Influencing Healthcare Policy: Implications of State Legislator Information Source Preferences for Public Relations Practitioners and Public Information Officers

David Weiss 1 *, Judith M. White 1, Rachel A. Stohr 2, Matt Willis 3

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Abstract

An internet survey and follow-up mail survey were conducted in order to (a) determine New Mexico state legislators’ preferred sources for information when making decisions about healthcare policies and to (b) assess the state legislators’ attitudes toward e-mail more generally. Legislators were found to privilege expert colleagues and constituents over mass media as healthcare policy information sources; additionally, face-to-face encounters with constituents were preferred over e-mail, although respondents largely felt positive about using e-mail with both constituents and colleagues. These preferences regarding information sourcing and delivery indicate that public relations practitioners’ (PRPs) continuing tendency to communicate with state legislators using traditional media-centric methods are problematic. Results suggest legislators could be reached with greater effect if PRPs were to supplement their use of mass media channels with more personal, symmetrical relationship management strategies.

Keywords

excellence theory healthcare policy legislators media richness theory public information officers public relations practitioners

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

https://doi.org/10.29333/ojcmt/2498

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 114-135

Published Online: 15 Jan 2015

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