Nicholson School of Communication Brings Crisis and Media Together at 2013 ICRC

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Rethinking Media

By Karen Masullo, EVP Social Media, Firestorm

This past week, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the 3rd Annual 2013 International Crisis & Risk Communication Conference hosted by the Nicholson School of Communication (NSC) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Firestorm, along with DRJ, ACP, Interstate, and the Ilmenau University of Technology, was a co-sponsor of the event.

2014ICRCThe stated goals of the Conference are “to provide the unique opportunity for leading researchers to come together with crisis and risk communication practitioners and professionals. The discussions are designed to enable participants to share, discuss, interact and network to the betterment of their goals, meet their respective needs, advance both theory and practice and establish best practices.”

“The conference provides current research findings and proven best practices which enables attendees to learn, grow and enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities. Effective crisis and risk communication can make the difference in business and organizational success, operational continuity, health and wellness, emergency management, disaster recovery, image-reputation brand management, product safety, incident notification, media relations and the role for social media applications. The ICRC Conference annually brings together the leading experts – both academic and professional – to collaboratively seek insights and understanding of what makes crisis and risk communication successful.”

It certainly did that.

I was thrilled to meet many of those whose work I respect and admire, and to have the opportunity to discuss critical issues, trends and research in Crisis and Risk Communication. The opening presentations, the first by Dr. W. Timothy Coombs, noted Crisis Communication author and a professor at the Nicholson School, on Creating Rules for Social Media Crises, followed by Brian Gray of the United Nations on Utilizing Social Media for Situational Awareness, were insightful and explored the changing context of crisis communication when considering merged media and social platforms.

Moreover, organizations such as NOAA, USCG, The Red Cross, and the United Nations are addressing and discussing the exact issues that businesses are grappling with: monitoring, tracking, verifying, responding, authenticity of messaging and most important, managing the flood of information received during a crisis situation.

Speakers from these organizations and others presented case studies that illustrated challenges and solutions, with actionable steps for adopting best practices.

I was delighted to meet the social media team from NOAA (I’m a fan), and found the Mitchell ICRCpresentations of Jerry Mitchell, Pulitzer finalist and reporter for the Clarion-Ledger, and Stan Polit, nationally recognized speaker and crisis communication scholar compelling.

There are far too many superior experts to list, but you may find a list of those who participated in the event on the ICRC website.

Firestorm was honored to facilitate, along with Ann SanCartier, founder of The Crisis Compass and previously a crisis manager for a major international airline, Case Study Live! An Interactive Tabletop Exercise with the entire group. The insights and responses from the group were energetic and revealing.

The campus of the University of Central Florida is a beautiful setting, and our conference convener, Dr. Robert C. Chandler, Professor of Communication and Director of the Nicholson School of Communication brought a diverse and knowledgeable group together. Our moderator, Timothy Brown, former broadcast reporter and current Associate Professor at the Nicholson School, was outstanding. Kudos as well to the event staff and conference planning teams; the program was exceptionally organized (and it never hurts to have a candy bar in the general break area).

The 2014 International Crisis & Risk Communication Conference is now calling for presentations. The theme will be The Human Element.

Firestorm will be there. Join us as we explore the human variable involved in a crisis.

If you would like Firestorm to facilitate Case Study Live! for your group or conference, please contact us.

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