Lark, Utah: a case study of public communication in community organizing

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department Communication
Author Funk, Timothy Jess
Title Lark, Utah: a case study of public communication in community organizing
Date 1983-06
Description This thesis presents the notion of public communication in community organizing and traces how it functions through the illustrative example of the closing of the mining town of Lark, Utah. Shortly before Christmas 1977, Kennecott Copper Corporation announced it had purchased the town of Lark and the residents would be forced to leave. Some of the residents resisted and by May 1978 their opposition to the company had developed into a national news story. The Lark, Utah story is viewed as an event characteristic of the new citizen action movement in which residents of local communities such as Lark are typically in confrontation with corporate or government actions seen to be contrary to the community interest. The elements of the citizen action movement are described, and the place of community organizing and public communication within it is discussed. The process of public communication in community organizing is then demonstrated by recounting how the Lark residents expressed in word and deed their opposition to Kennecott Copper and the town closure. Taken together, the Lark community organizing experience and the articulation of it through publie communication provides a working model of what may occur in communities faced with similar situations. In order to provide an empirical basis for the model of public communication in community organizing, a historical account of the Lark, Utah story is given. The account is based on a variety of sources including interviews with principal participants, tape recordings of key meetings, newspaper and magazine stories, television videotapes, and personal correspondence. Findings indicate that a group of Lark residents in opposition to Kennecott's closing of the town, with community support and the help of a professional organizer, organized against the company. Using effective public communication, based in large part on successful manipulation of the mass media, the group managed to make the company respond to their demands. Although it is difficult to estimate the full impact of the Lark opposition group on the final Kennecott settlement with residents, the final outcome suggests that citizens acting together forced a more thorough consideration of their needs. This case also demonstrates the elements described in the community organizing process model are more like "phases" rather than "steps." The lines separating these phases were not clear cut; successful accomplishment of a v particular phase was not always maintained as the group pursued its course of action, frequently changing in size or character. However, the model was shown to be useful in demonstrating what could be, or had to be, accomplished at any particular point in the organizing of the community group.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Communication; Public communication; Community organization; Kennecott Copper Corporation
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Science
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Timothy Jess Funk 1983
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 4,264,787 Bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3076
ARK ark:/87278/s67w9mfb
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2014-07-30
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 196644
Reference URL