Lucinda Austin continues exploration of ethical crisis communications
The School of Communications assistant professor authored a guest blog for the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, discussing her research and how public relations professionals can enhance media relationships in times of crisis.
By Brett Gubitosi ’16
Assistant Professor Lucinda Austin in the School of Communications authored a guest blog post, titled “Improving media relationships in times of organizational crisis,” about her published research on crisis communications for the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, a research center at the Penn State College of Communications. The center is dedicated to the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication and other forms of public communication.
The assistant professor’s blog post explains the research and theory behind her Public Relations Journal article, “Approaching Ethical Crisis Communication with Accuracy and Sensitivity: Exploring Common Ground and Gaps between Journalism and Public Relations.” The article suggests that public relations professionals can enhance media relationships in times of crisis through providing more complete, timely and accurate information to media professionals.
A key question the blog and journal article highlights is: How should crisis communicators (i.e., both media professionals and public relations practitioners) address crisis situations or issues when multiple stakeholders are involved and their ethical principles are in conflict with each other?
“Public relations practitioners can utilize common ground shared with media professionals in crisis coverage to build mutually beneficial and trusting relationships with media professionals,” Austin wrote. “Specifically, in providing crisis information regarding the organization, public relations practitioners must show respect to multiple stakeholders involved, who might or might not have shared interests or whose goals might even be in conflict with each other.”
The journal article, co-authored by Austin and Yan Jin of the University of Georgia, was originally published in May. The research was funded by the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Pennsylvania State University.