Mass Media and Perceived and Objective Environmental Risk: Race and Place of Residence

Brendan R. Watson, Daniel Riffe, Lynsy Smithson-Stanley, Emily Ogilvie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Rural, non-White survey respondents face the greatest objective environmental risks in North Carolina, evidence that environmental injustice persists in rural parts of the state. Residents' perceived risks, however, are not significantly associated with their objective risks or demographic characteristics, contrary to what the Risk Information Seeking and Processing Model predicts. Rather, survey respondents' perceived risks, as well as their confidence to cope with local environmental problems, are shaped primarily by respondents' media use: watching local TV news increased perceived risks, whereas national TV news use and newspaper reading increased individuals' environmental self-efficacy. Exposure to environmental health risks, perceived risks, and environmental self-efficacy, however, did predict individuals' information seeking, a "gateway" to more substantive behaviors that may help residents cope with environmental problems where they live.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-153
Number of pages20
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • RISP model
  • environmental justice
  • environmental risk
  • news media
  • objective risk
  • online news
  • perceived risk

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mass Media and Perceived and Objective Environmental Risk: Race and Place of Residence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this