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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Crisis Communications
Module Code CM596
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Martin Molony
Semester 2: Martin Molony
Autumn: Martin Molony
Module TeachersMartin Molony
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

To provide students with: An understanding of the need for effective communication in an emergency; The skills necessary to communicate effectively with the media, with other agencies and within their organisation.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify communication priorities in managing a crisis situation;
2. Evaluate media coverage of a crisis;
3. Contribute effectively to their organisation s communications strategy;
4. Develop and implement a crisis communications strategy;
5. Develop and manage effective internal communications;
6. Develop and manage effective relationships with journalists;
7. Deal effectively with impromptu media queries;
8. Communicate key messages in concise and effective manner;
9. Have an awareness of interview techniques.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture10Instruction element of in-class sessions
Seminars15Workshop element of in-class sessions
Assignment Completion8Case Study Assignment
Assignment Completion8Group Project
Online activity24Use of course-related material on Moodle
Independent Study60General research and reading
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Communications Planning
Communications in the pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis / continuity periods of a crisis.

Communications Strategies
Crisis communications & communication management strategies.

The Communications Plan
Preparing a crisis communications plan.

Internal Communications
Effective internal communications.

Publics and Stakeholders
Identifying - and planning for - all the publics of an organisation.

News Media Priorities
Understanding the priorities of the media in a crisis or emergency.

Managing Media Relations
Creating, maintaining and developing relatinoships with the media.

Ethics of communications and the media

Case Studies
Case studies in emergency communications.

Presentation & Interview Skills
Presentation skills and interview techniques for media relations.

Press Releases
Press / media releases and media conferences.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayCrisis Communications Case Study60%Week 6
Practical/skills evaluationCrisis Communications Simulation Exercise40%Sem 1 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Carty, F. X. (Ed): 1995, From John Paul to Saint Jack, Public Relations in Ireland, Able Press, Dublin,
  • Cutlip, Scott & Center, Allen: 2006, Effective Public Relations, 9th edition, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey,
  • Czarnecki, Al: 2007, Crisis Communications: A Primer for Teams,, iUniverse, Lincoln, NE,
  • Devlin, Edward S.: 2006, Crisis Planning Management & Execution, Auerbach,
  • Fernandez, L. & Merzer, M.: 2003, Jane s Crisis Communications Handbook, Jane's Information Group, Surrey,
  • Gillis, Tamara (Ed): 2006, IABC Handbook of Organisational Communication, Jossey-Bass, Hoboken, NJ,
  • Gunning, Ellen: 2007, Public Relations – a practical approach, 2nd edition, Gill & McMillan, Dublin,
  • Jefkins, F.: 2001, Public Relations Techniques, 2nd edition, Buttersworth Heinemann, Oxford,
  • Millar, Dan P. & Smith, Larry L.: 2002, Crisis Management and Communication, International Association of Business Communicators, San Francisco,
  • Noll, A. Michael (Ed): 2003, Crisis Communications: Lessons from September 11th, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, MD,
  • Potter, Lester R.: 2001, The Communication Plan, International Association of Business Communicators, San Francisco,
  • Smith, Pamela & Mounter, Lynn: 2005, Effective Internal Communication, Kogan Page, London,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MSEMMSc in Emergency Management
Date of Last Revision08-FEB-10

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