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Communication and Crisis Paper

Read the following scenario:
•In 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor malfunctioned, releasing radiation into the environment. There were no immediate deaths or injuries resulting from the incident; however, the accident drew much media attention and created concerns in the local area and beyond. The major forms of communication used to report these events were the three major television networks and local radio stations.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area and immersed a significant part of the city in water. Local citizens and their families were affected. In contrast to the Three Mile Island incident, newer communication technologies, such as the Internet, were used to disseminate information.

Today, you are the director of a regional Emergency Management Office. You begin receiving official reports that the public water supplies of several towns in the area have become contaminated with a life-threatening biological agent. Contingency plans must be addressed within the organization and with the public without creating a panic.

Include the following:
•The individuals or groups that will be communicating inside and outside the organization during this crisis situation
•Potential advantages and challenges associated with communicating within the organization and with the public and private sectors during this crisis situation
•Differences in communication processes used in crisis situations, including what you learned from the situations in the scenario and how you might incorporate that knowledge to improve health care communication strategies
•Appropriate technology, such as social media, affecting communication during the crisis situation and how these technologies may be used to enhance communication
•How technology might be used differently now than it was during the crisis situations described in the scenario
•Media opportunities during this management crisis

Solution Preview

The primary director will be the person responsible for heading the response team that will be in charge of managing the crisis situation. This is the "Team Leader", which will be followed by other pertinent positions that are mandated on the team such as Media Director in charge of managing the response to the media, Safety Manager, Legal Counsel, Web Manager, and the Spokesperson for the department that will speak to the media. Once the crisis has begun, the information officer must develop a Description and Checklist of what responsibilities will be delegated to those in the appropriate positions on the crisis management team. Every function will be required to have a checklist for when the actions they are responsible for carrying out during the response must be implemented and activated. This will be considered the operational functioning of the crisis response and will require mobilization during the crisis as well as demobilization following the successful resolution to the crisis. This is followed by an expansion of these responsibilities if the crisis increases in necessity wherein more people are affected by the biological agent that is in the water supply.

If the crisis can't be immediately controlled or addressed, and it increases in its complexity and/or size, the appropriation of key information activities may need to be divided into functional areas with those most capable of responding to the complexity and diversity of the workload given the larger and more complex roles within the crisis response team. The media Spokesperson will probably be given the task of identifying the most pertinent issues that need to be given to the public, and therefore, he or she could benefit from being given a quick review of speaking tips, especially if they have not had sufficient time to prepare for a public statement. This will assist the spokesperson in preparing for any public interview. In addition, the spokesperson should also be provided with a News Conference/Media Briefing Planning Checklist prior to arranging a media briefing or news conference.

The World Health Organization has given instructions on how to specifically respond to an infectious disease outbreak or biological threat to humans. The specific instructions entail crisis response ...

Solution Summary

Communication and Crisis Paper