Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Science

First Committee Member

David M. Hassenzahl

Number of Pages



Since its inception, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was tasked with communicating local and national threat information. Over the last four years, DHS improved its technical ability to communicate, but many people still question its actions. Often it seems that regardless of the message released by DHS, somebody will criticize either the message content or the tuning of the press release. This begs the question of how effective is DHS at delivering messages and if it can be improved. Using a checklist of effective communication strategies, this study evaluated eighteen DHS press releases that identified new threats. The study found that DHS struggles the same issues that traditional mass media does when reporting new risks, as well as politicizing its own messages. By loading terrorism messages with vague information, DHS forced the audience to reach its own conclusions about the risks, leaving reports vulnerable to partisan reaction.


Advisors; Assessing; Homeland; Security; System

Controlled Subject

Environmental sciences; Mass media

File Format


File Size

1587.2 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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