Themed Journal Issue on Crisis Communication

Media International Australia (No. 137, November 2010) is titled The Victorian Bushfires and Other Extreme Weather Events: Case Studies in Crisis, Culture and Communications. Edited by Louise North and Jason Bainbridge, its focus is on media coverage of the 2009 Australian bushfires (Black Saturday) that killed 173 people and displace some 7,500 others. In addition to articles on the bushfires the issue includes a content analysis of local news representations of women in Hurricane Katrina and a piece on the role of social media and public information management during the 2009 tsunami threat to New Zealand. The issue takes on a rather prescient tinge in light of the recent Biblical-proportion-flooding in Queensland. Hopefully the scholarship in this area, as the editors hope, has some influence on practice though it’s hard to imagine on the local front with Mother Nature delivering her latest blow just a month after the issue’s publication.

Media International Australia is available in the ASC Library.

Special 100th Issue of Health Communication

A special double issue of Health Communication celebrates its 100th issue (Volume 25, Issue 6-7, September 2010). It’s chock full of reflective articles on the state of the health communication field, looking back and into the future. The issue is available online from the ASC homepage. Articles include:

  • Accomplishing the Goals of Health Communication Research: Predictions, Accomplishments, and Continued Efforts
  • Commentary on “Mapping Health Communication Scholarship: Breadth, Depth, and Agenda of Published Research in Health Communication”: Implications for Reaching Practitioners With Communication Research
  • What Is Normative in Health Communication Research on Norms? A Review and Recommendations for Future Scholarship
  • The Emerging Landscape of Health Communication in Asia: Theoretical Contributions, Methodological Questions, and Applied Collaborations
  • On the Need for a Life-Span Approach to Health Campaign Evaluation
  • Media Research Contributes to the Battle Against Childhood Obesity

Other highlights in the issue include a tribute piece to our own Martin Fishbein, who passed away almost a year ago, by Marco Yzer:

  • The Impact of the Work of Martin Fishbein on Health Issues in the World


A Journal-Level Analysis of Health Communication

Authors: Thomas Hugh Feeley; Rachel A. Smith; Shin-Il Moon; Ashley E. Anker


Citation data from 2006 through 2008 were used to examine the journal citation network of Health Communication in comparison to 26 related journals indexed by Journal Citation Reports, a database published by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge. A recently advanced journal relatedness factor based on out-degree (i.e., cited journals) and in-degree (i.e., citing journals) citations was used to determine the network of peer journals. Results indicate Health Communication serves to link communication and health-related journals. Data were also reported on journal impact and 5-year journal impact factors. When compared to ISI-indexed communication journals, Health Communication is consistently ranked in the top 25% across impact factors and citations to the journal are consistent over the 7 years of analysis from 2002 through 2008. Methods of increasing the impact of Health Communication among journals in social sciences are discussed.

Media/Materials Clearinghouse (M/MC)

The Media/Materials Clearinghouse (M/MC) is a repository for health communication materials from around the world–pamphlets, posters, audiotapes, videos, training materials, job aids, electronic media and other media/materials designed to promote public health. One can search its HEALTH COMMUNICATION MATERIALS DATABASE by country (128 I counted), subjects (such as AIDS, bed nets, blood pressure, chlamydia, dental heath, infant mortality, malaria, traffic safety–too many to count), and medium (from comic books to radio spots to wallet cards). There are over 150 languages to choose from as well.

Besides the database, the site also hosts a Health Communications Materials Network where communication specialists share ideas and information on public health communication.

An “In the Spotlight” features a new health campaign every month. This month’s feature is a radio soap opera on body love:

Body Love actorsBodyLove is the soap opera that is good for you. Developed by faculty and students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, BodyLove is a radio drama that reaches African American listeners with messages to promote healthy lifestyles. The program uses the technique of modeling healthy and unhealthy behaviors and their consequences. To date, 83 episodeshave been produced and broadcast on radio stations in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. They can also be streamed on-demand from three stations in Birmingham, Alabama. Please visit for more information.


Medical Blogosphere Article in Searcher

The May 2009 issue of Searcher contains a useful article on medical blogging, The Medical Blogosphere: How Social Networking Platforms Are Changing Medical Searching. The author, Stephanie Ardito, examines how social networking is impacting the way the media monitors medical news and evaluates how this change is affecting searching methods and search results. The article is not freely available online, but is available in the ASC Library. What is available without a subscription is the bibliography and useful list of links mentioned in the article, including several top medical blog ranking lists.

These URLs appear in the article:
by Stephanie C. Ardito
Ardito Information & Research, Inc.
Searcher, the Magazine for Database Professionals
Vol. 17, No. 5 • May 2009

Further Reading

Blog Rankings,28757,1725323,00.html

Blog Search Engines

Journal of Communication in Healthcare

The Journal of Communication in Healthcare has just been added to Penn Library e-resources. In it’s second year of publication, the quarterly publishes practice-oriented articles written by medical practitioners and related professionals, case studies by medical practitioners and communications managers, and research from medical research centres and universities showing how to improve communication management in healthcare, measure its effectiveness, and communicate its value in supporting medical and organizational goals.

In perusing a few issues to sample the range of topics covered and, more specifically, their bibliographies it quickly becomes obvious that the journal extends from the medical rather than the communications or social science literature. Take an article in the fourth issues of 2008, their first year, “The Development of a Local Cancer Awareness Communication Campaign.” The article does not reference any communications or social science journals. Citations come from British Journal of Cancer, Thorax, and The British Journal of General Practice.” This is true for most of the articles. “How to Develop a Cancer Information Internet Strategy” (Volume I, Number 3) cites Journal of Clinical Nursing, British Medical Journal, Oncology Times, New England Journal of Medicine, and European Journal of Cancer. I was able to find a reference to Health Education and Research in a piece called “Case Study: Consumer and Provider Perceptions of Offered Anticipatory Guidance During Prenatal Care” (Volume I, Number 3). Other social science titles I was able to spy include Health Information and Libraries Journal, International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Science Technology and Human Values, and Social Science and Medicine. But I had to look very thoroughly to come up with this small incursion from the social sciences. It certainly seems like the field of Health Communication as defined by doctors, practitioners and public health administrators and the one defined by communications researchers have a lot to share in just these kinds of journals. I’ll keep looking for more signs of cross-pollination.

Journal article feature on disaster communication

The lead article in the latest issue of International Journal of Strategic Communication (Volume 2, Issue 2 2008) is a timely one, though not timely enough given recent disaster in Myanmar. The article, Disaster Communication: Lessons from Indonesia, authored by Elizabeth K. Dougall, J. Suzanne Horsley, and Chadd McLisky, is available online from the homepage.

This article explores public disaster communication in the context of five separate disasters in Indonesia, including acts of terrorism in Bali and Jakarta and the 2004 tsunami. The concept of high reliability organizations (HRO), which explains how highly complex organizations function in unpredictable and dangerous circumstances, is applied here to explore how one public relations firm under contract to several Indonesian government departments handled these complex disaster communication challenges in partnership with its clients. Propositions about the role of HRO characteristics in permitting or preventing effective disaster communication are advanced.

Communicating Health issue of CJC

A special double issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication (Volume 32, Numbers 3 & 4, 2007) is titled: Communicating Health. Articles titles:
Mobile Knowledge: HIV Patients’ Encounter with Endocrinology
HIV and STD Prevention Needs of Bisexual Women: Results from Projet Polyvalence
Respite: Cultural Values in North American and Caribbean Caregiving

Asymmetrical Talk between Physicians and Patients: A Quantitative Discourse Analysis
Les défis que soulève l’informatisation de la pratique médicale sur le plan de l’innovation
Communication as Argumentation: The Use of Scaffolding Tools by a Networked Nursing Community
Rose-Coloured Glasses: The Discourse on Information Technology in the Romanow Report
Communicating the Modern Body: Fritz Kahn’s Popular Images of Human Physiology as an Industrialized World
Pink!: Community, Contestation, and the Colour of Breast Cancer
Re-Gendering Depression: Risk, Web Health Campaigns, and the Feminized Pharmaco-Subject
Spreading the News: Social Determinants of Health Reportage in Canadian Daily Newspapers
Fit to Print: A Natural History of Obesity Research in the Canadian News Media
Doing Medical Journals Differently: Open Medicine, Open Access, and Academic Freedom
Designer Babies, Stem Cells, and the Market for Genetics: The Limits of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act

The journal is available online from the Penn Libraries

William Evans Bibliographies

For leads on current health communication research, check out the current issue of Health Communication which alwaays features a substantial bibliography of new research articles compiled by William Evans (Institute for Communication and Information Research, University of Alabama). Since the journal is bimonthly you can count on six such bibliographies a year organized around health campaigns and promotion, health communication theory and research, health information and informatics, health risk communication, mediated health communication, patient-physician/interpersonal health communication and communication in medical contexts. Bibliographies usually list from 75 to 100 items. Dr. Evans welcomes suggestions regarding his compilations, especially difficult-to-find/fugitive publications. The journal is available online from the main library webpage. To make checking this a habit you might want to add Health Communication to your Pennalerts account to be receive a table of contents email alert with each issue.

New NCI Report on How Americans Obtain Information About Cancer

Cancer Communication: Health Information National Trends Survey 2003 and 2005, an 85 page report based on data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) conducted every other year and sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is available at the NIH website. The NCI first conducted the study in 2003, surveying the U.S. civilian adult population to assess trends in the usage of health information over time and to study the links among cancer-related communication, knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. From the press release: “The newly issued report provides a snapshot of how Americans are responding to changes in access to information and the abundance of health information. The data show a growing preference toward receiving health information — whether cancer-related or other health information — from a health care provider than from other sources, such as printed materials, friends and family, information specialists, and the Internet.” About 12,000 responses (by random telephone calls) were recorded in both years combined.