Foot and Mouth Disease: Informing the Community?
InSITE 2002 • Volume 2 • 2002
The 2001 foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the UK had a significant impact on the economic and social wellbeing of rural communities. This paper examines the FMD pages of four local government websites in Northern England: Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland and North Yorkshire County Councils. Each county was badly affected by FMD. The contents of the FMD webpages are analysed and compared: which audiences were addressed, what information was provided or omitted, and how well the audiences’ needs were met. The study shows the breadth of audience types and information that could have been included, but no site covered all the necessary angles. Furthermore, the websites did little to address the psychological problems arising from FMD or to enhance participation and democracy in their local communities. By examining how the councils informed those affected, lessons can be learnt which are relevant to any future disruption to a community.
foot and mouth disease, websites, World Wide Web
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