COSMIC Report on Citizens’ Involvement in Crises

COSMIC (Contribution of Social Media in Crisis Management) project partners MixLab at Koç University and Hellenic Rescue Team has drafted a report on Citizens’ Involvement in Emergency Communications. The report seeks to examine the various roles that citizens may have in communications during emergencies. Also, the report maps the relationship between the use of different types of media and communication technologies—including mass media, as well as new media technologies—and citizens’ involvement in emergency communications as,

  1. potential or actual volunteers (first responders) who may aid emergency response and rescue;
  2. as social activists who may utilise online networks to organise, coordinate, collaborate or mobilise during political crises; and
  3. as citizens who report on emergencies and political crises.

With respect to the role that citizens may play as first responders, the report focuses on how various communication media are utilised by response organisations and government agencies to identify, recruit, network with and train citizens.  In order to accomplish this goal, the partners engaged in an in-depth analysis of citizen awareness programs and volunteer recruitment and training processes in four different countries:  Turkey, Italy, United Kingdom, and Greece.

The report also discusses social activism as a form of citizen involvement in crises (predominantly political crises). Particularly, the section on social activism discusses  how social activist formations use media to recruit members and/or form networks, communicate ideas, and coordinate action.

Finally, regarding the role that citizens can play as reporters/journalists during emergencies and crises, discuss  issues related to news selection processes, types of coverage (commentary vs. news), types of sources used by citizen journalists and citizen journalists’ perceptions regarding issues like reliability of information. In order to do so, the report summarises findings from  a content analysis of the articles published by citizens who reported about four emergencies/crises and online interviews conducted with a sample of citizens whose reports were content analysed.

Click Here for a copy of the report.