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Abstract

Community leaders significantly influence the community's perception of and response to an emergency. This study explored the initial press conferences and communication efforts by community leaders as gatekeepers through an investigation of two large-scale disasters in the United States. Grounded in Patrick Wilson's call to a "reorientation toward the functional" and "to the point of the user," this study explores the initial communication efforts by Mayor Rudolf Giuliani immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, and by Mayor Ray Nagin in response to landfall of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, in order to identify instances of gatekeeping in the crisis communication process.

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