Environmental Policy

Just Turn on the Faucet: A Content Analysis of PSAs About the Global Water Crisis on YouTube

Krajewski, J.M.T.; Schumacher, A.C.; Dalrymple, K.E.
May-02-2020

Abstract

Water is essential for human life, yet safe drinking water is a limited resource. Critical to fighting the global water crisis are public awareness campaigns, including Public Service Announcements (PSAs). While YouTube has become a popular medium for disseminating prosocial content such as PSAs, environmental communication efforts on this platform remain largely uninvestigated. This study examines the content and characteristics of global water crisis PSAs on YouTube by applying two communication models: the Extended Parallel Process Model, and the Elaboration Likelihood Model. These models are used to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the PSAs. Content analysis reveals that threat messages often outweigh efficacy messages in the videos, central route processing cues are more prevalent than peripheral route cues, and a focus on quality or quantity issues differed by sponsoring organization (non-profit, for-profit, government). Implications and avenues for potential future research are discussed.