Friday, August 15, 2008

What Me Worry?

As an example of risk communication, this University of California website about the Governor's Executive Order does not necessarily do the work of allaying the fears of its potential audience of state employees, who may be worrying about the fact that "Governor Schwarzenegger signed an executive order implementing a number of measures to reduce the state’s cash obligations until a state budget is approved," which include "the reduction of state employees’ salaries to the federal minimum wage and the suspension of state contracts." Those who work for the state with mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and utility bills due at the beginning of the month, may not take much comfort in the mass e-mails from university administrators that are posted to the site. The vagaries of official prose generally are inappropriate for stakeholders who want definite information and step-by-step advice. Moreover, uncertainties included in messages that say things like "they do not expect the majority of current salaries to be affected by the governor’s order" probably make rhetorical matters worse.

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