Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Journal of Public Relations Research

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2002


The authors undertook a study to define the messages that exist in 2 communities of risk (e.g., high concentration of chemical facilities) using the principles of fantasy theme analysis and symbolic convergence theory. Through several methodological steps including a document review, interviews, focus groups, and a telephone survey (N = 450), the researchers determined the messages that dominate in the community, and were able to segment them into rhetorical visions based on master analogues. Analysis indicated that persons who adhere to different perspectives or opinions (measured as rhetorical visions) experience different amounts of uncertainty, control, and support or opposition for the industries that create the risks. This analysis adds depth to the risk communication literature and suggests that public relations practitioners can and should attempt to understand risk discourse content as well as the communication processes and risk perceptions held by key publics.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."