Knight  School  of  Communication   COMM  633:    Strategic  Crisis  and  Issues  Management   Fall  2011     Tuesdays  6  –  8:45  p.m.     ___________________________________________________________________________     Professor     Kim  Weller  Gregory,  Ph.D.   Dana  102C         gregoryk@queens.edu     704.277.6773  (cell)         Office  Hours     Tuesday  5-­‐6  p.m.  and  by  appointment       Textbooks   Coombs,  W.  T.    (2012).    Ongoing  crisis  communication:    Planning,  managing,   and  responding.    3rd  ed.    Los  Angeles:    Sage.     Additional  readings  posted  on  Moodle.     Description     This  course  introduces  students  to  the  theories  and  practices  that  allow  organizations  and  individuals  to   successfully  cope  with  the  communication  aspects  of  a  crisis.    It  relies  heavily  on  a  case  study  approach   to  explore  crisis  management  principles,  strategies,  and  tactics  in  multiple  contexts.       Specific  course  objectives  include:     1. The  ability  to  define  and  recognize  a  crisis  and  the  importance  of  proactively  attempting  to   prevent  and  prepare  for  it.   2. An  investigation  of  several  theories  related  to  crisis  communication,  as  well  as  a  stage  approach   to  exploring  its  various  aspects.   3. An  enhanced  understanding  of  how  digital  communication  tools  have  changed  crisis   management  strategies  and  challenges.   4. Experience  creating  a  crisis  management  plan  including  analyzing  an  audience,  putting  together   a  crisis  management  system,  information  gathering  and  processing,  crafting  a  message  to  key   publics,  reputation  management,  and  post  crisis  evaluation.      


Course  Policies     • Connections:         Moodle:    I  may  post  general  course  announcements  on  Moodle  (http://moodle.queens.edu/).     Please  check  our  Moodle  course  site  regularly,  or  you  may  sign  up  to  have  postings  forwarded  to   your  email  account.     Twitter:    I  will  also  share  ideas  and  resources  as  well  as  post  some  course  announcements  on  Twitter   using  the  hashtag  #crisiscomm.     facebook:    We  have  a  facebook  group  open  only  to  students  in  COMM  633  named  Knight  School   COMM  633  Crisis  Communication  Fall  2011  at   http://www.facebook.com/groups/229674430413807/.    Please  use  the  group  to  ask  questions  and   share  resources,  ideas,  and  thoughts.     RexMail:    Due  to  FERPA  (Family  Educational  Rights  and  Privacy  Act)  regulations,  I  will  contact  you   through  your  Queens  RexMail  account  rather  than  your  personal  or  work  email.    Please  check  that   account  regularly  or  forward  incoming  emails  to  a  preferred  account.       • Assignments:    Please  email  me  written  assignments  electronically  by  6  p.m.  on  the  assigned  day.     Blog  links  should  be  sent  to  my  Queens  email  account  as  well.    Any  assignments  submitted  after  6   p.m.  will  be  considered  late.    Typically,  any  late  assignment  that  I  choose  to  accept  is  penalized  a   minimum  of  one  letter  grade  for  each  class  meeting  that  it  is  late.       • Writing:    As  students  in  a  graduate  program,  your  writing  should  be  clear,  coherent,  and  error  free.     Please  make  an  appointment  at  the  Center  for  Academic  Success  Writing  Center  for  any  extra   assistance  (contact  Jenn  Goddu  at  godduj@queens.edu  or  704.688.2765;  also  see   http://www.queens.edu/studentlife/resources/writing_center.asp).  Written  assignments  should   follow  APA  guidelines.       • Grading:    Some  written  assignments  will  receive  letter  grades  that  will  be  converted  to  a  numerical   score  for  final  grade  computation.    The  grading  scale  is  as  follows:   A     90  –  100                     Superior  work.    Creative.   B     80  –  89     Good  work.    Could  improve  in  one  of  these  areas:    ideas,     argument,  or  grammar.   C     70  –  79     Adequate  work.    Could  improve  in  two  of  these  areas:    ideas,     argument,  or  grammar.   F     69  &  below       Unacceptable  work.    Reflects  unacceptable  level  of  commitment     or  skill.     • Class  Attendance:    As  a  discussion-­‐based  course,  it  is  important  that  you  not  miss  scheduled  class   meetings.    However,  I  realize  that  occasional  professional  and  personal  scheduling  conflicts  are   unavoidable.    Therefore,  you  may  miss  1  class  with  no  penalty.    For  each  additional  absence,  your   final  participation  grade  will  be  reduced  by  5  points.    If  you  must  miss  class,  please  try  to  Skype  in.     • Confidentiality:    Confidentiality  on  all  papers  and  projects  will  be  honored.    The  names  of  people  or   organizations  may  be  changed  for  your  coursework.    Please  see  me  if  you  have  any  questions  or   concerns  about  your  paper  or  project.  


University  Policies   • University  Closings/Cancelled  Classes:    QAlert:    Sign  up  to  receive  campus  emergency  notifications   via  voicemail,  text  and/or  e-­‐mail  at  www.queens.edu/alert.  If  classes  are  meeting  but  you  feel  that   you  cannot  find  a  safe  way  to  get  to  class,  please  notify  me  as  soon  as  possible.    Should  I  need  to   cancel  class,  I  will  notify  you  by  sending  out  a  message  on  Moodle  and  Twitter.         Honor  Code  &  Plagiarism:  The  Honor  Code,  which  permeates  all  phases  of  university  life,  is  based  on   three  fundamental  principles.    It  assumes  that  Queens  students:  a)  are  truthful  at  all  times,  b)   respect  the  property  of  others,  and  c)  are  honest  in  tests,  examinations,  term  papers,  and  all  other   academic  assignments.         Plagiarism  is  representing  another’s  words  or  thoughts  as  one’s  own,  and  it  is  a  clear  violation  of   Queens’  Honor  Code.    It  can  take  many  forms,  including  word-­‐for-­‐word  plagiarism  or  paraphrasing   without  providing  proper  citation  of  source.    To  learn  more,  visit  the  Queens  Center  for  Academic   Success  located  in  the  basement  of  Dana   (http://www.queens.edu/studentlife/resources/academicresourcecenter.asp)   or  the  following  website:  http://www.plagiarism.org/.    Please  contact  me  if  you  have  any  questions   or  believe  a  violation  of  the  Honor  Code  has  occurred.       Institutional  Review  Board:    Students  must  gain  approval  from  the  IRB  in  advance  for  any  upcoming   research  that  directly  involves  human  subjects.    Research  review  regulations  are  a  federally   mandated  process  that  seeks  to  protect  human  subjects  from  physical  or  emotional  harm,  as  well  as   deceptive  or  exploitative  research.    IRB  regulations  at  academic  institutions  also  help  protect   researchers  and  their  institutions  from  legal  and  reputational  risks.    Retroactive  approvals  are  not   possible.    For  more  information  and  the  necessary  forms,  visit  MyQueens  and  see  shared  documents   (left  side  bar).   Intellectual  Property  Policy:    Queens  University  of  Charlotte  faculty  and  students  adhere  to  the   Queens’  Intellectual  Property  Policy.  See  Faculty  Handbook,  http://moodle.queens.edu,   and  the  Queens  University  of  Charlotte  website  at  http://www.queens.edu.   Disability  Accommodations:    If  you  are  a  student  with  a  verified  disability  and  you  require   accommodations,  please  provide  me  with  the  necessary  memorandum  that  was  given  to  you  by   Student  Disability  Services.      Contact:  The  Coordinator  of  Disability  Services:  Sandy  Rogelberg,  704-­‐ 337-­‐2508.     Major  Assignments       Crisis  Management  Plan  (30%)     You  will  audit,  revise,  and/or  create  a  crisis  management  plan  (CMP)  for  a  real  or  hypothetical   organization.    During  the  course  of  the  semester,  we  will  identify  the  specific  components  to  an  effective   CMP,  which  you  will  include  in  your  assignment.    You  will  analyze  your  organization  and  its  industry  and   key  stakeholders  and  determine  the  most  effective  CMP  for  at  least  one  specific  scenario.    Your  plan   should  focus  on  communication  strategies  and  include  a  consideration  of  digital  communication  as  well   as  a  visual  component.    You  may  pair  with  a  student  to  complete  this  assignment,  but  your  plan  should  


  •   •



reflect  work  commensurate  of  two  people.    You  will  present  key  learnings  from  your  assignment  to  your   classmates  at  the  end  of  the  term.     Note:    On  the  course  Moodle  site,  you  will  find  two  sample  CMP’s—one  for  a  large  company  and  one  for   a  small  company.    Both  are  provided  by  Fearn-­‐Banks  (2011).       Course  Reflection  Blog  (30%)     You  will  start  a  blog  for  the  course  and  post  a  weekly  entry  in  which  you  reflect  on  the  week’s  course   material  (i.e.,  readings,  class  discussion)  and  your  key  learnings  related  to  crisis  communication.    Be  sure   to  incorporate  specific  course  material.         I  encourage  you  to  use  outside  examples  of  crisis  management  to  illustrate  your  key  learnings.    A  daily   scan  of  online  news  headlines  can  provide  several  examples  to  choose  from.     I  also  suggest  you  visit  the  following  crisis  communication  blogs  as  a  further  resource  and  for  ideas.     http://ww2.crisisblogger.com    Gerald  Baron,  PR  Consultant   http://crisiscomm.wordpress.com    Rachel  Esterline,  Central  Michigan  University  PR  student   http://ricochetblog.com  Ricochet  PR  (see  crisis  comm  series)       Crisis  Management  Case  Study    (25%)     You  will  pair  with  a  classmate  to  explore  how  one  organization  managed  a  crisis.    What  specific   strategies  did  they  use  to  manage  the  crisis?    Do  you  feel  they  handled  the  crisis  effectively?         Specifically,  what  did  they  do  well  or  not  so  well?    You  will  present  your  findings  in  an  interactive  way  to   the  class.    You  will  also  provide  me  with  a  one-­‐page  executive  summary  of  your  findings  and  opinions.     Be  sure  to  directly  apply  course  material  to  your  analysis.     Note:    Each  case  study  presented  in  the  course  should  focus  on  a  different  type  of  crisis—e.g.,   environmental  disaster,  financial  crisis,  scandal.    Attached  to  this  syllabus  is  a  list  of  types  of  crises.    Your   textbook  (Coombs,  2011)  lists  several  possible  specific  case  studies  in  its  Appendix.     You  and  your  partner  will  choose  your  crisis  type,  which  will  be  assigned  on  a  first  come,  first  served   basis.    Then,  notify  me  of  your  specific  crisis  case  study  as  soon  as  possible.           Course  Participation  (15%)     Your  participation  grade  will  be  calculated  with  equal  weight  given  to  the  following:   1. In-­‐class  participation.    Quality  comments  are  more  valued  than  quantity  of  comments.   2. Blog  comments.    You  will  comment  on  at  least  one  of  your  peer’s  course  reflections  each  week.   (Please  comment  on  a  different  blog  each  week.)   3. Twitter.    You  will  link  to  at  least  one  example  or  resource  related  to  crisis  communication  each   week  using  #crisiscomm.       4. Class  attendance.        


Date     Sep  6  

Sep  13  

Sep  20  

Sep  27  

Oct  4  

Oct  11  

Tentative  Course  Schedule     Class  Topic   Assignments     Course  Introduction   Coombs  Chs.  1  &  2   What  is  a  crisis?     Why  is  crisis  management  important?   Crisis  management  then  and  now     Crisis  Communication  Theory   Fearn-­‐Banks  Ch.  2  (Moodle)  &  Ch.  7  (pp.   Stage  model  (Fink,  1986)   90-­‐100  only)   Image  Restoration  Theory  (Benoit,  1997)     Kavilanz  (2011)  http://cnnmon.ie/qEpJwC   Situational  Crisis  Communication  Theory   Pollard  (2011)  http://bit.ly/pXoga2   (Coombs,  2007)   Red  Cross  (2011)  http://rdcrss.org/pBF7lC   Example:  Natural  disasters   Sherman  (2009)  http://bit.ly/mWuzPe       In-­‐class  crisis  case  study:    Johnson  &  Johnson   Kavanaugh  et.  al.  (2011)  (skim)   http://bit.ly/r3V4rq         Precrisis   Coombs  Chs.  3  &  4   Can  a  crisis  be  prevented?   Fearn-­‐Banks  Ch.  7  (pp.  101-­‐109  only)   Proactive  –  Issues,  reputation,  and  risk   Baker  (2008)  http://bit.ly/qmqfK0     BP  website:  http://bit.ly/nBirM0   In-­‐class  crisis  case  study:    Exxon  vs.  BP   TWW  (2010)  http://bit.ly/nvmBrq     Owen  (2010)  http://bit.ly/q20CFS       Helms  (2009)  FC    http://bit.ly/nKKsAI       Crisis  Preparation  I   Coombs  Ch.  5   Diagnosis   Boyd  (20101)  FC  http://bit.ly/oU2SMa  on   Crisis  types   WikiLeaks   Putting  together  the  Crisis  Management   Salter  (2007)  FC  on  JetBlue   Team  (CMT)   http://bit.ly/oyL78w   Identifying  a  spokesperson         Examples:  WikiLeaks,  JetBlue   Explore  Levick  website.  What  do  you     think?   Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #1   http://www.levick.com/practice_areas/cri   sis/     Crisis  Preparation  II   Coombs  Ch.  6   Developing  a  Crisis  Management  Plan  (CMP)   Fearn-­‐Banks  Ch.  15  (Moodle)   The  Crisis  Management  System   Pisciotta  (2010)  Inc.  http://bit.ly/otMwuc         Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #2     Guest  Speaker:  Judi  Wax,  LGA  PR  Agency   Walter  (2011)  FC    http://bit.ly/r7LqXm     Deckers  (2011)  http://bit.ly/nXYb7q   Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #3        


Date     Oct  18  

Oct  25  

Nov  1  

Class  Topic     Crisis  Recognition   Selling  the  crisis   Information  processing     Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #4     Guest  Speaker:  Mary  Ann  Kotlarich  on   Maersk  Pirate  Crisis     Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #5     Crisis  Response     Implementation   Crisis  response  strategies   Crafting  the  Message   Communicating  with  Key  Publics   Reputation  management   Example:  Sept  11,  2001  crisis     Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #6     Guest  speaker:    Larry  Grayson,  Senior  VP,   Bank  of  America     Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #7     Post  Crisis   Evaluation   CMP  Revisions     Crisis  Management  Case  Study  #8     Happy  Thanksgiving!   Lessons  and  Challenges   Crisis  Plan  Presentations   Crisis  Plan  Presentations   Final  Exam  Period  

Assignments   Coombs  Ch.  7   Eventoff  (2009)  FC  http://bit.ly/njEnsR   Fleet  (2011)   http://davefleet.com/2011/04/tweet-­‐ crisis     Cohen  (2010)  http://bit.ly/nzNEyX   Perez  (2011)  http://prn.to/rfuY3t         Coombs  Ch.  8   Fearn-­‐Banks,  Ch.  4  (Moodle)   Steele  (2010)  FC  http://bit.ly/oMuikn   Chandran  (2011)  http://bit.ly/pIg8CX    Fishman  (2001)  FC  http://bit.ly/q2JXTr    

Nov  8  

41  Stories  (2011)  http://bit.ly/nHOoUn   Jordan-­‐Meier  (2011)  http://bit.ly/ojCOtV   Laird  (2010)  http://bit.ly/owkFoM       Coombs  Ch.  9   Cambell  (2011)  http://bit.ly/nbbtML      

Nov  15  

Nov  22   Nov  29   Dec  6   Dec  13  

No  Class   Coombs,  Epilogue   Crisis  Communication  Plan  Due    

  Reading  List     Fearn-­‐Banks,  K.    (2011).    Crisis  communication:    A  casebook  approach  (3rd  ed.).    New  York:  Routledge.    

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