Crisis Communication Characteristics & Errors: A Case Study

Martial Pasquier, Etienne Fivat


In 2006, events surrounding the University of Geneva led to the resignation of its executive board, and a political reform of the institution. This case constitutes a typical example of where a crisis is strengthened, and even created, by inappropriate information-management. Such situations, in which material damages and personal harm are generally quite limited, are increasingly frequent and have a particularly important impact on public trust in political and administrative institutions. The main aim of this paper is to identify the characteristics of this type of crisis, and errors linked to it from a media-communications perspective. This will be done through an analysis of publications in four different newspapers, as well as of official documents and statements from the period during which the crisis took place and in the months that followed.

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