Dr. Ian Rae Web Story:  

As part of my internship at King’s University College, I covered the lecture of Dr. Ian Rae and the importance of a rare collection of books in the Weldon Library at Western University. Hard Copy attached. Live website story found at this link:


Fact Sheet:

A fact sheet is a communications tool that lists all the key information, facts, and figures around a particular topic.  For this assignment, a fact sheet was created for a non-existent organization and elaborate on any topic. The design was optional.



A newsletter is a printed or electronic report containing news concerning the activities of a business or an organization that is sent to its members, customers, employees or other subscribers. For this assignment, a Newsletter was created for the Grand Theatre London with a donate call to action.

Research Paper:

The Importance of Social Media in Crisis Communication



The research that will be conducted throughout this report intends to investigate the importance of social media in crisis communication. Has social media been used in past crises? How social media has affected the crises while happening? It is important to investigate the role social media played in the past and how it can be used in the future. This paper will include scholarly informative articles and research papers of past students asking the same questions.

Keywords: social media, crisis communication, dissemination, publics

The Importance of Social Media in Crisis Communication

Social media started around the year 2007. Crises before then were handled in different manners. Since the beginnings of social media in the early 2000s people started contributing content on the different social media platforms. This user-generated content impacts society. People share information quicker than ever before.


Literature Review

Examining the Role of Social Media in Effective Crisis Management:  The Effects of Crisis Origin, Information Form, and Source on Publics’ Crisis Responses.

This article analyzes how publics use social media during a crisis. The findings indicate three important factors: (1) how publics use media (2) identify the source involved in the crisis, and (3) which crisis emotions are exposed after the events. This data is critical to identify the role social media plays, how it impacts the publics, and how public relations crisis managers can use social media as a tool.


The Role of Social Media in Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

This report identifies four roles social media plays in crisis management. These are (1) information dissemination, (2) disaster planning and training, (3) collaborative problem solving and decision making, and (4) information gathering. This paper researched how government and other organizations used social media and its roles for crisis management. An in-depth exploration will be conducted on how these roles can affect crisis management and its publics.


Social Media and Crisis Communication: Are organizations using social media during times of crisis?

This paper considers the primary research of public relations practitioners in the state of Indiana, USA, and how they used social media for communications. This paper analyzes which social media platforms were most used and how they were used to establish two-way communication with the stakeholders. The findings of this research are interesting to review to identify possible good practices of public relations professionals, as well as identifying the social media platforms that are most efficient in crisis communication.


Online Social Media in Crisis Events

This article written by Leysia Palen in 2008 examines how social media in its early beginnings affected the communication of different events. Events like the Virginia Tech incident and the 2007 wildfires in California. How social media, back then, started to influence the dissemination of information in the moments of crisis. Lessons learned throughout this period will be identified through the writings of this article.


Effects of misleading media coverage on public health crisis: a case of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

This journal article identifies how the coronavirus epidemic attracted social media attention and how misleading racial comments were made and affected the Chinese population. This paper highlights the potential impact on discrimination and country image. The research of this paper will provide insights into how the misleading use of social media has harmful effects during crises.



The research method utilized is searching through scholarly papers published online. How social media impacts current crises and how it impacts society are the two main questions for research.


Results and Discussion

According to Jin et al. (2014), only 29% of U.S. companies have a clear social media policy, and public relations practitioners do not believe social media is as credible as regular mainstream media, but the findings suggest that corporations no longer have a choice. Their only choice is to use social media as a tool to communicate with their publics.

In the early days, influential bloggers were asked to communicate messages in crises, and bloggers were converted to social media content creators. During the Virginia Tech campus crisis in April 2007, students from a journalism class were reporting live through a website as events unfolded. CNN.com noted that and released the information about the students’ online activities. Social media sites listed the names of the victims before the university did.

During the 2007 California wildfires, research showed that 38% of people looked for news and information in alternative blogs, 15% accessed forums, 10% accessed photo-sharing sites like Flickr or Picasa, and only 10% used Twitter. First responders needed information and felt they lacked it and needed it.  Traditional media was seen as problematic and respondents needed accurate information.  Some people became “information brokers” while they used community-based web forums to communicate about road closures, fire line encroachments, shelter openings, etc. Social media started to surge as a new practice to report events from 2004 to 2007, like the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the California wildfires, Virginia Tech shootings, etc.  (Palen, 2008) Seven years later, the use of Facebook and Twitter instead of community blogs are preferred methods (Jin et al., 2014).  Facebook and Twitter were also found to be the most used social media tool used by public relations practitioners in the state of Indiana, according to the survey conducted by Colleen Ward. The ability of those platforms to inform their stakeholders quickly was the most noted effect by social media users. (Ward, 2011) The main social media functions are described as 1) information dissemination, 2) disaster planning and training, 3) collaborative problem solving and decision making, and 4) information gathering, all these are linked to the crisis management phases of preparedness, response, and recovery.  Social media platforms can be used to promote crisis communications. Social media channels can be used by governments and non-governmental organizations for crisis preparedness, crisis response, and crisis recovery. (Chan, n.a.)

On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global epidemic due to the recent novel coronavirus outbreak in China.  However, some western media outlets inappropriately declared the epidemic using headlines like “Chinese virus pandemonium.” This made Chinese living outside of China very stressed.  Chinese living outside their country were attacked in public.  Therefore, the misuse of social media outlets created racial discrimination and damaged the reputation of the country. However, social media did have also an important use during this crisis in China.  The dissemination of situational information on the Weibo platform.  This platform is the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.  Seven types of information were found during the propagation of information.  These are: 1) caution and advice, 2) notifications and measures, 3) donations of goods, money, or services 4) emotional support, 5) Help-seeking, 6) Doubt casting and criticizing 7) counter-rumor.  It is important to understand the different strategies for different types of situational information.  Non-situational information is information considered not related to the crisis.  The definitions of situational information types will be useful to public relations practitioners who build social-media-based programs and crisis information systems.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Social media is a tool that cannot be denied its relevance in today’s world.  We are living now a pandemic that is showing us how information flows in different manners and through different platforms.  The current public relations practitioner should always have social media in mind to communicate to its publics taking advantage of the benefits of easy propagation.  However, the message should be crafted with care and caution not to cause false information or fear.

Further research is needed to verify other useful ways to use social media for crisis preparedness, response, and recovery. Platforms change and their audiences change as well.  This research is limited to the information found in scholarly papers. However, when crafting a message to disseminate during a crisis, a review of the platform’s audience demographics, matching characteristics of the organization’s publics, and consideration of the type of message to be delivered are factors that should be remembered by the public relations practitioner.



Chan, J. C. (n.a.). The Role of Social Media in Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

Jin, Y., Fisher Liu, B., & Austin, L. L. (2014). Examining the Role of Social Media in Effective Crisis Management: The Effects of Crisis Origin, Information Form, and Source on Publics’ Crisis Responses.

Li et al. (2020). “Characterizing the Propagation of Situational Information in Social Media During COVID-19 Epidemic: A Case Study on Weibo,” in IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems.

Palen, L. (2008). Online Social Media in Crisis Events

Ward, C. (2011). Social Media and Crisis Communication: Are organizations using social media during times of crisis?

Wen, J., Aston, J., Liu, X., & Ying, T. (2020). Effects of misleading media coverage on public health crisis: a case of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China.


Personal Opinion Assignment:

As an assignment for writing class, a written personal opinion on how Samsung handled the crisis of the Galaxy 7.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Crisis

During 2016, Samsung experienced one of its most difficult reputation crises due to the failure of the batteries in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. These batteries caught fire and caused safety problems for its users.

Samsung’s first reaction was to change the supplier of the batteries and replace the devices. (Comm, 2016)

Unfortunately, this did not work. The new devices with replaced batteries showed the same issue. Note 7s started to catch fire in airplanes and were immediately banned from U.S. flights.

When they realized the magnitude of the problem they were facing, they agreed to recall all Galaxy Notes from the market.

Samsung lost an estimated $5.3 billion in the recall, but they saw an opportunity to improve quality assurance. (Lopez, 2017) Samsung established a series of tests to make sure this would never happen again.

Samsung accepted responsibility when they decided to recall. Taking the blame ended up saving the company; salvaging a reputation for its brand.

Public Relations’ main focus should be building the relationship between a company or organization and its publics. Clients are end-users of Samsung’s products.

Therefore, Samsung cared about its relationship with its customers when they decided to pull out the product from the market.

According to business2community.com, reputation management is the most important facet of Public Relations. (Spilka, 2019) Companies are searching online daily about their reputation. In a world where social media users become observers, commenters, and readers, social media has become an unmanageable beast. Organizations have no control over what people can comment online.

Monitoring what was being said, Samsung made a good but expensive decision by recalling the Galaxy Note 7.

Now, Samsung manages its reputation by making sure an event like this does not repeat. They have learned from the crisis. According to businessinsider.com, during 2017 Samsung had a recovery of 9% in brand valuation despite the crisis. (Dua, 2017)

Acknowledging the overheating of the batteries and a final recall, built a reputation of responding to their clients and made the “Samsung Crisis” a case for the study of crisis management.

It would be difficult to say they could have reacted in a different manner. They tried to replace the batteries at fault but had no idea this tactic would not work. Companies are run by human beings who are not perfect in the decision-making process. Samsung was smart in withdrawing all Note 7s as soon as they could.


Comm, J. (2016, October 21). The Most Important Lesson From The Samsung Note 7 Smartphone Crisis. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.inc.com/joel-comm/what-todo-when-your-product-explodes-in-your-customers-hands.html

Dua, T. (2017, October 6). From a ‘cultural meme’ to a comeback kid: How Samsung overcame its Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/how-samsung-overcame-its-galaxy-note-7-fiasco-2017-10

Lopez, M. (2017, January 23). Samsung Explains Note 7 Battery Explosions And Turns Crisis Into Opportunity. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/maribellopez/2017/01/22/samsung-reveals-cause-of-note-7-issueturns-crisis-into-opportunity/#478e578024fl

Spilka, D., Dmytro, & Spilka, D. (n.d.). Why Reputation Management Has Become the Most Important Facet of Public Relations. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.business2community.com/public-relations/why-reputation-management-hasbecome-the-most-important-facet-of-public-relations-02191214

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