EPA The EPA was the main governing body for the Superfund program and was responsible for coordinating with the responsible polluter and the community for a cleanup plan that was satisfactory to minimize risk. In the case of Cabot/Koppers, the community involvement plan was implemented in 2008, after the agency realized that the community was already very much involved. Alachua County Health Dept. Th e Alachua County Health Department was responsible for putting out reports and conducting health consultations concerning the risks associated with the contaminants at the Superfund site. The agency, working under the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseas e Registry provided community updates explaining the extent of the risks. Gainesville Regional Utilities The local utility group was one of the catalysts for getting the storm water agenda by communicating with local officials. Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection/Florida Department of Environmental Prot ection This group was the local liaison between the city and the EPA. By communicating between the two groups, as well as with residents, they helped get the offsite soil contamination cleaned up to state standards. They also were present at community meet ings to answer questions about risk. Protect Gainesville Citizens This local nonprofit created by residents received the technical assistance grant from the EPA to hire a technical advisor. With the grant money, the group was also responsible for keeping the community updated by presenting fact sheets and having the tech nical advisor available to answer questions.
131 Table 4 1. Continued Key players Scope of involvement Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. This group was a self formed organization consisting of angry residents who were demanding justice. They h anded out flyers, and went door to door asking residents to join their lawsuit against the polluter and to tell them to resist any cleanup plan. Their main mission was to get the EPA to relocate them. Because their messages were disseminated more like prot ests, many residents credited them with being one of the loudest communicators during the entire process. Beazer East/Koppers Beazer East and Koppers were the responsible polluters (Beazer East briefly owned the Koppers facility and was financially respo nsible for the cleanup). This company was not only responsible for communicating with the EPA to draft a cleanup plan, but sent representatives and frequently was in contact with city officials and present at community meetings to give its suggestions on h ow the cleanup should proceed. Residents This particularly refers to residents who lived near the site and who were most involved with the contamination and cleanup. The residents voiced their comments at public meetings, and at city meetings, which the local officials and the EPA considered when creating the cleanup plan. Some individual residents also took it upon themselves to educate other neighbors about the risks, further segmenting the main messages.
132 Table 4 1. Continued Key players Scope of involvement Realtors Realtors were particularly important because some residents complained about not being informed that their property was near a Superfund site. This led to several lawsuits, and some said the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. used the scare tactics only to get the EPA to buy their homes because the property values had diminished. Alachua County and Gainesville city commissions The local legislative bodies served as a liaison between the community and the EPA and Beazer East. They communicated to these agencies the get an agreeable cleanup plan. However, some criticized local officials as using the site as a means to get votes.
133 Table 4 2. Report card of best practices Key players Involving the public Attention to demographic characteristics Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance Honesty Accounting for uncertainty Treating risk communication as a process Using a variety of credible s ources U.S. EPA 2 0 2 3 1 1 2 Alachua County Health Department 4 0 3 3 2 3 3 PGC 1 0 0 No data No data 0 0 Beazer East 1 0 0 No data No data No data No data
134 Table 4 3 Best practices and the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Alachua County EPD Analysis of best practices Involving the public? Because of its scope of involvement, this agency attended every community meeting as a local representative for environmental problems in Alachua County. Gainesville is unique in this sense, since every county does not have a local agency like this one. Th is agency frequently partnered with the health department to hold informational meetings, as well as include all of the Alachua County Health D contact informati on of employees of this agency was included in the d to the public by fielding phone calls. However, as to not step on the Alachua County Health D were referred to employees at the health department. Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance? Employees from the agency frequently made comments publicly about how the EPA needed to address this best practice. For example, one representative explained that this particular Superfund site was not one that could be ignored, especially because of the city where it was located "This is not a typical site that is out in a rural area where they can just leave it and forget it," Mousa said. "You are talking about a site that's in the middle of a city now. "So I think the stakes have gone up" (Bruno, 2003c) Representatives from this agency were also responsible for taking the information they received from residents and communicating these concerns to the EPA to try to get them addressed technica lly. So, by list ening to community members, the agency was also acknowledging their differing ranges of risk tolerance as well. One employee explains: know about my property, and have they tested it and I'm concerned and if it looks like it's a matter of sufficient public concern, we might Honesty? No sufficient data available Accounting for uncertainty? After one health consultation was issued regarding health risks news that it isn't an immediate health risk to the residents. But at the 2010). Furthermore, when asked for tips on communicating risk information, one employee explained how he does it, and his explanation included this best practice: ly what you know, don't try to sugar coat the problem. Because they'll come back to haunt you later on. Always be accurate in what you're saying to folks. Don't overstate things. If you don't know something just say you don't know or don't have information (2013, October 29, Personal Interview). Treating risk communication as a process? The agency incorporated this best practice in their communication with the EPA. Every time there was a particular concern that residents kept calling about, the agency would then communicate responsible for communicating to the public, they did not perform any type of formal evaluation.
135 Table 4 3 Continued Alachua County EPD Analysis of best practices Using a variety of credible sources? This agency provided technical information to the EPA. one employee explained technical expertise in certain areas and we basicall y come in and this a little bit differently, we think you need to be adding a little bit Interview). Attention to demographics? No sufficient data/not applicable Table 4 4 Best practices and Gainesville Regional Utilities Gainesville Regional Utilities Analysis of best practices Involving the public? communication, GRU involved the public by communicating with city officials. After noticing the risk for contamination, GRU officials were represented at city and county commission meetings and helped get the word of the risk to the EPA, so in a way by co mmunicating with the city officials, this agency helped mitigate the risk and influence the remediation plan. GRU officials were also at present at informational meetings to answer questions. Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance? GRU officials were not responsible for communicating to the debated with Beazer East in order to help get a remediatio n public than th e first version. Honesty? No sufficient data available Accounting for uncertainty? communicating with the public, the agency accounted for uncertainty and convince d the city commission to push fo r monitoring wells at the site. Treating risk communication as a process? Not applicable Using a variety of credible sources? Not applicable Attention to demographics? Not applicable
136 Table 4 5 Best practices and the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association Inc. Analysis of best practices Involving the public? was thought to be by most residents interviewed, the loudest voice, and for some (n=3 ) the only source of information (2013, November 25, Personal Interview). While the agenda of the group was debated, some residents (n=5) said the group was just making noise in order to win a lawsuit; it is safe to say the group took multiple measures to i nv olve the public. Sometimes its level of involvement overshadowed other key players such as the EPA and the Alachua County Health Department, which could instigate debate. By passing out flyers (Smith, 2010b), going door to door on multiple occasions, org anizing protests and public meetings, as wel l as running a blog, this group made their name known. In fact, most of the residents interviewed had heard of them (n=10 ) and not Protect Gainesville Citizens (n=4) On the other hand, when EPA officials asked t o see the data lawyer had, which stated the contamination extended 2 miles pass the site, the Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance? Some residents (n=4) felt alienated by this group because they thought it was being too extreme in its messages, therefore, this group only catered to the interests of people with similar viewpoints about the risk. Honesty? No sufficient data available Accounting for uncertainty? This group failed to account for uncertainty by failing Treating risk communication as a process? Not applicable Using a variety of credible sources? Not applicable Attention to demographics? Not applicable
137 Table 4 5. Continued Delay messages Description Examples Cleanup delays Messages like these focused on how long the cleanup was going to take, or focused on how long it took to decide on a cleanup remedy. Not surprisingly, this was one of the most frequent delay messages. protecting Gainesville's water, critics of the Koppers cleanup say progress has been slow and actio n Bird, director of the county's Environmental Protection Political/ monetary/ legal delays Oftentimes, the delays were blamed on political actions, monetary reasons (i.e. the Superfund going bankrupt) or because of litigation between the EPA and the responsible party. five years seems like a long time. But it took more than 20 years just to figure o ut the extent of the contamination under Cabot Koppers and to determine its potential threat to a drinking water system that serves more than 170,000 people. How much longer must Gainesville wait? Unless Congress reauthorizes a funding source for Superfun d and steps up enforcement, a quarter century (Staff report, 2004). Residents expressing shock/anger toward delays In many instances, the residents blamed their anger and frustration on the delays regarding cleanup and decision making. 25 years and is stunned by the lack of action in that time. She said her daughter did a science project on the Superfund site as a high school freshman and that daughter is now 37 years old. 2008b). City/local officials blamed for delays Although the city and any real authority over what happened with the site, there were still many messages that blamed these officials for lack of action. As most of the others did, Marsh accused commissioners past and present of dragging their feet on cleaning up the site at Main Street and 23rd Avenue that has been declare d a Superfund area, meaning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found hazardous waste in the soil or drinking water. Angulo said he visited the site a few weeks ago. derstand why (Smith, 2010a). Beazer East East blamed for delays Another common delay message floating around pertained to messages using the responsible party, B eazer East as the scapegoat for the long process. something he has done a number of times while in office regarding the 25 year old federally designated priority site. poken with Beazer East East, the primary responsible party, about immediate have gone by and there is no visible effort to cover, fence off, or otherwise isolate the areas where contaminants were f (Rolland, 2009d).
138 Table 4 5. Continued Delay messages Description Examples Disagreement delays Because of the way the Superfund program works, there were often messages blaming the delays on simple disagreement and debate, which prolonged remediation agreement. to a flurry of objections to a proposed change in cleanup plans for the Superfund site, which is at the northwest corner of Main Street and NW 23rd Avenue. The agency wants to remove more contaminated dirt on the site and wall up the pollution pockets that remain. But at a meeting in Gainesville on Monday, Alachua County and Gainesvi lle commissioners said the new plans did not go far enough in protecting city drinking water and making the land clean enough for potential homes and businesses.They also said the plan needed to address the Table 4 6. Delay message descriptions and examples. Delay messages Description Examples EPA blamed for delays/ Superfund program delays In almost every mention of a delay pertaining to mitigation of the Koppers site, there was a scapegoat and not surprisingly, the EPA was an easy one in most cases. Messages pertaining to this criticized the agency for either lack of oversight or blamed the entire Superfund program for being inefficient. responsible for the failure to follow required timely action, causing serious health risks to the citizens of (Hallman, 2011). e federal Superfund law is a cruel joke. For 25 years the Koppers site has been listed as a Superfund hazardous waste site. For 25 years, we've seen test after test performed. For 25 years, Gainesville has watched the "plum" of Koppers contaminated groundw ater creeping closer and closer to the city's well fields. And for 25 years no remedial action, no clean up, has been ordered by the EPA or undertaken by the company responsible for the site, Beazer East For a quarter of a century, the EPA has failed the citizens of Gainesville. For a quarter of a century, the Superfund law has failed the citizens of Gainesville. How much longer will this cruel joke be played out before the EPA does its job? Is the Superfund law (Editori al, 2009). Compromise to stop delays Toward the end, when a cleanup plan was finally being agreed upon, there were messages floating around that the city should start to cooperate with the EPA and Beazer East to speed up the process, even if the final r perfect. consent decree the legal agreement between Beazer East and the EPA on the cleanup Bird said the county the scope of work as decided on implemented without any further delays, that is probably commissioners have to be careful what we ask for during this comment per iod. I'm not going to recommend anything that's going to (Curry, 2103a).
139 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This case study highlighted many lessons for risk communicators to take into consideration when dealing with residential community. First, this study was one of the first case studies of the risk communication efforts associated with a h azardous waste site in the United S tates .; other similar studies were conducted in Europe ( Caracas and Nicole, 1997; Cross, 201 0 ; and Bennet et al., 2010). Second this study was also one of the first to examine risk communication through both the agency and audience perspective s (Sellnow et al., 2009). By comparing the audience perspectives and the efforts of the agencies, this study offered some insights into previous best practice literature and how it could be modified, as well as special populations about which risk com municators should be cautious Best Practices Hierarchy While the risk c ommunication li terature stresses the importance of each best practice, this study found that treating risk communication as a process and attention to demographics seemed to have a major effect on the other best practices. In other words, even if an agency attempted ever y other best practice, its efforts fell short if it se two. The EPA is one example of this. Although the EPA did attempt to involve the characteri stics and communication preferences into consideration while doing so ; therefore its attempt wa been. For example, the first instance of this best practice going wrong was the late implementation of the community involve
140 working on this plan until there was already hostility and outrage among community members, residents saw it as a way to calm the storm, or an insincere gesture. This late implementation also affected the best pra ctice of attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance. Although representatives eventually identified the different local groups who had differing perspectives about the risk, they more ment on the National Priority List. Had the organization been treating risk communication as a process, it would have started involving the public at an earlier stage and m ight have avoided some of the hostility and lack of trust among community members. In addition, the community involvement plan was only made available by request and was more than 50 pages long. Residents did not see it as easily accessible. If the organization had pa id attention to demographic characteristics by conducting a survey to d etermine how residents wanted their informa tion, perhaps the plan could have been better un derstood and the public may have seen efforts to them as more credible. Finally, the EPA did not treat risk communication as a process, and failed to conduct a ny evaluation to measure the effectiveness of its efforts. One example of this was the implementation of the TAG group. While EPA representatives applauded the organization saying it had great communicators and served as a neutral voice for the community, many residents disagreed. Some residents felt the group was not representative of their community and because the group was funded by the EPA, residents did not view it as a neutral source. Perhaps some sort of voting system for
141 leaders of this group wou ld have helped the resi dents trust it more. It may have given them peace of mind knowing the TAG group was elected by them. This new hierarchy of best practices was also seen in the Alachua County Health communication efforts. Although this was the only organization to attempt to conduct some sort of evaluation of its efforts, it received very little feedback mainly due to the fact characteristics of the community. The e valuation was at the bottom of each community update, but it was up to residents to mail it back Again, if the organization, perhaps in its door to door efforts, had asked residents which way s they would have like d to provide feedback to the organization, it could have come up with a better way to receive that feedback. This feedback could have helped inform the organization s other communication efforts. This ineffective evaluation and lack of attention to community characteristics affected the organizat to door efforts. Residents said representatives conducted the door to door surveying during a time that was inconvenient for the working class community members. In add ition, the agency only served notices to homes in the immediately affected area. The fact that notices were only given to a few homes very close to the sit e may have made other neighbors those who did not live in the designated high risk area feel left o ut So, while the agency did take certain actions to involve the public, it could have been modified in a way that included the broader community. lack of the two important be st practices. Publicly, representatives used caution in describing the uncertainties and limitatio ns in the health consultations. B ut whether their
142 audiences understood this uncertainty as a typical part of science or as bad science was unknown because of the lack of effective evaluation. Resident s opinions differed, but many felt the information lacked context or was too va gue. The department did explain the metho ds in its lengthy heath consultations; however th ese reports were more understandable to some one well versed in research methodology. Residents who were educated in the methodology often criticized the incompleteness of the studies. Protect Gainesville Citizens, the TAG group, also experienced hindrances in its attempts to incorporate best practi ces by failing to treat risk communication as a process or pay attention to community characteristics One example of this was the art exhibit that was held for the purpose of fostering conversation and compromise about the cleanup of the site. One residen t interviewed said the exhibit did not cater to busy, working class and low income families who lived in the immediately affected area. This could ha ve been the case because only five residents had heard abo ut the exhibit, and of those, three said they had no interest in attending it. The other two showed up at the beginning to protest. The remaining residents had not heard of the TAG group, or the art exhibit at all. Had the group paid attention to the characteristics of the community, the money and time m ay have gone toward a more effective gesture. In conclusion, this study showed that the hierarchy of the best practices in risk communication needs to be revisited. The results of this case study suggest that if the agencies had treated risk communication as a process and paid attention to community characteristics, along with the oth er best practices, the ir efforts would have been more successful. Audience constraints such as hostility and outrage, mistrust of risk assessment, and the perceived lack of co mmunication could have been mitigated or
143 avoided. It is important to note that this study was limited in its purely qualitative approach ; these conclusions were based on dialogue and textual data only. A quantitative study could help solidify the conclusions made. For example, for this case study, a survey could be distributed to the broader community to get a better pi cture of how the community as a whole felt, instead of a handful of residents. Beazer East Failing to Shed The second conclusion was that Beazer East the party responsible for the cleanup of the site, failed to shed the stigma associated with most re sponsible parties in Superfund sites By highlighting the actions that enforced this stigma, future responsib le parties may learn how to shed the stigma and promote compromise in the affected community. The first mistake Beazer East made was publicly failing to express sympathy for the community Conversations about money and constant disagreement with local Second, although the organization tried to involve the public by attending the public meetings, one f ailed attempt ruined this best practice. In 2009, the group gave residents a tour of the site, but refused to let a Gainesville Sun reporter have access to the tour. Residents saw this as a blatant lack of transparency and the stigma was enforced yet agai n. The effort was then seen as a public relations move, instead of a genuine attempt to get the community involved. Future responsible parties may benefit by treating risk communication as a requirement, and collaborating with the other community organiza tions. By incorporating best practices, expressing sympathy and being completely transparent, organizations may have a chance at shedding the bad guy stigma. It is important to note that Beazer
144 East officials were unavailable for interview, and these conc lusions are limited to textual data and interviews of residents. No Collaboration The third conclusion from this study was that the gaps in the best practices and the audience co nstraints seemed to stem mostly from the hodgepodge of messages being dissemi nated by the various organizations. that messages must maintain consistency. Residents often felt confused, which amplified their anger and other audienc e constraints. This study suggests that mixed messages should be a dded as an audience constraint in the risk communication literature. Had the organizations formed some sort of committee and formulated a communication plan together, the messages might have been portrayed in a more cohesive way and the community might have had more trust in the situation. Future research should explore further into this new audience constraint and confirm its need in the literature. One of the main messages circulating, which was often the cause of hostil ity and outrage was the discus sion about delay. These messages were portrayed through resident dialogue, advocacy groups and newspaper articles. One of the messages that sparke d the delays was the conflict about whether or not the EPA should purchase homes. The city was pushing for thi s action, yet Beazer East was constantly denying that it needed to be done. This resu lted in multiple cleanup delays, angering the public. A cohesive message about the science behind the risk, and whether the contamina tion was severe enough to require relo cation may have helped solve this argument and avoid the multiple delays.
145 Another message dominating dialogue and news articles was that the Superfund was out of money. This message was why many residents expressed a lack of faith in the key players at th e outset Perhaps, again, a coordinated message about how the law works, and the fa ct that the responsible party was financially responsible may have helped organizations avoid this audience constraint. Finally, contamination messages were very common, bu t very mixed. Some between parties involved could have ameliorated this problem. In conclusion, the messages in this case study were very mixed and seemed to be the cause of audience confusion, which amplified the audience constraints that were present Audience Constraints and Community Advocates Almost all audience constraints were pre sent in this case study, as shown in the results. These constraints were caused by many factors. First, the Alachua County Health Department and the EPA both ignored important best practices. Second, key players failed to cooperate and disseminate consiste nt messages. Audiences felt confused by the mixed risk messages. Third, many community activi sts participated in communicating risks, and their efforts often conflicted with and overshadowed the efforts of the official organizations. Because the EPA took s o long to involve the public, citizen groups started to form such as the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., a nd an unnamed resident who produced an eco health festival. Because these residents were in tune with the local community, many reside nts interviewed felt their efforts were more
146 trustworthy and effective. However, these groups were disseminating messages that conflicted wit h the official organizations. As stated before, residents were confused by these conflicting messages Therefore, because some residents trusted the community advocacy group members more, their hostility and outrage was directed toward the official agencies. New audience constraints, mixed messages and no communication were also revealed in this case study. Residents who complained of less effective communication were not saying the agencies failed in putting forth the effort, b ut instead, the agencies were not disseminating the information in a practical way. This constraint also stemmed from unscrupulous r ealtors who did not disclose information about the site to the residents prior to the purchase of homes. An Educated and Informed Public One of the major findings of this study was that Gainesville was a city in which the public was a uniquely informed c ommunity. Representatives from the EPA and other agencies frequently acknowledged this and said it was one of the reasons community. The public was involved on multiple levels. City officials, local utility officials and resident s were all audience members who demanded involvement from the EPA in ways the agency had not previously experienced. Below, these three au diences and their involvement are explained. Local Lawmakers City and c ounty commissioners were very much involved in the entire process and served as a middle man between the residents and the agencies. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was often quoted in Gainesville Sun articles parading his support for the city.
147 In 2009, before Koppers was fenced off, Nelson expressed his frustration with the federal agency, I understand the EPA has spoken with Beazer East, the primary responsible party, about immediate ac Yet days have gone by and there is no visible effort to cover, fence off, or otherwise isolate the areas where contaminants were 2009d, pg. A1). While Beazer East was fighting for one version of a remediation plan, the commissions were constantly pushing for a compromise. Some residents showed their thanks and appreci ation. In a 2008 letter to the e ditor in the Gainesville Sun, o ne reader wrote: situation even more, by finally securing help from the Superfund Program, is authentic. The final piece of the puzzle will now be to curtail the operations at Koppers. again (Murphee Leitner, 2008 pg. C1 ). ty commissioners, traveled to Atlanta to meet with regional EPA officials to express concerns in per son, another example of local lawmakers being significantly involved in the process (Curry, 2009b). Along with the local commissions, the Alachua County Environmental Protection ade note of its efforts to make sure the soils were cleaned up to the more stringent state standards. "For the City Commission and the County Commission, an important part of our overall concerns has been meeting th said cou nty Environmental Protection Department Director Chris Bird. "This is approxi mately 13 times less protective (Curry, 2011a, pg. B1).
148 In addition, the local government agencies were able to negotiate on multiple occasions to get the public comment period extended. I think we do need sufficient time to let the EPA know what our It appears that there's Local Utility Officials Another unique characteristi c of the Koppers Superfund case study was the fact that local util ity officials also played a major role in the outcome of the remediation. Gainesville Regional Utilities, the company that provides electric, water and other utility services was one of the first groups to bring the storm water issue to the table. In addition, the group also pushed for the monitoring wells that were installed to monitor groundwater pollution. While Beazer East and GRU reports often portrayed conflicting findings, GRU was pub licly fighting for more testing, monitoring and cleanup. GRU wants the Environmental Protection Agency to ask the company charged with cleaning the site that created the pollution to increase monitoring and start removing contaminants, said David Richardso n, GRU assistant general manager for water and wastewater systems "We are asking for aggressive action on this," Richardson said. "We're confident that EPA will think this is necessary. This data is so compelling that they have got to act on it" (Swirko, 2 005, pg. A1). The dialogue of GRU officials followed the same pattern throughout the entire case of the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site proving that the utility was an informed key player that influenced the outcome of the remediation. Residents Lastly, Gainesville was not without its very informed and vocal residents. These community members constantly put pressure on every agency and group involved. While community me mbers differed i n their opinions of what should be done some
149 demanded relocation, while some just asked that their y ards be cleaned up they all fought for justice. One resident, whose backyard was along Springstead C reek, one of the bodies of water affected by Koppers, helped get the issue of storm water management on to the nda s He physically traveled to the site and took video of the storm water flowing, giving physical proof that the site had no storm water management system that met legal standards. With video evidence and a Powerpoint presentation, he went before the cit y officials and made a strong case. That later became one of the problems Beazer would have to fix (2013, October 17, Personal Interview). Another example of residents being involved was the effort by local community members to form the nonprofit Protect Gainesville Citizens as a means to apply for the advisor to assist with interpreting test results as well as soliciting public input and outreach. But their communication efforts were not effective as they could have been. On the other side of the spectrum, there was a competing community group, called the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc., which consisted of disseminating the message s demanding of relocation and complaining about injustice. They were also part of a lawsuit in which they were suing Beazer East for health problems they claimed resulted from the contamination. Most of the residents Personal Interview), and some said they were the best at communicating because they However, Protect
150 Gainesville Citizens group members away from the compromise that was needed to begin cleanup. Nevertheless, the fact that two very prominent groups were present also made Gainesville a uniq ue case study. Another resident who had lived near the site for many years, decided to do an outrea ch program about the site on her own. She applied for a small environmental grant and, based on her own resear ch c onducted through UF, hosted an e co health festival to educate residents on practical steps they could take to reduce harm from the contamination. In addition, she also went door to door to her neighbors and surveyed tival. In conclusion, based on the various personal interviews it was apparent that the residents near the site had conducted their own research and formed their own opinions and observations about the extent of the contamination. Because this informatio n was both top down and bottom up, the end result perhaps was more in favor of the community than it would have been if the community had not been involved. Had the community b een less involved, the process might not have taken as long as it did. But in th e end, the final remediation plan was more adequate to the community than it would have been without public input. Informed Communities Need More Attention T his study provides evidence that official agencies, especially when dealing with a communit y like Gainesville, need to have communication plans in place ahe ad of time because they are reputation. Local officials and residents were very involved in what the EPA and Beazer East were d oing. For that reason, many of the audience constraints stemmed from the
151 delay and lack of comm unication early in the process. This problem comes from the nature of the law, which only requires the public to be involved after a particular decision has been made. That did not sit well with the local community in this case. This confirmed the Scrudato et al. (1991) finding that cleanups made with very little public This fi nding also showed t hat the EPA did not follow its seven cardinal rules, the first of Therefore, future risk communicators in these situations must be dedicated to beginning clear and consiste nt conversation with the public as soon as a hazardous waste site is placed on the National Priority List. If this had been done, some of the constraints such as mistrust of risk assessment and lack of faith in government organizations may have been avoi ded. It is also important to note that involving the broader public, instead of the community directly affected by the site, may pose an advantage. Some residents felt the agencies were trying to keep the problem secret by not sending out information to th e rest of the city. Doing so may give an agency more credibility if the residents see the gesture as an effort to be transparent. Conclusion In conclusion, it is safe to say that delays and conflict were the major causes of the miscommunication and audience constraints in this case study. Residents often felt powerless and felt their elected officials had no authority to help them. Communicatio n delays from the EPA caused angry advocacy groups to form, therefore instigating more conflict and mixed messages. Residents ended up confused, public meetings turned to screaming matches and a cleanup decision took more than two decades. Therefore, the e arlier the EPA can begin forming collaborative committees those which include
152 the more successful risk communication efforts will be. If a community is on the same page, exten sive delays can be avoided and cleanups can be timely. Limitations This study had several limitations. Because it was an exploratory study, it was mainly descriptive and aimed at offering insight into a topic not previously studied. The viewpoints uncover ed in the interviews offered general assumption s but a more quantitative approach, such as a survey could give insight into how the community as a whole felt In addition, some key players were unavailable for interview s and newspaper articles were the only means of getting insight into their efforts. Although the process of triangulation was used to ensure some sort of agreement in a purely qualitative study, this study did not use two coders and the interpretations are those solely of the researcher. Future research This study opened up several avenues for future research. First, this study suggests that following two best practices -paying attention to community characteristics and treating risk communication as a process -may determine whether the us e of the other best practices is successful. Future research should test this new hierarchy. One way to do this would be by conducting a case study in a similar situation where risk communicators were effective at implementing these two best practices in o rder to determine if the remaining best practices were more effective than in the case of Koppers. Future studies should also help reveal the most practical ways to implement these best practices (i.e. effective ways to conduct evaluation of communication ef forts). To gain a better view of how the community felt as a whole, future studies may use this
153 case study as a starting point for a quantitative study, using similar questions in a survey format. The researcher also found that Beazer East had failed to stigma due to a lack of public sympathy and failure to cooperate with city officials. Future research may take an experimental approach to test this theory. For example, groups of readers could be given separate versions of news artic les: one version with sympathetic dialogue from a Beazer representative and one with the original dialogue. After they read the articles, each group could be asked to rate the company to see An other avenue for further research may include investigation of the new audience constraints revealed in this study: mixed messages and lack of communication, and whether or not they should be added to the risk communication literature. This study also sug gested that better collaboration between agencies could have helped mitigate the many mixed messages floating around about the site. Case studies could be conducted of situations in which multiple agencies worked together in risk communication efforts to s ee whether the outcome was better or worse than in Koppers (i.e. fewer cleanup delays, fewer angry residents, etc.). Finally, residents who lived in the broader community as opposed to the immediately affected area were often angered because they felt l eft out of the communication process. Future research may explore the differences between involving only the immediately affected citizens versus everyone in the broader community.
154 APPENDIX A SAMPLE INTERVIEW GUIDE For residents/community advocates 1. Tell me a little about why you decided to participate in this study. 1. How are you associated with the Koppers Superfund site? 2. Talk to me about how you learned about the Superfund site? Do you remember about when that was? a. Have you been regularly updated o n the progress of cleanup? What types of notifications did you receive and from which types of organizations? Letters in the mail, social media, flyers? b. What types of messages did you receive? 3. Out of those notifications, which ones did you find most helpf ul? Why? 4. Were you aware of any public meetings about the cleanup agreement? Do you know anyone who attended any of them? Tell me about them 5. How do you evaluate trustworthiness of the Environmental Protection Agency? Can you elaborate? Give any examples? 6. How do you evaluate the trustworthiness of the Alachua County Health Department? Why? Can you elaborate or give any examples? 7. Do you believe scientific data put out by these organizations is trustworthy? Why or why not? Can you elaborate or give any examp les? 8. Were the health risks presented to you? Can you elaborate or give examples? 9. Did you know anyone personally who thinks they may have suffered from health 10. Overall, how would you evalua te the communication efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency? Can you elaborate? What would you have liked to be done differently? 11. Overall, how would you evaluate the communication efforts of the Alachua County Health Department? Can you elaborate? What would you have liked to be done differently? 12. Do you know of any other organizations that communicated information about the site? Explain. (if yes, ask questions 5 10 about that organization, i.e. PGC, 13. In your opinion, what do you thi nk would be an ideal communication strategy for these organizations to cater to you? 14. Any other comments that you would like to add? For Alachua County Health Department/EPA person n el /PGC Board Members/City and county government personnel 1. Talk to me a little about why you decided to participate in this study.
155 1. When did you start getting involved with Koppers Superfund site and how? 2. communication plan? Can you 3. What are some of the strategies you use to communicate uncertainties to laypeople, for example the Stephen Foster residents? a. Do you consider demographics? b. Public meetings? c. flyers/social media? 4. What specific tactics did yo ur organization use to interpret scientific data to the residents? How did you measure effectiveness? 5. communication efforts? Do you think the risk or crisis communication plan helped out with these? 6. communication efforts? How could these have been improved? 7. What were the key challenges in the communication efforts? 8. How do you think the residents responded overall? Why? 9. How do you think your communication efforts compare to other organizations involved in the communication process? Any specific examples?
156 APPENDIX B EXAMPLE RESIDENT TRANSCRIPT INT 6 10/7/2013 ME: To begin, can you tell me a little bit about why you agr eed to participate and meet with me? INT 6: Um, well I have lived in my neighborhood since 77, I had been aware of this whole Superfund site since before it was released to the public and I felt at the beginning that this would be taken care of pronto, be wise and what have you. And I have been very disappointed that it has taken over 30 years since it was designated a Superfund site for us to see any real action and very li ttle actionin the neighborhood governments whatsoever but by the people who live in the zone to make something happen. I think we would still be way back square on al upscale We need relief, so I want to see something come of this. released to the public, how did you hear about it? INT 6: I worked at..I worked for environmental science and engineering who had the contract with the EPA to set all of the Superfund sites throughout the united states. So, and I worked for document production who worked with every single department to put person and I was in on EVERYTHING. I was under zip my lip..you know. ME: So you saw all the science and everything? INT 6: (Interrupts) Oh yeah yeah yeah! ME: So what was your reaction when you saw it? flabbergasted and I live right next door and of course I knew done anything with the stacks they were getting blown by from the creosote and you could smell what was c then they did do some reparation to the stacks before any of the cleanup started at love nature and I wanna really is going to get something done soon. INT 6: (Interrupts) Well I also knew because there were things going on there that were not ri ght because I was one of the citizens who was complaining about the smells when they would, you know, when they would burn and it was just like pure creosote that you s
157 in the neighborhood who made complaints way way way back then, you know. As soon as I moved in I was complaining about it in Fall of 77. ME: Now, when do you think the general community was notified? INT 6: I have no idea. I wanna say it was before 83, but I know absolutely in the Spring of 83 that the general community..well people who paid attention..I wanna say out of sight out of mind, oh yeah..you know big deal..its not a big deal or what have you. I still as any notion of the scope of contamination that we have been subjected to and how contaminated the property is. Even now, I community with the university students..and what ha ve you. But there are a lot of people protected in any way. I can lea ve? Leave to where? I paid good money and I still have s I found out how toxic my property was I right. And they least a half a dozen friends that were my dear friends across the street from me and the that information at all. responsible party for the cleanup has no consider the fact that some of us have lived here for a very long time. But our people who buy. Some people have bought property withou t the awareness of what is
158 going on and have been compensated because they were not told that they lived in you know, a toxic area. So they brought suit and got their money back and moved out. And, do you do but die in the midst of? So. the health department or EPA communicated to you personally? ailings from..which are general mailings..I the neighborhood or in town could go to their meetings and see whats going on. Well I mostly wanted to talk about the safety stuff that was g oing on at Koppers and the fact that they had nothing to do with the cleanup. So I got nowhere and there were e but it not our job and its Beazer East and you know. Finally Beazer East started showing up, Ed Browerman mostly, and some of his whatever. Uh representatives. And so they started having a few more meetings here and there and I was at all of those meeting s, department had put out notices about contamination in the soils and you know not to ME: How did you feel about the notifications the health department put out? hout taking my shoes off and not have my windows open. I should not be digging in the soil sorry I would not have children in my neighborhood. Period. Amen. And there are better and I s of some of us who have very very toxic areas and how can you keep kids from you know, being exposed and respiratory problems, I have my own nebulizer machine. I have m y own puffer when I
159 I know [name omitted] and I people know me. I know them, they know me because I am not afraid to say how I feel about all of this stuff know until not this past weekend, weekend before being at Morningside and Native Plant Society Plant he is already working with the EPA and Beazer East what have you to be one of the oing to clean it up us to make calls calls calls to find out what the heck is that way. We should be in on it and I have a million questions, you know. We take care somewhere else at this time and we can be put friendly and that kind of thing. But also I take care of three feral cats that may been taken care of. I had them spayed and neutered. This is their home. They live in twice a day for years. What hap pens when all this stuff happens, can we get helped to will break loose and w hat will we do? Can we get help with that? Because some family have pets, can they help us with that? And also I mean, my house was built in the 40s I have really really, my..the plumbing from the waterpipes from the street to my house has NEVER been chang ed and I have a real problem there are some cracks and I wanna say it was from when they were digging the wells..digging the well that was right water bill that is from th going to look into that and help us? You know, when they start scraping our yards and going down and finding al somewhere in lala land that someone could say that. Period. ME: So how would you like for them to communicate to you? on the city and county commission knows me by sight and by name and what have you need to be in touch with each individual person from the get go and ask what are our
160 ing and saying r critters, our in home critters? What about the outdoor, what about these other things that we know are going to be affected and probably going to pop up? And how is that going to be handled? If they were talking about re putting more the sewer pipes and improving our residence, well what does that mean? Does that mean they are going to look into our have about because my yard is so toxic and I was there when they did every single one of the test holes, you know when they were testing the soil. They did not go down 2 and 3 and what have you feet, I was there and they went the minimum. Even Pat Cline knows this because she was there as well with me and the other people. (Sighs) well if my yard is y soil is not toxic 2 or 3 feet further down? And before, once they scrape up that soil and they just rden or what have you and toxic soil again. I want them to be responsible for testing the soil as things happen, like after they scrape, test again. Scrape a foot, the next foot, I want my toxic soil taken out, d I have been there. INT 6: (interrupts) Yeah! Of course I did I went to the city and county commission, I was ME: What do you mean by time limit? INT 6 : Well, at city and county commission meetings..you know and [name omitted] was absolutely valid. Well they assured us that they, that after they had scraped the soils and put them in, they would be following it for the next millennium or however long and I er that, Scooby doo with the whole thing. ME: How much would you say you trust the EPA?
161 INT 6: I do not. ME: Could you elaborate? that has had to deal with Region 4, there are suits against region 4 EPA because seen them stepping forward to be proactive in helping us move forward with the ME: What about the Health Department? picture. And standards and what giving out the infor mation that is given to them to pass on to us. ME: Now the information that they do give out, you know, about the different health risks, do you think its understandable? INT 6: Well, if it was, I think its, its written simply enough to where you get a be tter feeling than you should have in my own opinion about what to be concerned about, the off and all the toys off and wash their hands off and make sure that the exposure is realistic in the way that its worded to the public. ME: Besides the EPA and the Health Department, did you ever experience any community organizations who were trying to communicate and get word out? you know what we have group, who are not really communicative very often with our neigh borhood at large. Pat and I know each other very well, but she referred us to one another, me to you, you to ME: What do you think were the strengths, maybe how it helped, an d the weaknesses? many other agencies and businesses and what have you that are willing to help the neighborhood out in terms of rehabbing, you know. Rehabbing our yards in particular. I have a vision that we could all look forward to and things like that, things that we could, l households, period amen. It, there are things that have been announced but unless people go door to door of the door to
162 take the time to get to know my neighbors. I know my neighbors and I know a lot (emphasis) of other people as well and I just think that, there needs to be a HUGE effort to contact absolutely everybody and everyone invol ved in this particular project, you know, all of the houses that are gunna undergo any of the stuff, but the neighborhood at they have come up with a way to pull it together and do aindividual effort. You know I all of the, because supposedly there are all these businesses that have stepped forward umbrella and..(voice trails off) ME: Did you go to their art exhibit? INT 6: Yup ME: And how do you think that turned o ut? ME: Do you think it was people actually from the neighborhood or more Gainesville as a whole? you think might be important? INT 6: Well, I guess I wanna ask if you, you know have a take on all this and in terms of that I lived with, she has none of the experience t and I took her to a Stephen Foster community meeting that we have every other month and it was the first one she had been to ever, I used to go all the time when it was held in the IBW and then it switched..so I was going for years and then she went to a few but t my house, you know, years ago in 89 where it had house that there was a Superfund site at the end of the block, so you know there are a lot of people who really are in the dar k and so I guess I have concern about what kind of reaction when you have talked to more people and are you looking for more people who absolutely have no experience whatsoever and if and when they hear and I do know other people I mean I can talk to some folks that I know that are peripherally aware of but you might wanna talk to them.
163 APPENDIX C CODE BOOK Audience constraints 1. Disagreement on the acceptable magnitude of risk Coded when residents expressed a different perception of the risks than the key communication players (i.e. Key player suggests risk is low and should not be worried about, resident disagrees and verbalizes the disagreement). This was also coded for if city officials (either lawmakers or utility officials disagreed with E PA/ Beazer East East since the city was representative of residents. 2. Hostility/outrage Coded when residents/city officials expressed concern involving a negative outlook on the situation (either verbalized in quotes from local news coverage or in dep th interviews). 3.Lack of faith in scientific/government organizations Coded when residents/city officials spoke of feet dragging, delays, or overall attitude of not trusting the government to clean up the mess (either verbalized in quotes in local new s coverage or in depth interviews) 4. Learning constraints Coded for when a resident/city official expressed confusion on the risk messages being disseminated and gave an explanation why (i.e. a resident says the language was too technical). 5. Mistru st of risk assessment Coded for when resident/city officials express skepticism when referring to tests results measuring the risk associated with the site (in quotes in local news coverage or in depth interviews). 6. Mixed messages Coded when either ne ws stories explained the different messages being disseminated by the various key players, or when residents/city officials expressed confusion due to the mixed messages. 7. No information/sporadic information Coded for when residents/city officials com plained of getting enough information relating to the risks associated with Koppers. 8. Apathy Coded for if residents/city officials expressed apathy, or the general perception that the dangers associated with the Superfund site were far fetched.
164 Best practices 1. Involving the public a. Coded for when key players made efforts to involve the public (i.e. public meetings, flyers, going door to door) Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews and risk and crisis communication plans, if any. 2. Attention to demographics a. Coded for when key players made efforts to understand key audiences and cater to their specific needs (i.e. reading level, SES, level of involvement with the issue). Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews and ri sk and crisis communication plans, if any. 3. Attention to diverse levels of risk tolerance a. concerns, try to compromise on cleanup plan) Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews and risk and crisis communication plans, if any. 4. Honesty a. Coded for when key players made efforts to portray the messages honestly because the honesty is based on perception, this be st practice was analyzed based on the in depth interviews of residents to see how they perceived the level of honesty from the key players. 5. Accounting for uncertainty a. Coded for when key players made an effort to explain the risk assessment process and the reason why the information will always contain a certain level of uncertainty. Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews and risk and crisis communication plans, if any. 6. Treating risk communication as a process a. Coded for when proof of key players conducting some check and balance of how their effective their messages were either by evaluation or surveys. Also any of the other best practices fit into this category. Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews and risk and crisis communication plans, if any. 7. Using a variety of credible sources a. Coded for when multiple sources were cited when scientific information was presented. Information from press releases and risk and crisis communication plans, along with any other public inf ormation put out by any of the key players. 8. Collaboration/involving city officials a. Coded for when there was proof of key players involving local lawmakers and attempting to compromise with them. Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews an d risk and crisis communication plans, if any. 9. Linking science and emotion
165 a. Coded for if key players used any creative techniques to make the scienctific information relatable to the public through emotion. (One example was an art exhibit expressing residen Opposite of best practices 1. Lack of evaluation Coded for when key players did not show they evaluated the effectiveness of their risk communication plans (info from in depth interviews as well as risk and crisis communication plans. 2. Coded for when key players were criticized for not paying attention to the specific concerns of the public. Information from in depth interviews and local news coverage. 3. Brushing seriousness aside perception of the risk (i.e. Officials from Beazer East saying there is nothing to worry about when the general perception of the pu blic is that there is). Information from in depth interviews and local news coverage. 4. Sweeping information under the rug/not making information public information not being transparent. Information from in depth interviews and local news coverage. 5. Using vague messages a. messages without explaining the uncertainty involved or explaining the risks in context that the public can understand. Information from local news coverage, in depth interviews and risk and crisis communication plans, if any. Main messages 1. Delays a. Messages expressing delays with the cleanup/remediation or any other step of the Superfund process 2. Getting bought o ut a. homes bought due to the involuntariness of living near a hazardous waste site. 3. Injustice a. Messages expressing the perception of injustice due to the presence of Koppers or the lack of ac tion towards cleaning it up 4. Out of sight, out of mind a. contamination, people do not worry about it. 5.
166 a. Messages expressing perception that the Superfund is only a problem for those who live right next to it, not a general community concern. 6. Superfund bankrupt a. Messages that emphasize the fact that the Superfund is dry, and then blame problems on the fact. 7. Cleanup on schedule a. Messages expressing the perception that the cleanup is right on schedule. 8. Contamination a. Messages expressing the perception that the contamination is high and poses a risk 9. Danger/high risk a. Messages expressing perception that the general risk is very high a nd an urgent concern. 10. Hope of a clean up a. Messages expressing the perception that although the cleanup has taken a while, there is still hope. 11. Low risk a. Messages expressing perception that the risks associated with the site are generally low, people shouldn 12. 2 mile radius a. Messages expressing the controversial and well debated perception that the soil dust contaminants affect an area of 2 miles surrounding the site. 13. Disagreement/debate a. Messages expressing the perception that there is much debate and disagreement concerning the site. 14. No immediate danger, long term risk a. Messages expressing the perception that the site poses no immediate danger, but if left alone could cause long term prob lems. 15. Uncertainty a. Messages expressing the perception that the risks associated with the Superfund site were uncertain 16. Your own back yard a. Messages expressing the perception that the risks associated with the Superfund site are in your own backyard. 17. Health effects a. Long term effects b. High contaminants c. Friends who have suffered d. Personal health effects e. Pet health effects Superfund constraints 1. Monetary constraints a. Coded for when Superfund problems were blamed on money (i.e. Superfund being bankrupt)
167 2. Litigation a. Coded for when litigation was blamed for the ineffectiveness of the Superfund Law 3. Organizational problems a. problems with Superfund 4. Politicization a. Coded for when the problems with Superfund were blame d on politics Beazer East East constraints 1. Time constraints a. Coded for when the concept of time was blamed for slow remediation 2. Monetary constraints a. Same as monetary constraints for Superfund except pertaining to Beazer East East 3. Organizational problems a. Sa me as organizational problems for Superfund but pertaining to Beazer East East Suggestions 1. Sending mail outs a. Coded when residents suggested that key players send mail outs to keep them informed. 2. One on one encounters a. Coded for when residents suggested key players talk to them individually to keep them informed. 3. Sooner, rather than later a. Coded for when residents suggested key players give them information as quickly as possible to keep them informed. Unique factors in Koppers Case study 1. Educated/informed public a. Local lawmakers i. Coded for when lawmakers expressed concern and became involved in the risk communication process involved with the site. b. Local utility officials i. Coded for when local utility officials expresse d concern and became involved in the risk communication process involved with the site. c. Residents i. Coded for when local residents expressed concern and became involved in the risk communication process involved with the site.
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181 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Rebecca Burton is currently in her sixth year of communications studies. In May, she will research and produced studies accepted to professional conferences for organizations such as the Inte rnational Communication Association and the Association for Education in Jou rnalism and Mass Communication. journalism with a minor in marine biology. During her undergraduate career, she interned and freelanced for multiple news agencies such as NBC Miami, The Miami Herald, and the Scripps Howard Foundation. Rebecca is currently the communications coordinator for Florida Sea Grant College Program and is a member of the Societ y of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers.
DOI: 10.2501/JAR-53-4-377-390 December 2013 377INTRODUCTION Children play an important role in todays consumer society. Their perceptions, beliefs, and thought processes are important to marketers, advertisers, strategists, and policymakers. Ever since the postWorld War II baby boomwith its burgeoning younger populationmarketers have seen the value that children have as a mass market (Gunter and Furnham, 1998). Children not only have money to spend themselves (Furnham, 1999) but signicantly inuence adult purchasing (Mangleburg, 1990; Wilson and Wood, 2004). This applies particularly to children heavily exposed to consumer advertising (Brody, Stoneman, Scott Lane, and Sanders, 1981). Advertising to children is tightly regulated and requires research and evaluation using valid and reliable techniques (Banister and Booth, 2005). Traditional methodsincluding observation, questionnaires, focus groups, and in-depth More than Just Snap, Crackle, and PopDraw, Write, and Tell: An Innovative Research Method with Young ChildrenROBERT J. ANGELL CATHERINE ANGELL
378 December 2013 interviewshave proven to be less effective when utilized with younger age groups (i.e., ages 5 to 11 years; Davis, 2010). Creative methods are thought to have greater potential for engaging children as participants rather than objects, affording researchers a deeper insight into their experiences and perceptions (Pole, Mizen, and Bolton, 1999). One such method used in the education and health sciences is Draw and Write. Its applicability, however, has been questioned as a consequence of several limitations. Draw, Write, and Tell (DWT) represents an evolution of this method but with greater potential for application within advertising research. Grounded in a child-centered philosophy, it enables children to have a voice with minimal adult inuence or bias. One of its foremost advantages is its simultaneous use of different collection methods, permitting the analyst to triangulate between sources. Data then are used to form commentaries, encouraging a more holistic extraction and representation of phenomena. The current paper introduces DWT. A systematic framework for its application is provided for future replication. Using a case study of childrens associations toward a well-known breakfast cereal following an advertisement, the research demonstrated how DWT may be advantageous when compared to both its predecessor, Draw and Write, and more traditional methods. The value of DWT to adver tising researchers is clearly addressed. Although unrelated to the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique method, this article borrows from the philosophy that research methods should extend surfacelevel explanations, procuring data suitable for developing and evaluating advertising copy and communications (Zaltman and Coulter, 1995). DWT is appropriate in both regards: It provides an enjoyable and engaging activity, simultaneously collecting valid and reliable data. From a practical perspective, advertisers can use DWT as a method for both evaluating and (if necessary) redesigning their advertising strategies. It consequently represents a further crea tive method in the armory of researchers operating in the eld of marketing and advertising. The following section recounts the distinct research literature regarding children, consumerism, and methodology before introducing DWT. The authors also provide a series of conclusions with limitations and suggestions for the future development of the method. LITERATURE REVIEW Children as Consumers Children are a credible consumer segment. This was recognized in a recent report, by U.K. bank Halifax (2013), which showed that children younger than age 15 had access to more than 6 ($10) per week in pocket money, most of which was spent rather than saved. Similarly, in the United States, children between ages 8 and 11 were thought to spend an estimated $30 billion per year (Lagorio, 2009). The nancial inuence of children extends beyond their own spending (Lawlor and Prothero, 2010), with more research suggesting them to be integral in the wider purchasing decisions of their family (Mangle burg, 1990; Wilson and Wood, 2004). This latter point coincides with earlier work, which showed children to be heavily involved in many everyday purchasing decisions (Szybillo and Sosanie, 1977). Indeed, it is estimated that children are responsible for a further $130 billion worth of family pur chasing each year (Lagorio, 2009). Organizations are equally attracted by the opportunity to stimulate lifelong brand commitment, particularly as brand reliance is thought to be rmly established in some children as young as 2 years old (Hite and Hite, 1995). Marketers thus have developed strategies to target children using tailored advertising and communications. Estimates suggest that total spending on this type of strategy represents approximately $17 billion per year in the United States (Lagorio, 2009). Developmental studies from both psychology and marketing offer a number of insights into the inuence that advertising may have on children (Young, 2010). This is thought to be mediated by age, whereby children move from knowledge structures that are uni-dimensional and concrete to those that are multi-dimensional and abstract (Roedder and John, 1999). As such, decision-making and inuence strategies tend to be less complex and calculated in young children and more complex and strategic in adolescents (ages 11 to 16 years). It is noteworthy that although children increasingly are cognizant of the under lying motivations of advertising as they mature, they remain inuenced, to some degree, by its content (Young, 2000). This magnies the importance of qualifying whether younger children fully under stand advertising messages. Children as Research Participants Within the last 20 years, there has been a change from a paternalistic approach when researching the lives of children and young people (Hunt, 2004). This has been replaced by a move toward recognition of childrens rights to be heard and to par ticipate in decisions that affect them (Cree, Kay, and Tisdall, 2002). One of the motivations for involving children in research is the understanding that they frequently have concerns and perspectives different from those of adults (Hill, 1997). Moreover, they have ideas and opinions about the world around them,
December 2013 379 which may or may not be shared by adults but still represent their own unique experiences (Greene and Hill, 2005). Accepting that children have needs, skills, and vulnerabilities different from those of adults also is essential if research is to yield valid and reliable data. Traditional approachesobservation, questionnaires, focus groups, and in-depth interviews may not always be effective with younger children (See Table 1). As a consequence, researchers have been advised to seek and use other more suitable methods (Davis, 2010). A potential solution to some of these issues has been the development of a range of creative data-collection methods (Davis, 2010; Punch, 2002). These have emerged from both academic and practitioner literature, where the objective is to complement childrens thought processes and skills while simultaneously maximizing their research contributions (Barker and Weller, 2003; Gauntlett, 2007). Children and Creative Methodologies Creative methods range from those that are visual and tactile to those that are performance-based (Coad, 2007). Some notable examples include artwork (Horstman, Aldiss, Richardson, and Gibson, 2008); picture collages (Vaughan, 2005); map making (Darbyshire et al., 2005); activity charting (Maunther, 1997); Lego (Gauntlett, 2007), photography (Darbyshire et al. 2005), video making (Gauntlett, 1997); and acting and puppetry (Sahoo, 2003). Advocates argue that creative methods provide children the opportunity to build ideas in stages (Gauntlett, 2004, 2006). Using techniques that reconstruct the context of a memoryor guide children through visualization or associating memoriesfurther assists in this process (Fivush, 1998; Gauntlett, 2004, 2007), providing the necessary thinking time (Harden, Scott, Backett-Milburn, and Jackson, 2000). The techniques also provide children with time out to consider and review their responses. It is argued that many creative methods reduce the problems experienced when translating visual experiences into different forms of communication, such as writing or speaking. Of particular signicance to advertisers is the notion that creative methods operate to a substantial degree on a visual plane matching the highly visual nature of popular culture. This provides a match between mediated experiences and the method used to explore them, and is thought to contribute to the generation of better quality data (Gauntlett, 2006). Some researchers have explored the idea that physical activity helps to stimulate body and mind in creative settings (Gauntlett, 2006). In addition, creative methods also are recognized for being suitable with non-English speakers (Box and Landman, 1994) or children who have learning needs and difculty in communicating in the traditional manner (Pridmore and Ben delow, 1995). As a result, these techniques have proven increasingly attractive to researchers in marketing and other subjects (e.g., education, health, sociology, and psychology). This is particularly true when the objective is a better understanding of childrens beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions (Banister and Booth, 2005). Researchers regularly seek to identify methods that t this paradigm (Davis, 2010).TABLE 1 Method Issues Reference 2000 2005
380 December 2013 DWT is a new creative research method that places children at the center of its philosophy. Its foundation is in the Draw and Write method conceived by Wetton in the 1970s (Gauntlett, 2004). Since then, Draw and Write has been successfully employed in a number of health and education contexts (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999). Both methods offer participants the opportunity to produce artwork around a subject or question and to annotate this with text or labeling. In using DWT, par ticipants also are invited to describe and interpret their drawing in a tell session. As will be shown, this innovation contributes to improving the validity and reliability of data. Both methods still place the act of drawing at the center of their design. The benets of children engaging with visual forms of data are clear. For instance, the creative and organic use of artwork makes the Draw and Write method well suited to disciplines in which these traits are integral (i.e., advertising and market ing). When children create artwork, they tend to do so in a conversational manner, with pauses followed by urries of activity as they stop to consider ideas. This signies a procession of thoughts and concepts, as opposed to random creativity (Matthews, 2003). They appear to use drawing as a means of planning and clarifying their thinking, in the same way that designers use sketching to converse with themselves (Anning, 1997). It also is well established that children use art as a form of narrative with which to develop ideas and stories (Anning and Ring, 2004). This is supported by the notion that artwork allows them to logically build and/or recover memories one piece at a time (Davison and Thomas, 2001). Despite the advantages of using artwork, several issues pertaining to Draw and Write have recently emerged in an extensive review of health and education literature (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999). This led to the innovation and development of DWT. Selected criticisms are discussed within the context of the new method presented here. THE DEVELOPMENT OF DWT DWT is based on a philosophy that each child is a unique individual, with the ability to freely express his or her experience as he or she perceives it. It seeks a childs eye view without the input of adults, aspiring to promote as much creative freedom as possible for participants. This largely separates DWT from other research methods used in marketing, advertising and, more widely, social science. As part of this approach to involvement there is an inherent expectation that assent, and choices about participation, are respected. Limitations of Draw and Write Previous research has found a number of problems associated with the Draw and Write method: A lack of philosophical underpinning has led to its inconsistent and sometimes contradictory utilization. Many researchers have failed to articulate their positions relating to the role of children and their rights or capabilities. As a result, research protocols have not always been congruent with the use of a child-centered method (Fargas-Malet, McSherry, Larkin, and Robinson, 2010). For example, some research has used adults (i.e., parents and guardians) to give information by proxy rather than valuing and trusting the information given by children themselves (Scott, 2000). Other studies have sought to control childrens contributions by heavily managing their creative endeavors, in terms of imposing narrow parameters, or limiting materials and time (Pridmore and Lansdown, 1997). The interpretation of creative work car ries a risk that drawings may be taken as literal interpretations of thoughts and experiences (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999). It is now widely accepted that childrens art, although inuenced by some drawing conventions and familiar symbols, does not adhere consistently to conventional codes. This means that semiotic analysis cannot be applied (Jewitt and Oyama, 2001). When working with children, there always is a risk of misrepresentation due to the inability of adults to truly under stand a childs world (Christensen and James, 2000). One of the most comprehensive reviews of the literature regarding the psychology of childrens art demonstrated this inadequacy empirically (Thomas and Silk, 1990). DWT solves this problem by asking children to write and then tell the researcher about their drawing, its content, and meaning. This will be elaborated on in the following section through a case-study application. Analyzing data from creative methods starts with interpreting picture content in terms of objects, people, and places (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999). In most cases, however, this practice is quantitatively disseminated (Gabhainn and Kelleher, 2002), leading to a per ception that researchers (using these methods) are unsure about how to analyze and make sense of the data except by counting it (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999).The benets of children engaging with visual forms of data are clear.
December 2013 381 Others have used picture-content analysis in a qualitative manner, usually by coding and categorizing (Horstman and Bradding, 2002), with some case studies attempting to identify emotions or what the child is trying to convey (Horstman et al., 2008). In this approach, there is a risk that drawings are analyzed from an adult perspective, potentially leading to incorrect inferences. Difculty in linking visual and written data may cause contributions to become fractured during analysis, with the result that one stream of data becomes separated from another. Eventually, the data can cease to complement or bring mean ing to the ndings. This may explain why researchers applying Draw and Write have frequently used the data inconsistently. For example, some have used both drawings and text as data (Horstman et al. 2008), while others have used only the text element (Franck, Sheikh, and Oulton, 2008). In other studies, the exercise has been applied as preparation for other research (Mulvihill, Rivers, and Aggleton, 2000), a warm-up exercise (Backett and Alexander, 1991) or as a reward (Hill, Laybourn, and Borland, 1996). In DWT, this issue is further height ened because it produces three concurrent streams of dataart, text, and verbal contributions. To hold the data together (and maintain its integrity), these are combined into a detailed description of the data based around the childrens own interpretation of their work. This is referred to as a written commentary, from which codes and categories then emerge. This approach represents a signicant advantage as the data are intrinsically triangulated (owing to the multi-method approach), resulting in a more natural and holistic extraction of the observed phenomena (Angell et al., 2011). A conceptual framework for DWT forms the basis of the authors case study (See Figure 1). It presents an opportunity for other researchers to replicate and/ or adapt the method in future work. The stages present a checklist of the most salient considerations when implementing this technique. CASE STUDY Background A case study serves as a generic example of how the method should be implemented in practice and, consequently, how advertising practitioners can utilize its ndings for the design and evaluation of communication strategies. The context of the application explores brand associations among a small group of children. 1 fect them 2 eement 3 4 Cr r r 5 T etur d 6 Figure 1
382 December 2013 A well-known breakfast cereal, Kelloggs Rice Krispies, provided the focus for the study (See Appendix A). Using an existing television advertisement, two research questions were chosen to illustrate the method: RQ1: Does the advertisement inuence the associations held by children toward the brand? RQ2: What specific aspects of the advertisement, if any, do children use as the base for their associations? A principal goal of the current study was to identify whether children were able to decode an advertisements message. In other words, was the advertisement appropriate for the purpose? The second research question served to identify whether chil dren focused on the important messages contained within the advertisement and, if not, what stood out as being memorable. As DWT is an open and exible method, it was conceivable that other memories would form the basis of childrens associations, particularly if they were stronger than those conveyed within the adver tisement itself. The case study empirically demonstrates the potential benets offered to both academic and practitioner researchers of marketing and advertising (See Figure 1). This point is extended in the discussion section. Stage 1: Research Philosophy In line with past research, the current study embraced child-centric foundations (Greene and Hill, 2005). Children were treated as a distinct social groupindeed, a minority groupwith a unique culture (Hill, 1997). Most important, they were acknowledged as having particular and specic ways of interpreting the world around them (Hood, 1996). DWT embraces childrens need for more time to reect on responses to questions. Without this basic philosophy, DWT cannot work in the intended and prescribed manner. Stage 2: Consent In everyday life, there exists an imbalance of power between adults and children (Greene and Hill, 2005). This also is present (and possibly magnied) by the formalities of the research process. In some cases, the balance of power is skewed not only by researchers but by others close to the research subjects who may restrict their participation through gatekeeping. As such, being granted access to children in the rst instance is often a formidable obstacle. For the purpose of the case study, local primary schools (51 years) in Devon, located in the southwestern region of England, United Kingdom, were contacted and invited to cooperate with the research. The choice of a school presented a ready-made sampling frame (Banister and Booth, 2005). Other organizations such as sports, play, or activity groups might provide an equally valid opportunity to recruit respondents. In the current study, the principal (head teacher) at one of the schools agreed to take part in the research. A class of 6and 7-year-old students was selected. Letters written by the research team were sent to the parents of the 16 children in the class. The letter outlined the purpose of the research and requested consent of parent and child to contribute to the study. Consent is a fundamental aspect of DWT. In the past, parental permission was considered as consent or proxy consent. It is now recognized, however, that an individual can give this only on behalf of himor herself and not for others (Koocher and Keith-Spiegel, 1990). That parents should always be approached in advance of children is a consideration that has been upheld by British courts (Wiles, Charles, Crow, and Heath, 2006). It also is necessary to gain approval from the child rather than assuming participation (Bray, 2007). The principle of Gillick competence suggests that a child has the right to decline research with or without parental permission if they are deemed capable of making decisions (Wiles, Charles, Crow, and Heath, 2006). Providing information to children and parents introduces a unique set of issues (Wiles et al., 2006). This needs to be appropriate for a wide range of ages, abilities, and cultures. The authors of the current study believe it is vital to give sufcient information to enable an informed choice (Alderson and Morrow, 2004). For researchers to gain the consent of both children and parents, information should be honest, clearly stated, and carried out in the prescribed manner. Meticulous detail of the exact process that would be followed was supplied by the research team with the opportunity for further information to be provided if sought by parents or the children themselves. Of the 16 parents contacted, 12 returned informed consent forms (seven girls and ve boys) to the principal. Stage 3: Context Selecting an appropriate research setting is necessary. Identifying locations that coincide with childrens everyday routine A principal goal of the current study was to identify whether children were able to decode an advertisements message.
December 2013 383 (or that are not far removed from what is familiar) is advisable. Acceptable venues include school classrooms, playgroups, or even a more homely atmospheresimilar to the type of setting that medical surgeries attempt to create in pediatric departments. Researchers have experimented with methods for building relationships with children. The researcher/subject rapport is distinct from the child/parent or child/teacher relationship most children are used to. It is important that the child does not feel as if some premeditated outcome is expected. Often this requires the researcher to be exible by taking direction from the children about how to interact (Punch, 2002). Each of the 12 children in the current study was asked to join a researcher in a room organized to mimic a traditional school classroom. It was explained to the children that they were there to help in an important research project and that their participation was appreciated. A central tenet in this type of study is that all participants must have the right to anonymity and condentiality (Corti, Day, and Backhouse, 2000; Flewitt, 2005). Some methods make anonymity and condentiality complex, especially in qualitative research with small groups of children who may be identiable (Kitzinger, 2005). Ironically, the most signicant risk to condentiality is perhaps the issue of child pro tection, which inhibits condentiality and can create a moral and professional conundrum for researchers (Cree et al., 2002; Williamson, Goodenough, Kent, and Ashcroft, 2005). Consequently, the 12 children in the current study were reminded that they did not have to take part in the research activity if they chose not to or if at any point they began to feel uncomfortable. An additional room was organized with books and games if they chose not to participate. To operationalize the activity, the Rice Krispies television advertisement was shown to the 12 children. The authors believe that using verbal and/or visual stimuli to help provide a context is use ful in DWT and makes the method par ticularly appropriate for advertising. By framing the research in this manner, children are enabled to process complex infor mation in a more grounded way through visualization (Horstman et al., 2008). One reason for this is that they often nd it difcult to deal with abstract ideas or concepts and, therefore, need prompting for accessing memories or developing thoughts (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999). In the case-study program, the Rice Krispies spot was shown twice to ensure all children had seen the lm in its entirety. Stage 4: The Creative Process Having watched the lm, the children were gathered into small groups. Although the authors believe there is no formal restriction on the number of children who can take part in a research effort, smaller groups provide an opportunity to interact within the boundaries of what is normal behavior. Materials for the activitypens, pencils, crayons, and paperwere provided. (Paint rarely is appropriate since the work often needs to be computer-scanned.) Although not being necessary in every application, areas of the page were designated for drawing and writing (Macgregor, Cur rie, and Wetton, 1998). In some applications, researchers may benet from using a thought bubble or similar (Horstman et al. 2008). This approach embraces the childrens potential to be creative but also guides them in an otherwise unknown process (Pridmore and Bendelow, 1995). It then becomes the childrens decision whether to use the border. The children were shown a copy of the Rice Krispies brand logo and asked to draw whatever it made them think of. The request was deliberately vague since it was thought to be important that the children should not feel pressured to draw aspects of the advertisement if other associations were stronger. Although researchers would be advised to adapt this part of the process to their unique setting, the approach was particularly relevant in this context as it allowed the opportunity to gauge how salient the advertisement was in the associations of children with previous exposure to the brand. Should they wish to do so, the children were told that they could add writing to their drawings. This afforded them exibility to annotate their work but did not pressure those less comfortable with writing. The only specic control exhibited was that the work remained nameless to preserve anonymity (Pridmore and Bendelow, 1995). The researchers put no arbitrary time limit on the activity. As such, the drawing and writing component lasted in excess of 45 minutes. Children were encouraged to take their time and think about what they were doing. Though this was implemented, in part, to discourage them from rushing and not properly formulating their ideas, it also served the purpose of differ entiating the activity from the more formal and (potentially) less enjoyable, schooltype environment in which students are expected to nish work in a set time. Several children asked the researcher, How long do we have?. They were told, That is up to you. Please take your time. The authors believe that strategy worked well in that many of the children clearly enjoyed the aspect of empowerment. It is worth noting that, even when time is an important constraint to the researcher, this should not be translated to the children as it has the potential to compromise the quality of data collected (Gauntlett, 2006). Stage 5: Interpretation After the draw and write elements of the activity, the children were given an
384 December 2013 alternative but unrelated task to complete. This allowed the researcher to speak to each of the children independently. As previously mentioned, one of the inherent risks involved with creative methods when segregated from discourse is misinterpretation or literal acceptance of drawings without deeper exploration of meanings (Backett-Milburn and Mckie, 1999). Childrens Draw and Write efforts may be ambiguous as a result of their artistic skills or handwriting ability (Pridmore and Lansdown, 1997). In some cases, this issue may be resolved by enabling the draw and write aspects to corroborate (Caraher, Baker, and Burns, 2004; Porcellato, Dugdill, Springett, and Sanderson, 1999). This strategy, however, retains the possibility of error-laden inferences. At the same time, speaking to children provides information about their social world and context (Backett-Milburn and McKie, 1999) and treats them as experts of interpreting their worksomething that is key to respecting their contribution (Horstman et al., 2008). As such, all 12 children were asked to describe their drawings. Deliberately openend questions angled to elicit underlying meanings without patronizing the quality of the work were used; for example: Why is he holding a spoon? Why is she smiling so much? Each child spoke to a researcher for between 10 and 15 minutes. Where there was ambiguity, the researcher sought clarication. The nal component of the data collection effort was to ask the childrens per mission to scan their artwork. Though it is not necessary to have electronic copies of the data, the authors believe that it also is good practice to return the pictures to the children to give them a memento for showing to referent others (parents, teachers, etc.). This increases the transpar ency of the process to other stakeholders. It is particularly advisable in commercial research, as such practices demonstrate the activity as a process in which children are simultaneously completing educational and experiential tasks (drawing, writing, interpreting). Stage 6: Analysis The authors believe that the DWT method is unique because it links all three components into a synergized commentary before analysis. The researcher is able to develop broad codes from the childrens artwork using the written aspects and verbal inter pretations as a guide. Triangulation of the data is provided, in many cases, through the activity encouraging member validation (Richie and Lewis, 2003). The commentaries provide a form of thick description, which enables validity and transferability to other settings (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). The data consequently were reviewed holistically and analyzed sequentially. As an assessment of reliability, or what Lincoln and Guba refer to as dependability, a second analyst assessed whether both researchers had triangulated on their interpretation of the data (Golafshani, 2003). In total, 12 sets of data were collected (See Appendix B). No children declined to participate, and all appeared engaged throughout the process. From the data that emerged, a number of benets were identied, providing an illustration for the contribution that DWT can make. These are now explored in ner detail. DISCUSSION This current paper presents DWT as a creative method for application in mar keting and advertising. Previous studies have illustrated the need to depart from traditional methods and engage with more creative alternatives (Davis, 2010). The authors have identied ve motiva tions for using DWT: buy-in, visualization, multi-method design, evaluation, and modication. Each draws upon the Rice Krispies case study. Ostensibly, they represent either data quality (buy-in, visualization, and multi-method design) or decision-making benets (evaluation and modication). Motivations: Data Quality Buy-in. Gaining access to children is a substantive initial obstacle for researchers. This relationship is mediated, to a certain extent, by parents and schools and other associations (e.g., playgroups, sports clubs). Because DWT is organized as a quasi-educational activity with drawing, writing, and talking, the authors have found that parents and other stakeholders noticeably have been more inclined to see value in the proposition. It has long been thought that marketing research should embrace the principles of co-operation theory (Cavusgil and ElveyKirk, 1998), where the benets of engagement are clearly stated and obvious to both parties. With the child-centric nature of the DWT research design, children are respected as individuals and empowered within the process. One teacher at the host school of the case study commented on the ability of the method to make [the] children feel like their opinion is special. Crucially, DWT offers an enjoyable activity for children. This was evidenced by the fact that each child was able to describe, in great detail, his or her artwork and annotations. Many demonstrated a clear pride in what they had constructeda further benet of using creative methods over more traditional alternatives. This corresponds with the nding that respondents who engaged in and enjoyed the seriousplay research design stimulated a bet ter quality of data (see Roos, Victor, and Statier, 2004).
December 2013 385 Visualization. Studies have shown that chil dren benet from the opportunity to use pictures when developing their thoughts and feelings (Gauntlett, 2004). Traditional methods may rush them into unrepresentative responses or prevent them from forming any type of answer. This is especially true when children lack sufcient vocabulary to convey their thoughts (Gauntlett, 2004). Many researchers in the business literature have encouraged the application of more visual and tactile approaches (Roos et al. 2004). These provide a medium in which both conscious and unconscious dimensions can be mediated and brought to the sur face of a conversation (Roos et al., 2004). For example, in the current study, Children 1, 5, and 9 all drew happy characters and annotated them with statements such as they are goowiy and stickiy so ther yumiy and funny silly (See Appendix B). The children needed time to reect on what they had seen and describe the associations between advertisement and more complex concepts. Whether they would have been able to demonstrate these ideas instantly using more traditional methodswith limited thinking time and vocabularyis obviously unknown but relatively unlikely. Multi-method design. Multi-method approaches have the most potential for research with children (Davis, 2010). Although validity and reliability in qualitative research can be checked using a range of different approaches (Lincoln and Guba, 1985), triangulation of data sources is a popular strategy. The use of three streams of data in the current study makes it particularly apt. The value of DWT against uni-method designs was clearly evident in some of the results from the case study. Child 2 had drawn a picture seeming to depict one of the three trademark Rice Krispies characters, Snap, Crackle, and Pop. When questioned about the drawing, the child stated that it was a self-portrait in which the emphasis was, in fact, chocolate Rice Krispies. In further conversation, it became clear that the child saw the cereal more as a cooking ingredient that had been used in an activity he had shared with his mother. This had no relation to the content of the advertisementa nding that suggested that the internalized memory was stronger than the communicated message contained within the advertisement. Without the childs interpretation of the artwork, this outcome would have led to an invalid conclusion. It also demonstrated the enhanced power of abstraction when the three sources are used concur rently. For instance, these associations went beyond simplistic structures to those which were more complex and based on memories. Some have considered this transience as the future of advertising research; Important stories are latent or hidden and surfacing them is a special challenge for researchadditionally all consumers have relevant hidden thoughts: ideas they are not aware of possessing (Zaltman and Coulter, 1995). Motivations: Decision-Making Benets Evaluation. The authors believe that DWT offers marketers and advertisers distinctive benets that partly can be derived from the higher quality of data in terms of validity and reliability. How DWT can be used in practice also is relevant. It has been posited that research should identify disparities in perceptions of consumer and advertiser for the brand, product, and/or service (Wu and Fu, 2010). As DWT represents an integrated process, it captures childrens trains of thought and their overall evaluations. At the rst level, researchers are able to glean the extent to which the adver tisement was influential in childrens associations. In the case study, Children 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8 focused on functional aspects of the product, drawing pictures of the cereal alongside milk jugs, bowls, and spoons (See Appendix B). Several were later found to eat Rice Krispies at home as a breakfast cereal. When asked what their drawing represented, Child 3 stated, Mine is my box of Rice Krispies, milk jug and two toy elves I got in the packet at homea response that clearly demonstrated the held associations with feelings of home life for the child. The associations held by other children more obviously were extracted from the advertisement. Some drew small gures with annotations such as they go poop (Child 4) and Crackle, Bang, Pop (Child 7). These characters are a strong component of the brands identity and were prominent in the advertisement. These reactions suggest that, at the most basic level, the advertisement was inuential when forming brand associations for some of the children but not othersparticularly where other associations overrode the relatively less developed exposure of experi ence provided by the advert. At the second level, researchers can use DWT to elicit the nature of childrens association, predominantly to establish whether they are related to the intended messages. This also can highlight where non-advertising-related associations align with those desired by the organization although here the authors focus mainly on the former. This is possible, again, because DWT provides transparency in childrens cognitions. In the majority of cases, the key messages contained within the case-study advertisement revolved around aspects of health and tness and were conrmed by the data collected. Several children annotated their artwork with messages directly from the advertisement itself, even after a period of time had elapsed from watching it.
386 December 2013 For example, Child 2 labeled (his or hers) with ninte-nin psente, clearly refer ring to the percent fat-free promoted on screen. It previously has been found that children recalland enjoyjingles and catchphrases used to communicate with the target market (Barthlolomew and ODonohue, 2003). During the Rice Krispies television advertisement, one of the characters is seen running on a treadmill, and others are weightlifting. For several children, this generated associations of dumbbells, muscle men, and treadmillsespecially among the boys in the group (e.g., Children 1, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12). Annotations complementing the work included: mussel man, strong guy, and weight. When describing his artwork, Child 11 stated that he had drawn a treadmill and 30 kg weights because it made me think of lots of busy gym workers, indicating that the child connected the cereal to people working in a real gymnasiuma real-life association regarding tness and healthand not necessarily a direct extraction or interpretation of the cartoon advert. Following the same line of inquiry, advertisers also may be able to establish whether aspects of the communication have been misinterpreted, whether children have focused on the wrong part of the message or, equally important, whether they have not enjoyed the advertising. The link between misinterpretation and poor market performance is well established (Collins, 2006). In the current study, this was evident on several occasions. For instance, when describing his or her artwork, Child 6 stated, I drew the man who was lifting a weight and I drew the thing that had just been run over, the man with his eyes popping out and the man on the machine. When asked how they felt about the cereal, the same child answered, I think it is very painful for Pop [one of the characters who had been run over]. This is not necessarily an association that the brand would want the child to holdparticularly as it seemed to cause the child some confusion. Similarly, Child 11 annotated artwork with the comment: definitely weird, indicating that the child also did not fully understand or enjoy what they had seen. This can have implications for the way in which advertisers respond, potentially through re-design and modication. Modification. Being able to evaluate whether an advertisement is suitable for the purpose offers a distinct benet to advertisers. In some cases, DWT may be leveraged to assist in modication of communications to better represent salient aspects of the advert or reect other prominent associations illustrated in the data. This benet is afforded to researchers because DWT is exible and encourages children to be imaginative and creative. In an evaluation of Lego serious play, the handmind relationship is not simply an evolutionary curiosity, but a vital part of the modern human mind (whereby) physical representations of ideas, concepts and models of strategy might help strategy-makers to generate new content (Roos et al., 2004). A prominent theme that emerged from the current study was that several of the children identied the product with memories originating from the use of Rice Krispies for cooking material rather than as a breakfast cereal. When probed, Child 2 linked the cereal with cooking at home. Additionally, Child 8 claimed that his or her artwork represented hair in the bath that can be turned into something chocolaty. It was later found that this child once helped make a large batch of chocolate cakes using the cereal in the kitchen sink, representing what they now associated with the brand. The current study shows how memory and experience are important for children because they attach new facts to understand a situation (Smith, Cowie, and Blades, 2003). It also demonstrates to advertisers how they may be able to utilize these perspectives to create congruence between children and advertisers inter pretations of adverts. Depending on the data emerging from the research, these new perspectives also may prove to be the impetus for slight or radical modication of advertising contentparticularly when there is evidence in the data collected from other children to support such redesign. CONCLUSION Children are an important segment of the population. They have a wealth of information that could be used to better understand their spending choices and, more important, those of their families. Researchers have called for greater use of creative methods, particularly those with multi-method designs (Davis, 2010). DWT, which is highly child-centric, provides an additional means by which marketing researchers can explore childrens thoughts and opinions. The authors believe that the technique is both theoretically and practically aligned as it employs collection methods giving children a voice. It also yields data that provide the researcher with a broader picture of phenomena. In the future, more research applying DWT is needed within marketing and advertising contexts. This is particularly important because its predecessor, Draw and Write, originated from the health sciences with only limited application in commercial contexts. Though its suitability has been shown in this article, further research will validate its appropriateness and assist in its evolution as a method. Limitations and Future Directions DWT is suitable for use with relatively small groups of children, in circumstances where they can be supported to participate
December 2013 387 and receive the attention of the researcher. This may initially appear to be an extravagant use of time and resources but, as demonstrated, the data yielded can be extremely rich and varied. In addition, it is clear that, rather than children simply responding to adult questions, DWT provides child-led data. From this process, it is possible to gain an impression of the much wider issues, inter ests, and concerns of the children, offering not only an evaluation of the advertisement but clues about potential marketing direction and development. For this to work effectively DWT requires researchers and/or advertisers to buy in to the child-centered concept. In other research areas (i.e., health and social care), this transition has been gradual and it may require considerable changes in outlook for commercial acceptance. It is worth noting that, to date, the authors have found no research directly comparing creative with more traditional research methods. Though the limitations of these methods are established in the literature, this article clearly demonstrates that inferences are more difcult and susceptible to error when methods are used in isolation. Further exploration and direct com parison via quasi-experimental conditions would represent a valuable area for further investigation. ROBERT J. ANGELL European Journal of Marketing Journal of Business Research,Journal of Marketing Management. CATHERINE ANGELL Public HealthBritish Journal of Midwifery,Birth. AL D ER S ON, P., and V MORROW. Ethics, Social Research and Consulting with Children and Young People. Shropshire, UK: Cafcass, 2004. ANGELL, C., J. ALEXAN D ER, and J. A HUNT. How Are Babies Fed? A Pilot Study Exploring Primary School Childrens Perceptions of Infant Feeding. Birth 38, 4 (2011): 346. ANNING, A Drawing out Ideas: Graphicacy and Young Children. International Journal of Technology and Design Education 7 (1997): 219. ANNING, A ., and K RING. Making Sense of Childrens Drawings. London: McGraw Hill, 2004. BA C KETT, K ., and H ALEXAN D ER. Talking to Young Children about Health: Methods and Findings. Health Education Journal 50 (1991): 34. BA C KETTMIL B URN, K ., and L MCKIE. A Critical Appraisal of the Draw and Write Technique. Health Education Research 14, 3 (1999): 387. BANI S TER, E ., and G BOOTH. Exploring Inno vative Methodologies for Child-Centric Con sumer Research. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal 8, 2 (2005): 157. BARKER, J., and S. WELLER. Is It Fun? Developing Children Centered Methods. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 23 (2003): 33. BARTHLOLOMEW, A ., and S. DONOHUE. Everything under Control: A Childs Eye View of Advertising. Journal of Marketing Management 19 (2003): 433. BOX, V ., and J. LAN D MAN. Children Who Have No Breakfast. Health Education 4 (1994): 10. BRAY, L Developing an Activity to Aid Informed Assent when Interviewing Children and Young People. Journal of Research in Nursing 12, 5 (2007): 447. BRO D Y, G ., Z. STONEMAN, T SC OTT LANE, and A SAN D ER S. Television Food Commercials Aimed at Children, Family Grocery Shopping and MotherChild Interactions. Family Relations 30, 3 (1981): 435. CARAHER, M ., H BAKER, and M BURN S. Childrens Views of Cooking and Food Preparation. British Food Journal 106, 4 (2004): 255. CAVU S GIL, S., and L ELVEYKIRK. Mail Sur vey Response Behavior: A Conceptualization of Motivating Factors and an Empirical Study. European Journal of Marketing 32, 11/12 (1998): 939192. CHRI S TEN S EN, P., and A JAME S. Research with Children: Perspectives and Practices. London: Routledge, 2000. COA D, J. Using Art-Based Techniques in Engaging Children and Young People in Health Care Consultations and/or Research. Journal of Research in Nursing 12, 5 (2007): 487. COLLIN S, T Anderson Ad Wooden Win Any Response Awards. Direct June 15 (2006): 62. CORTI, L ., A DAY, and G BA C KHOU S E. Condentiality and Informed Consent: Issues for Consideration in the Preservation of and Provision of Access to Qualitative Data Archives. Forum of Qualitative Social Research 1, 3 (2000). URL: http://www.qualitative-research.net/ index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/1024 Retrieved February 2012
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