New Media in Crisis Communication:
A Comparison of Different Media
During the Oklahoma State
University Basketball Plane Crashes
M.A. student in Communications
University of Nebraska at Omaha
COMM 8570, Spring 2015
• Crisis Communication
• Situation Crisis Communication Theory
• Best Practices of Crisis Communication
• Message Convergence
• Social Media
• Media Relations
• Media Dependency
• Case Study: Two OSU airplane crashes
• Research questions/methodology
• Because every organization faces times of
crisis, it is important that organizations handle
these situations correctly
• Knowing the best strategies to use in crisis
• Social media’s role in crisis communication
• Role of media and organizations during crises
• OSU crisis communication plans for the
• “The purpose of crisis communication is to
prevent or lessen the negative outcomes of a
crisis and thereby protect the organization,
stakeholders, and industry from harm,” (Veil &
Ojeda, 2010, p. 414)
Situation Crisis Theory
• Past crises shape an organization
• Three types of crises:
– victim, accidental, preventable
• Reputation management vs. base crisis
• Identification of publics: “hot-issue publics”
(Aldoory, 2012, p. 94)
Best Practices in Crisis Communication
• A specific communicator in charge of crisis
• Proactive crisis communication plans
• Working with various publics
• Transparency, Honesty, Trust
• Relations with Media
• Call to Action
• Actual message importance
• Informed public
• Message platform
• Back in 2000, many split-second decisions
were made in crises when dealing with media
• Previous tactics
– Listen to every question
– Explain the plan of action
– Prepare necessary background information
– Know common assumptions
– Be as proactive as possible
– Take action to minimize negative outcomes
• The Relationship between Public Relation
professionals and the Media
– Lack of trust
– When partnered, beneficial to all
• Tactics of Media Relations
– Transparency, accuracy, accessibility, trust,
• “Social media have changed the nature of
everyday communications by providing a
platform for individuals and organizations
alike to engage with each other in a dynamic,
synchronized, and multidirectional dialogue
that represents varied voices,” (Reitz, 2012, p.
• Need for social media today
Social Media & Crisis Communication
• Too many information sources
• Immediate information
• Perceived source credibility
• Monitoring and observing public
• Establish trust
• “The more a person depends on having his or
her meeds met by media use, the more
important will be the role that media play in
the person’s life, and therefore the more
influence those media will have on that
person,” (Baran, 2006, p. 324).
• Relational not goal-oriented
• Media power
Case Study: Two OSU airplane crashes
• January 27, 2001- Remember the Ten
– No crisis plan was in place
– “Do what was right”
– “OSU administrators realized the importance of
grieving and giving mourners an outlet for their
pain, not only through the website, but also in
other ways,” (Wigley, 2003, p. 41).
Case Study: Two OSU airplane crashes
• November 18, 2011- Remember the Four
– Social media already established and thriving
– Instant updates via social media
– No research has been conducted on this event
thus far for more information about what was
done throughout the crisis plan for this incident.
• RQ1: What changed within the crisis communication strategies between the first
OSU and second OSU basketball plane crashes?
– RQ1a: How did the crisis communication strategies of the first basketball
plane crash prepare OSU for the second basketball plane crash?
– RQ1b: How proactive was OSU for the second basketball plane crash?
– RQ1c: What were the main goals of the crisis communication strategies for
the first plane crash?
– RQ1d: What were the main goals of the crisis communication strategies for
the second plane crash?
• RQ2: What crisis communication best practices did OSU use during these crises?
– RQ2a: What best practices were used during the first OSU plane crash?
– RQ2b: What best practices were used during the second OSU plane crash?
– RQ2c: How were the overlapping best practices used differently between the
two different crashes?
– RQ2d: What did OSU request of its various publics as a call of action during
the first plane crash?
– RQ2e: What did OSU request of its various publics as a call of action during
the second plane crash?
Research Questions Cont.
• RQ3: How did OSU utilize the media in both plane crashes?
– RQ3a: How did the university build media relations in the first plane crash?
– RQ3b: How did the university build media relations in the second plane
– RQ3c: How did social media impact the nature of crisis communication being
played out in the second plane crash?
– RQ3d: What did OSU use to communicate out to its publics before social
media during the first plane crash?
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