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Oil Spills and Crisis Communication

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)

Abstract

Such was the intense media attention to the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 that Tony Hayward, British Petroleum’s former harried CEO, famously remarked: ‘No one wants this thing over more than I do … I’d like my life back.’ Dramatic oil spills make for vivid images of oil-drenched wildlife that can often strongly resonate with emotional attachments to the environment. Large oil spills often fulfil a number of news values including conflict, drama, shock and scandal. However, most oil spills go unreported or fail to attract much media attention. Not all major oil spills receive significant publicity and media coverage is often disproportional to the total amount of damage incurred. It is common for large oil spills to attract a relatively short period of intense nationwide (and sometimes international) coverage, following which it rapidly subsides. However, as we will see in this chapter, this was not the case with the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Keywords

  • Network Society
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • News Outlet
  • Crisis Communication
  • News Media Coverage

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Never in the history of Spain has an environmental disaster aroused such public outcry, exerted such a political impact, or elicited such media coverage as the Prestige oil spill.

(WWF, 2002 on the Prestige Oil Disaster)

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9781137314086_5
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Further reading

  • Anderson, A. (2009) ‘Communicating Chemical Risks: Beyond the Risk Society’ In Eriksson, J., Gilek, M. and Ruden, C. (eds.) Regulating Chemical Risks: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives on European and Global Challenges. London: Springer.

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  • Juhasz, A. (2011) Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.

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  • Merry, M. K. (2014) Framing Environmental Disaster: Environmental Advocacy and the Deep Horizon Oil Spill. London: Routledge Chapman Hall.

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  • Wilson, A. (1992) The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

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© 2014 Alison G. Anderson

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Anderson, A.G. (2014). Oil Spills and Crisis Communication. In: Media, Environment and the Network Society. Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137314086_5

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