The survey, conducted by Darwin PR agency Creative Territory after Cyclone Carlos last month, found 75 per cent of people turned to the internet for information and that even more would do so in the future.
The rise of mobile internet devices including smart phones and iPads, means people use the internet and social media to get information even during power blackouts.
Creative Territory managing director Tracy Jones said social media and the internet have sped up the news cycle as well as allowing people to participate in discussions.
“Traditional media outlets that do not extend their offering into social media are in danger of lagging behind,” she said.
“ABC and the NT News did this really well dutring Cyclone Carlos and were rewarded with a high level of trust among residents."
The survey was conducted among 227 people in the weeks following the cyclone and found:
- People who felt the least informed were less likely to listen to ABC Radio and Internet and more likely to watch TV.
- People who followed Twitter felt the most informed.
- People who lost telephone services felt the least informed.
- In the future, people would switch to radio if they lost power for extended periods, although a large number of people would remain connected to the internet and social media via mobile devices.
Tracy said the survey offered lessons to responders in future emergencies.
The survey results will be presented at a forum hosted by the Public Relations Institute of Australia and the Australian Marketing Institute in Darwin this week. The even will also feature experts from the Bureau of Meteorology, NT Police, ABC and Darwin International Airport.
When: Thursday 31 March, 12noon to 2pm
Where: Vibe Hotel, 7 Kitchener Drive, Darwin Waterfront NT
Cost: PRIA and AMI members $45
Register online here.