Crisis Communication & Management

April 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm (college, communication, communications, crisis communication, PR) (, , , , , )

I am three credits short of completing my minor in Communication at Central Michigan University. I need one more elective. None of the remaining electives really appealed to me. Instead of taking a class that I really am not interested in, I designed a syllabus for an independent study and submitted it to my adviser. She approved it. Next fall, I will be studying crisis communication and management.

I plan to keep a journal of the course on wordpress.com. My adviser will be able to keep track of my progress and others may benefit from reading about what I am learning in the course. Check back in August to get the link.

Does anyone have case studies or other suggestions that I may use for this course?

Please contact me if you do. It would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the syllabus that I designed:

Course Description:

This course focuses on crisis communication and management, emphasizing practical application of theories, strategies, and tactics from a public relations perspective.

Course Objectives:

  • To understand the theories of crisis communication
  • To critically analyze crisis communication case studies
  • To competently utilize crisis communication and management strategies and tactics for detection, prevention, preparation, containment, and recovery.
  • To be able to create a crisis communication plan
  • To be able to transfer learned crisis communication and management skills to a real world context

Course Assignments:

  • Case Study Analyses
    • Critical analysis of case studies related to crisis communication and management
  • Crises In The News
    • Critical analysis of crisis situations showcased in the media
  • Crisis Communication Plan
    • Creation of crisis communication plan, preferably for local business or organization
  • Professional Journal
    • Professional journal, created through www.wordpress.com, will contain notes from readings, case study analyses assignments, crisis in the news assignments, and any other details related to class.
  • Crisis Management Manual
    • Reference manual created from class materials that can be used as a reference tool in future crisis situations

Course Points:

  • Case Study Analysis 1 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 2 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 3 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 4 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 5 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 1 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 2 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 3 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 4 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 5 10 points
  • Crisis Communication Plan 150 points
  • Professional Journal 150 points
  • Crisis Management Manual 100 points
  • TOTAL 500 points

Recommended Texts:

  • Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding by W. Timothy Coombs
  • The Crisis Counselor: A Step-By-Step Guide to Managing a Business Crisis by Jeff Caponigro

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“Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

March 31, 2008 at 12:34 am (agency, college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

Session 1: “Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

Robert Kolt is CEO and president of Kolt Communications, Inc., a privately owned communications corporation located in Okemos, Michigan. He is a CMU alumni with an undergraduate degree in broadcast & cinematic arts and journalism. He also holds a graduate degree in communications from MSU.

The following is an outline of what I learned in his session called “Agency PR.”

Kolt said that his corporation does a lot of strategic communications. For example, he might do research for a politician and tell them the facts and what they should say.” Another example would be interview rehearsals for Consumers Energy’s CEO.

Kolt Communications, Inc. offers media training, including message development strategies, speaking and presentation skills, and media interview techniques. They stage events that “help make news.” They are licensed as fundrasiers as well. Kolt said that fundraising and grant writing are growing areas in the industry.

One past client Kolt talked to students about was a lottery winner that wanted to remain anonymous. He did not want his face shown because he had a criminal record. His corporation also has staged fires to show crisis communication skills, done ground breakings, and has handled a crisis situation with the United Way. He also does advertising.

Kolt Communications, Inc. usually takes one or two interns that are paid $10 per hour. He said he looks for a good writer. Good interpersonal skills are important. You also need to be a hard worker. Kolt said that employers want to know what you’ve done and see your samples.

Kolt said that he does not actively pitch to businesses. Many clients come to him through referrals or he bids on projects.

One thing to remember, Kolt said, is “it’s not about you, it’s about your client,” Kolt said.

Kolt Communications, Inc. also handles a lot of crisis communications. He gave three steps to crisis management.
1. Prevention
2. Detection
3. Extinguishing

He said that many businesses don’t come to him until they need help with step three.

On starting your own firm, Kolt suggested the following:

1. Create relationships – Never burn any bridge
2. Be honest, knowledgeable, and creative
3. Add value and power to clients
4. Be philanthropic
This session was helpful to me because I would like to start my own firm one day. It was nice to hear from someone that had graduated from CMU with a successful firm.

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