Facilitation of risk communication during the anthrax attacks of 2001: The organizational backstory

  • Chess C
  • Clarke L
  • 34


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 10


    Citations of this article.


The anthrax attacks of 2001 created risk communication problems that cannot be fully understood without appreciating the dynamics among organizations. Case studies of communication in New Jersey, consisting of interviews with a range of participants, found that existing organizational and professional networks facilitated trust among decisionmakers. This interpersonal trust improved communication among agencies and thereby risk communication with the public. For example, "white powder scares" were a problem even in places without contamination. Professionals' trust in each other was vital for responding productively. Conversely, organizational challenges, including conflict among agencies, hindered communication with key audiences. Although centralization and increased control are often seen as the remedy for communicative confusion, they also can quash the improvisational responses needed during crises.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Caron Chess

  • Lee Clarke

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free