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Background: The COVID-19 virus continues to plague the world, though not at its alarming rate at the peak of the pandemic in 2020-2021. Throughout that time, a great deal of organizational messages were disseminated to audiences in response to the virus.
Aims: This study examined organizational messages in the United States about COVID-19 between March and September 2020. The purpose of the project was to identify patterns in these organizational messages to identify where messaging can be improved to better support the public when contending with health emergencies.
Method: A total of 106 organizational messages were assessed (N = 106) through risk communication and social support lenses.
Results: It was found that the organizational messages provided informational, instrumental, and emotional support. Organizational messages tended to frame risks as low hazard and low outrage. Strategies involving both rational and emotional appeals were used. The most frequently promoted preventive behavior was social distancing. It was found that different organizations promoted preventive behaviors differently, specifically government using their messages to promote wearing face coverings more than other industries.
Conclusions: Not only does this project fill a research gap, it also serves a practical function, as the findings can be presented to organizations as helpful information for the development of a comprehensive communication strategy during a public health situation.
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