Crisis Communications: A Casebook Approach / Edition 4

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No company, organization, or individual whose livelihood depends on public reaction can afford to function without a crisis communications plan. This student workbook reviews the critical terminologies, processes, and skills needed for understanding and responding to crises. It prepares individuals for responding to crises in a variety of contexts, and reinforces strategies and tactics to be used during a crisis. Chapters include instructive case studies of public relations professionals in crises: what they did, what they wished they had done, and what hampered their progress. The exercises provide students with the opportunity to respond to real-world crises, sharpening their own skills and practicing response behaviors. This workbook will serve as a useful tool for all future practitioners.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415880596
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/27/2010
  • Series: Routledge Communication Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 282,948
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Fearn-Banks is Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. She joined the faculty in 1990, after 25 years in the communications professions. Her professional experience includes as a feature writer at the Los Angeles Times; a newswriter/ producer/ reporter for KNXT-TV (now KCBS) in Los Angeles; publicist and Media Relations Manager for NBC Television Network. She was vice president of Development and Public Relations for The Neighbors of Watts, an entertainment industry non-profit which raised funds for daycare centers in underprivileged areas of Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents


1 Crisis Communications Today 1

What is a Crisis and What is Crisis Communications? 2

The Five Stages of a Crisis 4

Public Opinion 9

Mini-Case: White Star Line's Titanic Sinks 10

2 Crisis Communications Theory 16

Apologia Theory 16

Image Restoration Theory 18

Decision Theory 19

Diffusion Theory 19

Excellence Theory 20

Summary 26

3 Communications to Prevent Crises 27

The News Media 27

Internal Publics 28

Customers/Consumers 30

4 Communications When the Crisis Strikes 33

Communicating with the News Media 34

Communicating with Lawyers 44

Communicating with Internal Publics 47

Communicating with External Publics 49

Communicating Directly with the Masses 50

5 Social Media and Crisis Communications 55

6 Rumors and Cybercrises 63

Word-of-Mouth Rumors, E-mail Rumors, Rogue Websites, and Blogs 64

The Nature of Rumors 64

How Rumors Start 65

Mini-Case: Procter & Gamble and the Satanism Rumor 66

Case: Snapps Restaurant and the AIDS Rumor 66

Types of Rumor 72

How Rumors Spread 75

Detecting a Rumor and Preventing its Spread 75

Fighting the Rumor 77

Social Media Rumors 78

Battling Online Rumors 79

Mini-Case: Microsoft Fights Fake E-Mailed News Release 81

Mini-Case: The Killer Banana Rumor 82

Rogue Websites 82

How Do Companies Prevent Rogue Websites? 84

What to Do After an Attack Site Is Up 85

Mini-Case: Alaska Airlines and the Good and Bad News Websites 86

Mini-Case: Dunkin' Donuts Adopts a Rogue Website 87

Mini-Case: America Online and a "Sucks" Site 88

Blogs 89

Conclusion 89

7 "Textbook" Crises 90

Case: Johnson & Johnson and the Tylenol Murders 90

Case: Exxon and the Valdez Oil Spil 101

8 Culture Crises: Foreign and Domestic 110

Case: Saginaw Valley State University and the Theater Controversy 110

Case: AIDS in Africa 116

Case: Texas A & M University and the Bonfire Tragedy 145

9 Environmental Crisis 161

Case: Haagen-Dazs and Honey Bees 161

10 Natural Disasters 176

Case: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans 176

11 Transportation Crises 215

Case: Holland America Line and Cruise Crises 215

Case: US Airways and the Emergency Landing in the Hudson 226

12 Product Failure and Product Tampering 236

Case: Yuhan-Kimberly and Baby Wet Wipes 236

Case: Maple Leaf Foods and the Battle against Listeria 243

Case: Wendy's and the Finger-in-the-Chili Hoax 252

Mini-Case: Domino's Pizza 258

13 Death and Injury 260

Case: Columbine High School and the Shooting Tragedy 260

Case: Metro Transit: Driver Shot, Bus Flies Off a Bridge 275

14 Individuals in Crises 291

The Public Person 293

Publicist or Lawyer? 294

Apologies 294

Talk or Keep Silent? 297

Responding to a Scandal 298

15 The Crisis Communications Plan 301

Crisis Inventory 301

Developing the Crisis Communications Plan 306

Appendix A Generic Crisis Communications Plan for a Large Company 320

Appendix B Crisis Communications Plan for Seattle's Union Gospel Mission 340

Appendix C Crisis Communications Plan for a Fictitious Small Business 347

Sources 366

Index 377

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