Emergency Media and Public Affairs
Emergency Media and Public Affairs

Emergency Media and Public Affairs

Equine Influenza – Horsing about with a quarantine crisis

Dr Gwyneth V.J. Howell, The University of Western Sydney

Rohan Miller, The University of Sydney


Crises are unpredictable events that can impact an organisation’s viability, credibility and reputation. When a crisis affects the animals in a rural industry worth $9billion per year, all those affected turned to State and Federal government agencies for information, communication and news. In 2007, the horse industry in New South Wales stalled as equine influenza spread across the state. At its peak, 47,000 horses were infected, and horse owners and industry workers faced an unknown future. The disease was eradicated within six months and by July 2008 horse industry operations had returned to normal. This paper examines the critical role that traditional and new media played in the communication program for this crisis and concludes radio remains a vital component of the communication mix in a geographically widespread crisis.


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