A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Crisis Communication

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Coming Out of the Dark: Using Your Web Site for Crisis Communication

When SwissAir Flight 111 crashed off the coast of Nova Scotia in early September of 1998, most people didn’t realize the accident would begin to usher in a new era—using the Internet for crisis communication. In the years since, more and more companies and not-for-profits have jumped on the bandwagon and identified their web sites as critical tools for crisis communication response, particularly since Sept. 11.

Bagg, Frederick C. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Web Design>Crisis Communication


Communicating in a Crisis Situation

A fire has destroyed your manufacturing facility that produces 80% of your products. Your staff has nowhere to work, your suppliers have nowhere to ship goods, and your customers start looking for new suppliers. Now what?

Rowe, Craig. ClearRisk Blog (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication


Crafting a Crisis Communication Plan

In the wake of the tragic Virginia Tech shootings, it is time to ask a few serious and potentially life-saving questions about crisis communication and the plans that either exist, or don't exist, where we work.

Braud, Gerard. Communication World Bulletin (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication


Crisis Management—Don’t Forget the People

In the past, business continuity and crisis management focused on tangible assets, especially post-crisis recovery of systems and data and reestablishment of facilities and services. This all changed in the aftermath of 9/11, when it became obvious that the human factor was as critical as the technology and the buildings. Watching the suffering of the people affected by the Madrid bombings has reinforced the need to ensure your contingency plans address the people involved.

Perl, David. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication


Effective Risk Communication Starts with Solid Research

The terms risk communication, crisis communication and risk management are often used interchangeably. Crisis communication we understand to mean communicating once the crisis has hit. Risk management entails ensuring as far as possible that risks do not become a reality. Risk communication is part of risk management—informing responsibly on the extent of risk.

Macleod, Sandra. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Risk Communication>Research>Crisis Communication


Embracing Left and Right: Image Repair and Crisis Communication in a Polarized Ideological Milieu   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The author explores how a tobacco firm in crisis engaged in crisis communication and image repair work in a highly polarized ideological milieu. Through an analysis of the tobacco firm's public statements produced in the aftermath of a 1997 lawsuit, the author demonstrates how the firm dealt with its milieu by exploiting and embracing both of the ambient ideological poles. By embracing these poles, the firm turned critique and opposition into discursive resources for its crisis communication. The author argues that political-ideological framing of organizational communication and discursive appropriation of critique and opposition serve as critical foci for organizational communication scholarship.

Svensson, Peter. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication>Ethics


How to Handle a Crisis: Eleven Communications Tips

Every company – no matter what size, whether public or private – faces crises. While the scale may be different compared to these corporate giants, crises happen all the time. Crises are all around us. Is your company prepared to handle one?

Beaupre, Andy. Checkmate (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication


How to Write a Disaster Recovery Plan

Tragic events are a part of life. While we can't predict them, we can prepare for them. Here are some tips on how to write a disaster recovery plan that will keep your organization operating during and after such events.

HelpScribe (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication>Policies and Procedures


Legal Requirements in the New Age

Consider a plan that identifies who in your company will address phone or other inquiries if something goes viral (read the article and you’ll see what I mean).

Norris, Julie. 2moro Docs (2009). Articles>Project Management>Social Networking>Crisis Communication


Lessons in Crisis Preparedness for Communication Pros

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, university leaders—indeed all organizational leaders—are evaluating their crisis preparedness. Those leaders who actively seek to employ a comprehensive, all-hazard preparedness plan—not just one that deals with a troubled-turned-violent-person—will emerge best equipped to safeguard their students, employees and others.

Doyle, Jerry. Communication World Bulletin (2007). Articles>Communication>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication


Organizing for Effective Communication During a Crisis

Little of existing risk communication advice addresses the management of the communication function during a crisis as opposed to before a crisis. Drawing from my own career experiences, I think it important to address the former.

Freimuth, Vicki S. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication


Preparing for a Crisis: Tips on Writing a Crisis Communication Plan   (PDF)

A crisis communication plan details how a company will operate in a crisis. It should include sections on potential crises and strategies for managing a crisis using a crisis management team. The plan should include details on the team's functions, training for the team members and the company spokesperson, and use of a crisis management center and a media center. The plan should address implementation of practice drills and an evaluation of each drill and actual crisis.

Molony, S.T. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Risk Communication>Rhetoric>Crisis Communication


Risk Communication: A Critical Component in Every Crisis

Having been deployed as a crisis communicator to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, immediately after the New Orleans levees failed last year, I am frequently asked to talk about the experience and my opinion of why so much went wrong so quickly in the aftermath. My quick response is "Too little too late."

Alvey, Robert J. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication


Taking the Lead in Crisis Planning

If your crisis communication mantra is "What, Me Worry?" you are not alone. In fact, a third of IABC members who took the IABC Research Foundation crisis communication survey last December said they had no formal crisis communication plan in place prior to last year's many natural disasters and organizational crises.

Guthridge, Liz. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Risk Communication>Crisis Communication


Toward a Synthesis Model for Crisis Communication in the Public Sector: An Initial Investigation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article explores approaches to crisis communication and the application of those approaches by organizations responding to a disaster. The authors conducted a survey of 107 state government agencies to learn about government efforts in situations requiringcrisis communication. Generally, the survey results suggest that although state agenciesenjoy a positive relationship with the media, they have little proactive communicationwith the media, and less than half have a written crisis communication plan. Significantassociations were found between the variables under study, including size of the organization,roles in crisis situations, media relationships, and preparation of a crisis communicationplan. Case studies and additional evaluations of communication resources areneeded to help determine the ability of the public sector to respond effectively to crises.This article considers the needs of state agencies and proposes a conceptual approach thatsynthesizes a crisis communication process designed for the public sector.

Horsley, J. Suzanne and Randolph T. Barker. STC Proceedings (2002). Articles>Risk Communication>Government>Crisis Communication


Using New Media to Tame a Crisis

New media have drastically altered the way we communicate, particularly during a crisis. With the blogosphere, Web 2.0, Second Life and social media sites like Flickr, Twitter, Blogger, Facebook and MySpace, it seems that a new way to spread information crops up on a daily basis. Since crises can originate or be perpetuated online, communicators must incorporate social media into their existing media monitoring efforts.

Griffin, Chip. Communication World Bulletin (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Multimedia>Crisis Communication


What Spokespeople Should Say and Do in a Crisis

Powerful communication before a crisis and rapid communication during a crisis have the ability to move people out of harm’s way, save lives and protect reputations. Yet so many organizations second-guess what they should say, who should say it and when. Here are some rules to follow in these circumstances.

Braud, Gerard. Communication World Bulletin (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication>Public Relations


What the Public Sector Can Learn from the Private Sector

Not all corporate executives are willing to admit to a mistake or to own up to a weakness, of course. We’ve seen plenty of how-not-to examples in recent years. But experts in corporate crisis communication will invariably give the same advice: If the news is bad and it’s bound to get out anyway, put it out yourself and show that you care. So why is it so hard for politicians? Despite years of digging themselves deeper into a hole when faced with bad news, politicians have not learned their lesson. The best course is always to release bad news yourself and to take responsibility and apologize as appropriate.

Pine, Mel Harkrader. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication

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