When a natural disaster occurs, are there best-practice models of conduct to ensure a rapid social and economic recovery in the afflicted area? What role can be taken by communication in this multidisciplinary process?
The earthquakes in L’Aquila and Emilia-Romagna and the two different approaches to management and communication that characterised their respective recoveries are the basis for a book that offers answers to these questions, with an overview of the new challenges and critical issues, applicable models and potential opportunities that every crisis – of any kind – generates.
“Disastri naturali, una comunicazione responsabile” (Bononia University Press, Bologna, 2016 – 160 pages – euro 15.00) is the work of a mixed group of communicators, including a number of sustainability and CSR specialists, each of whom has written a chapter. The intention is to provide updates and illustrate best practice for management of the increasingly frequent problems caused by environmental disasters.
Among the team of authors coordinated by editors Biagio Oppi – head of communication at a multinational organisation and a FERPI delegate (Italian PR federation) – and Stefano Martello – a member of the FERPI intellectual professions communication group – is Sergio Vazzoler, a partner of Amapola and member of the scientific committee of the Italian federation of environmental media FIMA. His contribution looks at environmental communication: “While complexity and lack of trust are two significant obstacles to greater awareness about environmental issues in public debate, another question to be considered is the ability of institutions and business organisations to govern and communicate environmental issues, beginning with crisis management,” says Vazzoler. “Here, a fundamental role is played by the new forms of digital interaction and the process of disintermediation they trigger, which put complex organisations into direct relationships with citizens: my chapter in the book examines this and highlights the risks to avoid and the opportunities to grasp”.
The project began in the summer of 2012 when FERPI launched a call to action to create a task force for Emilia-Romagna, which would make a specialised professional contribution to the project for the development of responsible communication: from the initial meeting in the temporary offices of the Mirandola Municipality with a number of local partners and communication directors from public authorities, companies and non-profit organisations, over the following four years a number of initiatives have been organised to examine the question of communication and natural disasters, including this recently published book.
The volume suggests approaches to the key points that come into play when a natural disaster occurs: from management of the various publics (with special attention to internal dynamics) to the current environmental communication model; from communication tools and models to the role of communication and the communicator. The book is a useful, up-to-date aid for dealing with the organisational and relational changes that every crisis situation brings, with the appropriate level of awareness and attention.
The royalties will be used to fund theses and research on natural disasters and communication, with the aim of encouraging Italian researchers to present papers, recommendations and studies at the main Public Relations & Communication Management world forums, and provide financial support for the most deserving projects.
On 10 July, the book will be presented at the Festival della Partecipazione organised by ActionAid, Cittadinanzattiva and Slow Food Italia, in cooperation with the Municipality of L’Aquila. The meeting on “The duties of communication, opportunities and post-emergency repercussions” will be held at midday at the Palazzetto dei Nobili, in Piazza Santa Margherita, which was hit by the earthquake in 2009.
For more information about the book: http://disastrinaturalicomunicazione.blogspot.com