PD6.1 Lessons Learned from Health Communication: Considering the Weather Communication Implications of Conflicting Information and the Future of Message Consistency in the Weather Enterprise

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 8:45 AM
151B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Castle Adam Williams, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and K. E. Klockow-McClain, R. A. Peppler, and G. M. Eosco, Ph.D

With the advent of the Internet, social media platforms, and mobile-based devices, members of the public can find weather forecast and warning information from a variety of public, private, broadcast, and academic weather sources. As a result, meteorologists have concerns that weather messages expressed to members of the public can be inconsistent, and in turn, may have a negative effect on public risk perception. Over the past four years, the Weather Enterprise has organized conference sessions, panels, webinars, and workshops in hopes of overcoming these operational concerns and identifying best practices for communicating a consistent message. However, without an established definition of ‘message consistency,’ panelists and participants found it difficult to discuss operational best practices, ground rules, and recommendations for approaching ‘consistency’ in the Weather Enterprise. During the 2019 AMS Annual Meeting, health communication scholars, who similarly struggle with communicating a consistent message, offered a body of research outlining the negative effects of conflicting or inconsistent information. Drawing on this new-found knowledge, this panel will (1) reflect on the lessons learned from previous efforts over the past four years, (2) respond to the conflicting information research that was presented at AMS in 2019, and (3) consider best practices, recommendations, and the future of ‘message consistency’ in the Weather Enterprise.

This session will begin with invited lightning talks from a diverse group of panelists that include individuals at various career stages and from different sectors in the Weather Enterprise. These panelists will be asked to review the presentations from the AMS 2019 consistency session, and put together a high energy, 5-minute presentation that highlights a theme, thought, or idea that resonated with them in terms of research or practice. It is our hope that these creative presentations will allow the panelists to respond to the research, spark an open dialogue, and ignite a passionate discussion with the audience. Again, the goal is not to present everything on the topic, but rather, 1-2 ideas that help contextualize the findings from the health communication research and consider their implications on the Weather Enterprise. The remaining time will be used to reflect on previous message consistency efforts and explore them through the lens of the health communication research presented at AMS 2019. Therefore, both the panelists and the audience will be asked to consider whether the findings from the health communication literature help address questions and concerns raised by meteorologists in previous organized efforts and/or present new challenges that affect the future of ‘message consistency’ in the Weather Enterprise.

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