HONG KONG SHUE YAN UNIVERSITY
BA (Hons) in Journalism and Mass Communication
Course Title: Crisis Communication
Course Code: PRA 450C
Year of Study: 4
Number of Credits: 3
Duration in Weeks: 14
Contact Hours per Week: Lecture: 3 hours
Crisis communication is a specialist area of public relations. In the face of a
crisis situation, public relations skills and techniques are particularly important. Often, they
are severely tested. Unless careful public relations planning is done and quick and effective
responses are made, impacts of a crisis on an organization or an individual can be drastic and
This course looks into the key principles underlying crisis communication, investigating into
various communication concepts and models. The course also reviews the relationship
between crisis management, issues management and public relations. Ethical issues and
consideration in the process of handling crisis will also be discussed.
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. gain understanding of the concept of crisis management and issues management;
2. gain understand the role and the importance of communications and public relations
during a crisis;
3. learn the skills and techniques in handling a crisis;
4. learn how to communicate during a crisis and how to employ strategies and tactics in the
1. Public relations and crisis management
• Role of communication in an organization
• Principles of public relations management
• Communication in an era of uncertainty
• Responsibility of a corporate citizen
• The importance of crisis planning
2. Public relations and issues management
• What are issues
• Importance of issues management
• Steps in issues management
3. Crisis management (1)
• Definition of crisis
• Nature of crisis
• Different types of crisis
• External and internal crisis
• The stages of crisis
• Risk management
• The myth of crisis management
• Ethics and responsibility
4,5 Crisis management (2)
• Crisis management theory
• Key principles and thinking tools
• Impacts of crisis and potential benefits of a crisis
• Crisis audits and inventory
• Crisis management model
• Planning for crisis management
• Crisis management manual
• Crisis control center
6,7. Crisis communication
• Decision making under crisis-induced stress
• The first 24-hours
• Identifying key publics
• Identifying the crisis communication team and the media spokesperson
• Defining communication objectives and key messages
• Setting communication strategies and tactics
• Internal communication program
• External communication program
8,9. Working with the media during a crisis
• Identifying the list of media
• Emergency media Center
• Tracking public opinion
• Background information
• Media relations
• News release and announcements
• News conferences
• Media interview
• Avoiding communication disaster
10,11 Recovery after crisis
• Post-crisis evaluation
• Post crisis communication
• Recovery planning
• Long-term planning and recovery strategies
• Control systems
• Getting on the business
12,13 Handling different types of crisis
• Natural disasters
• Hostile takeovers
• Product Tampering crises
• Financial crises
• Technology crises
• Crises of violence and terrorism
• Celebrities and crises
Teaching approach: Lectures and tutorials
Class performance 10%
Final Examination 40%
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