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Title: Rapid issue tracking: A method for taking the pulse of the public discussion of environmental policy
Author: Bengston, David N.; Fan, David P.; Reed, Patrick; Goldhor-Wilcock, Ashley.
Publication: Environmental Communication. 3(3): 367-385.
Key Words: Monitoring the Social Environment, Environmental Policy, Content Analysis, News Media, Social Media
Abstract: Environmental communication professionals and other decision makers need to understand public sentiment toward environmental issues to effectively carry out their stewardship responsibilities. However, it is often difficult to obtain timely and reliable information about public discussion and debate regarding these issues. This paper describes an approach designed to address this dilemma: Rapid Issue Tracking is a method for quickly "taking the pulse" of public and other stakeholder discussion. The data source for Rapid Issue Tracking is online media stories, including traditional news media, social media, and other textual data such as public comments received by an agency. Two US Forest Service cases of Rapid Issue Tracking are presented to explicate the method and its usefulness in environmental communication and decision making.
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