Ward-Johnson Article is Cover Story in The Public Relations Strategist

An article by Frances Ward-Johnson, associate professor in the School of Communications, is the lead story in the latest issue of The Public Relations Strategist, the award-winning publication of the Public Relations Society of America.

Ward-Johnson’s article, which appears in the magazine’s crisis issue, details an in-person interview she held with Larry Hincker, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s leading spokesperson and associate vice president of the Office of University Relations. Hincker was charged with providing answers and managing the crisis of April 16 when the university became the site of the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history after Seung-Hui Cho went on a rampage, murdering 32 fellow students and faculty members and wounding 25 others before killing himself.

Throughout the interview, Hincker, who has been responsible for the university’s marketing, public relations, institutional positioning and branding since 1989, revealed how he and his staff handled a crisis that made headlines around the world, including dealing with the more than 400 reporters from worldwide media outlets who descended on the campus after the shootings. Hincker also discussed being sensitive to students’ and community needs during the crisis as well as preserving the seemingly indomitable Hokie spirit.


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