Crisis preparation, media use, and information seeking: Patterns across Katrina evacuees and lessons learned for crisis communication


  • Patric R. Spence, PhD
  • Kenneth A. Lachlan, PhD
  • Jennifer A. Burke, PhD



Hurricane Katrina, crisis communication, risk, information seeking


This study examined crisis preparation, information seeking patterns, and media use in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Surveys were collected from 964 Katrina evacuees. Results indicated a continued need to create messages encouraging crisis preparation, especially among at-risk subpopulations. Differences in information seeking behavior were detected across age, income, and sex, while new media proved to be a nonfactor. The findings are discussed in terms of pragmatic implications for crisis communication practitioners regarding message design and placement.

Author Biographies

Patric R. Spence, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Kenneth A. Lachlan, PhD

Assistant Professor, Communication Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Jennifer A. Burke, PhD

Prairie View A&M University, Assistant Professor, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas.


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How to Cite

Spence, PhD, P. R., K. A. Lachlan, PhD, and J. A. Burke, PhD. “Crisis Preparation, Media Use, and Information Seeking: Patterns across Katrina Evacuees and Lessons Learned for Crisis Communication”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 6, no. 2, Mar. 2008, pp. 11-23, doi:10.5055/jem.2008.0009.