What “Emergency Sources” Expect From Journalists
Applying the Hierarchy of Influences Model to Disaster News Coverage
This study analyzes what “emergency sources” (authorities, emergency managers, and
experts) expect from journalists during a disaster, using a mixed-method approach with six
focus groups and a survey of 166 official Chilean sources.
Based on the first three levels of the hierarchy of influences model, we explore how they perceive journalists’ roles and
performance when covering disasters. The results suggest that emergency sources’
evaluations, while affected by a combination of individual, routine, and organizational
variables, are mostly shaped by sources’ direct and mediated experience with journalists.
Thus, a more fluid relationship between journalists and emergency sources, as well as more
communication experience by sources, could lead to a better understanding between both
groups, which, ultimately, may lead to delivering more accurate and timely information.
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
International Journal of Communication 15(2021), 1349–1371