DECIPHER project presented at the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference in Orlando

Martin Löffelholz and Andreas Schwarz, both principal investigators in the DECIPHER project, presented the current state and methodological challenges of their ongoing research on COVID-19 risk communication at the annual International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference in Orlando on March 9, 2022. The presentation was part of one of the conference’s main plenary sessions entitled “Dialogue and debate in difficult times: Global communities of practice”.

Andreas Schwarz & Martin Löffelholz

Further panelists were Masha Vandeford, independent consultant and expert in health communication emergency risk communication and Maria Eduarda Lander, coordinator of the Queretaro Association for the Promotion of Reading (LEO A.C. Mexico). The keynote was held by Mohan Dutta, Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) and professor of communication at Massey University in New Zealand. The panel‘s facilitator was Deanna D. Sellnow, professor of strategic communication at the University of Central Florida (UCF) who is also one of the so-called Mercator Fellows of the DECIPHER project who contribute their international expertise to several conceptual and methodological issues. Further Mercator Fellows who joined the conference were Audra Diers-Lawson (Kristiania University College, Oslo) and Timothy Sellnow (University of Central Florida, Orlando).

In their presentation, Löffelholz and Schwarz discussed the challenges to design and conduct a multi-method and cross-national comparative study on an ongoing pandemic as in the case of COVID-19. After elaborating the project’s approach of interweaving empirical observation of COVID-related government communication, media coverage, social media networks, as well as citizen perceptions in multiple national contexts, the audience engaged in an intense discussion on DECIPHER’S  potential implications for governmental risk communication.

The DECIPHER project has started in June 2021 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with 1.8 million Euros. The research consortium includes four research groups of TU Ilmenau and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

The International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference ICRCC offers its attendees the opportunity to network with prominent crisis communication practitioners, leaders and researchers. They share their expertise in interactive case studies, in-depth panel discussions and presentation sessions. The 2022 conference took place from March 7 to March 9t in Downtown Orlando (