see attachment
Unit III Mini Project
Submit a three-page (minimum 750 words) crisis communication plan outline. The plan can be for an organization of your choice. This is an outline for acrisiscommunicationplan and not a crisis plan. (You will use this outline to complete a plan in Unit VII.) The plan outline should, at a minimum, include the following items:
· The introduction should engage the reader in the crisis communication plan and clearly present a summary of the main points.
· Explain the purpose, scope and goal of the plan.
· Include assumptions or assumed situations, which is a result of assessing risk for your organization.
· Define expected audiences—both internal and external.
· Include a communication strategy.
· Include a concept of operations for communications.
· Discuss the human dynamics and communications aspects of the blame game and the resolution stages you plan to implement in your crisis communication plan.
· Assign tasks to key leaders and staff.
· Provide resource management details.
· Include planned scripts, which can be placed in an appendix.
Research sources to link your plan’s elements to theories, and support your ideas. You must include a minimum of two sources, at least one source from the CSU Online Library. The resources need to be in APA format.
LDR 5302, Crisis Communication Management 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit III
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
1. Explain the fundamental stages of a crisis.
1.1 Identify the human dynamics and communications aspects of the blame game and resolution
3. Recommend effective communication plans for implementation in various crisis situations.
3.1 Develop a crisis communication plan to address matters during a crisis.
Reading Assignment
To access the following resources, click the links below.
Barton, L. (1991). When managers find themselves on the defensive. Business Forum, 16(1), 8–13.
Brodsky, R. (2007). Overcoming Katrina. Government Executive, 39(8), 50–55.
Gainey, B. S. (2010). Crisis leadership for the new reality ahead. Journal of Executive Education, 9(1), 33–43.
Unit Lesson
We conclude our focus on Jordan-Meier’s (2011) four stages of media reporting with Unit III. As has been
discussed, how journalists pursue their profession and how the media reports events is foundational for crisis
communicators as they plan, arrange, and conduct crisis communications. In Unit II, we explored the first two
of Jordan-Meier’s four stages: (1) fact-finding and (2) unfolding drama. Here in Unit III, we will look at the last
two stages: (3) blame game and (4) resolution. Her media reporting model captures natural tendencies of
human societies as they pertain to researching events, public reporting, fact determination, and reflection on
what the gathered facts mean.
Blame Game
In labeling Stage 3 as the blame game, Jordan-Meier (2011) got right down to what most people observe as
a crisis unfolds: People blame others for culpability or naivety. Whether a family matter, an altercation
between a cashier and a customer, or an issue between businesses or public and governmental institutions,
blame can fix responsibility and help frustrations evolve into eventual justice by publicly showing who should
have known better.
Media Reporting During a Crisis II:
Stages III and IV
LDR 5302, Crisis Communication Management 2

As Jordan-Meier (2011) explained, people
have different opinions about the crisis.
Having learned the facts, they want to know
whose fault it is that the crisis occurred.
Feelings about an issue inevitably have been
generated and established before a crisis.
When a crisis commences, we can assume
related feelings about its issues already exist;
“I told you so” syndromes are rampant amid
these media reporting stages (Jordan-Meier,
2012). Also, of course, the facts of the crisis
can be broadcast as far as technology can
carry them (i.e., globally).
These, then, are the ingredients of the blame
game. The Stage 1 facts of the crisis are out
and still being confirmed, and the victims who
the crisis affected and actors who caused the
crisis are being determined in Stage 2. The
blame game captures the inevitable human trend and tendency of determining, at least provisionally, who
started or contributed to the problem.
The media plays a major role in establishing blame. This includes generally neutral journalists but also
editorial columnists and talk show stars. Then, there is the common word-of-mouth exchanged between
friends, family, and colleagues. Congress certainly plays the blame game as well. Congressional hearings are
a legislative function of this branch of government. They serve to determine facts, but they are also a part of
the checks and balances system within the U.S. government. Playing the blame game is not a trivial action,
though mostly the ramifications are greater in a national forum than in local gathering places.
Jordan-Meier’s model focuses
on media reporting.
Conventional media, however,
is rapidly being joined by self-
publishing media (e.g., blogs,
social media). Even the limited
character count on Twitter does
not faze many imaginative
subscribers or authors. The fact
that news is being
communicated by conventional
media but also by anyone with
computer access and a voiced
opinion is significant in Stage 3.
Conventional media journalists,
even if obliged to follow their
publisher’s political leanings,
generally take pride in the
professional integrity inherent
in their calling. This is not
always true of a private citizen
posting whatever he or she
feels like posting! Private
citizens with media access can
form opinions as they please, including casting blame without fair or just analysis as long as it follows their
world views. Thus, the blame game can pick up steam even when the conventional media is temporarily not
so engaged; the media can even be surprised by such a rapid turn of events. This is, in part, what is meant by
the term “the Internet exploded.” This dynamic of accusations coming from so many unexpected directions
compels crisis communicators to move quickly and effectively in delivering their critical messages.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip D. Murphy is interviewed by NDR TV at the
Consulate Booth in Wolfsburg, Germany, on July 6, 2011.
(Herold, 2011)
Pictured is an individual being interviewed by the media about a crisis.
(Usbotschaftberlin, 2014)
LDR 5302, Crisis Communication Management 3

An organization’s leaders and spokespeople must act quickly during a crisis that is moving through these
stages. Jordan-Meier (2012) gives the example of Domino’s. In 2009, the company had an issue when two
employees posted a YouTube video of themselves behaving poorly while in work uniforms. Domino’s leaders
initially disregarded the principle of speed and did not offer a public response for 48 hours. To the public, such
lack of communications indicated that either the organization was silently assenting to the conduct or that its
leaders did not know what to do. Either way, it was bad for the business. If Domino’s had immediately
addressed the issue by assuring the public of its dedication to quality customer service and by providing some
insight as to how the issue would be resolved, Domino’s could have shut down the crisis sooner.
Jordan-Meier’s last stage is
resolution. If nothing else
does, time will move a crisis
along in the minds of the
public. At some point, all
crises that are not reenergized
will end. Even a crisis that
leaves an organization
diminished through accurate
and strong doses of blame will
end as a social dynamic. The
public may get bored with the
rehashed details, the crisis
may be remediated, or it may
simply cease to worsen. Such
a crisis is resolved but only if it
is not re-triggered by a repeat
of events.
Sociologists may note that
resolution fulfills a human
need. Eventually, people tire
of a depressing topic covered
in exhausting detail, especially
if the topic generated hard
feelings, harm to others, or damage to materials and reputations. Sometimes, a civic leader can guide citizens
to a resolution (e.g., writing a thank-you note to those who helped in a crisis and sending it to be published in
the “Letters to the Editor” column within the community newspaper). In fact, you may see astute politicians
quickly recognizing a crisis unfolding in Stages 1 and 2 as facts are being sifted, which will be just enough
time for them to skillfully steer their constituents through Stages 3 and 4, minimizing damage to themselves
and their priorities. In such a case, getting a message out that establishes a Stage 4 resolution may be a very
strategic move.
There is an important professional and vocational aspect to Stage 4 resolution. Individuals and organizations
alike can learn from incidents if they are willing and agile enough to do so. Documented ideas of what
happened, the proximate or long-term causes, the impact on people and materials, and the lessons learned
can be collected, examined, and presented in public or closed-door forums, or both. Of course, an
organization’s leaders must show sufficient humility to meet the challenge of recognizing and internalizing
lessons learned. Pride, ego, fragile self-image, inability to gain and maintain a sense of situational awareness,
or even a measure of laziness may block any meaningful processing of what needs to change for next time,
but for a while, the opportunity is there to do so in a professional manner. Timeliness counts; a collection of
lessons learned 5 years after the crisis will not be recognized as meaningful to anyone unless all of the
pertinent details of the crisis were locked in litigation the entire time.
Resolution may slip from an organization’s grasp if the organization does not act and communicate quickly
enough for the public’s satisfaction. At some auspicious point in the crisis, government leaders might step in
and bring resolution by imposing new restrictions to prevent or mitigate a repeat of the crisis. This unfortunate
turn of events means that the business or lower-level government entity could have controlled some or all of
Engineer Mario Nicoleau (left) speaks with the project manager for the supervision of
rubble removal work in the Nazon neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 25,
(Helmer, 2011)
LDR 5302, Crisis Communication Management 4
the crisis closeout but did not. If a higher government authority intervenes, it is usually acting amid
widespread dissatisfaction that the organization cannot or will not act to prevent such crises.
A Wrap-Up of Jordan-Meier’s Stages
For the rest of the course, we will explore best practices of crisis communication in greater detail. After seeing
Jordan-Meier’s four stages of media reporting, along with the suggestions from authors in our readings to
date, we can start to frame a few good ideas. Jordan-Meier’s (2011) point is that seeing crises through the
framework of media reporting stages helps organizational leaders do message planning (i.e., what to say and
when) and action planning (i.e., what to do and when).
Leaders must quickly take
responsibility on behalf of the
organization. To do so requires
much of a leader and goes against
the instinct for self-preservation;
however, the idea is not to save
one’s self, at least not
unconditionally. If an organizational
act or omission was a proximate
cause of the crisis, and its leaders or
spokespeople do not own up to this
right away, the media and bulk of
public opinion will make the call, and
not in flattering terms or tone, as the
crisis reporting moves through
Stages 2 and 3. An organization’s
early and frank communication can
help to dispel rumors. An
organization does not necessarily
need to initiate communications by
explaining every aspect of the crisis
event; rather, communicating the
preferred message about the most
important aspects of the crisis is the
primary goal.
In the early stages (Stage 1, in particular), the designated spokesperson may be chosen to communicate
publicly instead of the senior leader/CEO/director. The leader and supporting staff may be conferring to reach
the best initial decisions. The “best” spokesperson may be an ordinary employee; in American culture, “Joe
Everyman/Jane Everywoman” is held with a high level of candor and trust (Jordan-Meier, 2012). On the other
hand, this is not the time for senior leadership to stay hidden from public view while holding endless meetings
that consume hours in the wake of the crisis. If this occurs, the media, stakeholders, and public will draw their
own conclusions about the organization and its leaders. If the organization has no plan for crises and crisis
communications, or the plan does not cover the particular crisis being dealt with, everyone will be able to
recognize this based on the organization’s response time. In any case, it is time to begin collecting lessons
learned and to continue to do so as the crisis proceeds (Barton, 1991).
The spokespeople and their leaders should use contemporary ways to get communications out, and this
includes social media. They should be speaking at press conferences, e-mailing or personally speaking to
organizational members and close stakeholders (e.g., clients, suppliers), updating their web and social media
pages, and printing messages if this is a promising alternative in the plan. The organization must demonstrate
that it is in touch with today’s society. It is a frequent (and often justified) charge that an organization’s
leaders, usually being senior in age and experience to their employees and much of the public, have grown
out of touch.
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki responds to questions in a Twitter Q
and A on U.S. foreign policy at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.,
on April 21, 2014.
(U.S. Department of State, 2014)
LDR 5302, Crisis Communication Management 5
Organizations must
frame the crisis in their
own terms. This defends
against malicious actors
who always want to
frame the crisis in a way
that is hostile to the
organization. Planning
and communicating the
truth as seen from the
organization’s point of
view also reprioritizes
what should be of most
concern. A promising
approach is to start by
noting the organizational
or stakeholder “heroes”
who prevented the crisis
from escalating (Jordan-
Meier, 2012).
The legal advisor on the
organization’s staff, often
a practicing lawyer, is a
valuable member of the
staff; however, legal advice should not be the greatest influence in crafting plans and making decisions when
responding to a crisis. Legal advice does become extremely important if looming litigation stemming from the
crisis is such a large threat that the organization’s future is at stake; however, at other times, leaders should
resist a legal advisor who says that no one should communicate during a crisis. Someone must do something
in regard to communications; otherwise, the public, assisted by the media, will draw their own unfavorable
conclusions about the organization in the wake of the crisis.
The lessons gathered for collective learning should reflect professionalism. What worked well? Was it luck, or
did the organization do these things effectively? What did not work out? What can the organization plan,
resource, or execute better? Organizational members hold their job security and reputations in high regard.
Accordingly, the gathering and presentation of lessons learned should be impartial and should not punish
candor. To this end, the lessons learned platform should avoid “throwing someone under the bus” unless
culpability is so glaringly obvious that it was a part of the public’s perception of the crisis. In such a case, job
termination or less severe disciplinary measures concerning an unfortunate organizational member may have
already occurred. For the bulk of the members and stakeholders, the lessons learned from the crisis should
be an opportunity for professional growth, which can strengthen the organization for future challenges. The
lessons may even be suitable for public release. Regardless, it is definitely time to revise the crisis plan with
the lessons learned! During this time, leaders should show optimism; everyone wants to be believe the best
days are ahead for the organization.
Barton, L. (1991). When managers find themselves on the defensive. Business Forum, 16(1), 8–13.
Helmer, K. (2011). USAID engineer [Photograph]. Flickr.
USAID engineer
Deputy Secretary of State Antony “Tony” Blinken addresses reporters at the Ukraine Crisis
Media Center in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 6, 2015.
(U.S. Department of State, 2015)
LDR 5302, Crisis Communication Management 6

Herold, H. (2011). Ambassador Murphy is interviewed by NDR TV [Photograph]. Flickr.
Ambassador Murphy Is Interviewed By NDR TV

Jordan-Meier, J. (2011). Crisis management. Leadership Excellence Essentials, 28(8).
Jordan-Meier, J. (2012). You cannot control a crisis: You can control your response. Communication World,
29(6), 20–23.
Usbotschaftberlin. (2014). IMG_9024 [Photograph]. Flickr.
U.S. Department of State. (2014). Spokesperson Psaki responds to #askJen questions [Photograph]. Flickr.
Spokesperson Psaki Responds to #AskJen Questions
U.S. Department of State. (2015). Deputy Secretary Blinken addresses reporters at the Ukraine Crisis Media
Center [Photograph]. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/16112346744/in/photolist-
Suggested Reading
To access the following resource, click the link below.
The article linked below focuses on the responsibility of an organization to communicate information during
crisis management. Accurate and appropriate information must be communicated in a timely manner to
minimize the damage caused due to the mishandling of a crisis. Stages of crisis handling discussed in the
article involve focusing on the cause of the incident, generating a response to the crisis, and avoiding the
blame game.
Jordan-Meier, J. (2012). You cannot control a crisis: You can control your response. Communication World,
29(6), 20–23.

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