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'I'd like to report a suspicious looking tree': Public concern, public attention and the nature of reporting about ash dieback in the United Kingdom

Title: 'I'd like to report a suspicious looking tree': Public concern, public attention and the nature of reporting about ash dieback in the United Kingdom
Authors: Fellenor, J
Barnett, J
Potter, C
Urquhart, J
Mumford, JD
Quine, CP
Raum, S
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: 'Public concern', a ubiquitous notion used in descriptive and explanatory modes by policy makers, academics and the media, is often presented as axiomatic. However, the variability with which it is deployed in different contexts, for example, as justification for policy attention or having equivalence with what is considered 'newsworthy', belies this status. This article presents an empirical analysis of emails and phone calls from the UK public to UK government agencies, reporting suspected cases of ash dieback disease - a tree health issue which attracted intense media and policy attention in the United Kingdom in 2012. We challenge the view that public attentiveness is necessarily indicative of public concern, or that media attention can be taken as its proxy. Examination of concern at macro and micro levels reveals heterogeneous processes with multiple dimensions. Understanding the nature of public concern is crucial in enabling more effective policy development and operational responses to risk-related issues.
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2019
Date of Acceptance: 1-Dec-2018
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/65619
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662518814369
ISSN: 0963-6625
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Start Page: 339
End Page: 356
Journal / Book Title: Public Understanding of Science
Volume: 28
Issue: 3
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Public Understanding of Science by Sage Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. It is available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662518814369
Sponsor/Funder: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: BB/L012308/1
Keywords: Social Sciences
Arts & Humanities
Communication
History & Philosophy Of Science
History & Philosophy of Science
helplines
public concern
publics
risk
tree health
RENEWABLE ENERGY
RISK
ENGAGEMENT
CRISIS
WORRY
UK
helplines
public concern
publics
risk
tree health
helplines
public concern
publics
risk
tree health
Science Studies
1903 Journalism and Professional Writing
2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Publication Status: Published
Conference Place: England
Online Publication Date: 2018-12-14
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences