Using the University Website to Communicate Crisis Information

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Description: Following the tragic events at Virginia Tech this spring, universities began to take a closer look at how they could communicate with students quickly when a crisis occurs. Text-messaging systems and mass emailing have been discussed, and in some cases, implemented. In research on the dialogic public practices found in community college Web sites, emphasized the importance of providing feedback opportunities through Web sites to build relationships with publics. In crisis communication, this might be represented by online chat facilities where members of the university community can ask questions and receive answers about the crisis and blogs, where people can share their thoughts and even photos. Effective crisis response is only possible with planning and proper use of all communication tools at the university's disposal, including its Web site. Not only can it prepare publics before a crisis and provide guidance to them throughout a crisis, but it can help them cope following a crisis and be a relationship builder for the organization.
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