How social media has changed the reporting of crisis events

November 10, 2016 by Jonathan Hemus

Every major crisis, whether a product recall, major accident or allegations of corporate fraud, has a social media element these days. This dynamic has presented a new challenge as organisations engage in crisis management planning and crisis management training.

Social media has also had a dramatic impact on how traditional media outlets have reported breaking news. We talked to more than thirty journalists, reporters and correspondents around the world who break news every day on TV, radio, in print and, of course, online to get their views on the impact of social media. 

Trends in crisis management response

Key trends which reporters identified included:

  • The speed at which stories break and the pressure this imposes on traditional media outlets 
  • Increased pace and fierce media competition make accuracy and quality of reporting increasingly challenging
  • Social media makes it much easier for reporters to access sources (official and unofficial) and content (interviewees, images, video)
social media reporting of crisis events

Influencing the media narrative

Their advice to organisations who want to retain influence over the media narrative was revealing:

Adapt your crisis communication protocols to meet the needs of a social media age. 

Use social media to:

  • Communicate more quickly
  • Communicate more frequently
  • Provide richer content
  • Engage in dialogue rather than broadcasting messages
  • Adopt an appropriate tone of voice

A full copy of the research report can be downloaded below.