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Humanitarianism, Communications and Change


Edited By Simon Cottle and Glenda Cooper

Humanitarianism, Communications and Change is the first book to explore humanitarianism in today’s rapidly changing media and communications environment. Based on the latest academic thinking alongside a range of professional, expert and insider views, the book brings together some of the most authoritative voices in the field today. It examines how the fast-changing nature of communications throws up new challenges but also new possibilities for humanitarian relief and intervention. It includes case studies deployed in recent humanitarian crises, and significant new communication developments including social media, crisis mapping, SMS alerts, big data and new hybrid communications. And against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized and threat-filled world, the book explores how media and communications, both old and new, are challenging traditional relations of communication power.
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Chapter Twelve: Learning from the Public: UK Audiences’ Responses to Humanitarian Communications


← 166 | 167 → CHAPTER TWELVE

Learning from the Public

UK Audiences’ Responses to ­Humanitarian Communications


This chapter reports on a study1 investigating empirically how audiences understand and respond—cognitively, emotionally, and through actions—to communications from humanitarian and international development NGOs2, and how these responses relate to audiences’ everyday morality and biography. The 182 participants taking part in 20 nationwide focus group discussions were asked to comment on a selection of communications from the following NGOs: ActionAid, Amnesty International, Disasters and Emergency Committee (DEC), Medicine Sans Frontier (MSF), Oxfam, PLAN UK, Save the Children, and UNICEF.3

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