Academic Research


My research examines the role of local journalism and strategic communicators in crisis and disaster communication.

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Here is a link to my dissertation:

Local Journalism Beyond the Command Post: Journalists as Strategic Communicators and Citizen Stakeholders in Natural Disaster Recovery

Perreault, M., Houston, B. & Wilkins, L. (2014). Does Scary Matter? Testing the Effectiveness of the New National Weather Service Tornado Warnings. Communication Studies Journal.


Spring 2011 set severe weather records with tornadoes in the South and Midwest U.S. In response, the National Weather Service launched new warning messages for the 2012 storm season. This study examined whether gender and storm experience influenced severe weather media use and also tested the new “scarier” tornado warning messages and the more traditional (non-scary) warnings to see if warning type and broadcast medium were related to participant response. Four different experimental stimuli were created to resemble actual warning messages: scary and non-scary television messages, and scary and non-scary radio messages. University students ages 18-25 (N = 168) were exposed to all four stimuli and asked questions about their perceptions of credibility and behavioral intentions following the message. Behavioral intentions were not affected by experimental stimuli, but differences did emerge for perceived credibility. Women and those with more storm experience were found to use more sources of severe weather information.


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