A Lesson Learned from Crisis Communication Strategies: President George W. Bush on Recovery after Hurricane Katrina

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The most challenging part of crisis communication management is reacting quickly--with the right response to the public or audience you are addressing. This is because behavior always precedes communication. Non-behavior or inappropriate behavior leads to spin, not communication. This action can result in failure to reach or affect your audience favorably. In this text, I will examine President George W. Bush’s speech to the nation on the Hurricane Katrina crisis and the communication strategies- apologia, compassion and bolstering-that were used in his address. I will analyze the success of the President use of image restoration in reaching his public from the responses and comments expressed by the individuals who were affected by the disaster. This analysis can be helpful to the public relations profession in providing meaningful, strategic advice, which can help avoid negative career-defining moments.


Keywords: Crisis Communication, Image Restoration, Hurricane Katrna
Stream: Representations: Media, Communications, Arts, Literature
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Katrice Townsend

Graduate Student, Department of Communication, Wayne State University
Southfield, Michigan, USA

Katrice Townsend is a Graduate Communication student at Wayne State University and a Research Process Coordinator at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work. Her research interests include response interpretation of communication strategies as well as youth and elderly participation strategies and community-based participatory evaluation and research. She has participated in numerous research efforts including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a national teaching assessment program for scholars. More recently she has served on the Wayne State University Youth Advisory Board and was involved in a nationwide youth volunteer participation program whose mission is to expand the impact of the youth service movement with communities, schools, corporations, and governments.

Ref: D08P0134