Crisis Communication as a Pedagogical Method in Media & Communication Studies and in Journalism Studies in Norway
Peer reviewed, Chapter
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Crisis communication has been a regular topic in Media & Communication Studies and in Journalism Studies in Norway for many years. This article outlines experiences at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) with taking part in two large-scale anti-terror exercises in 2006 and 2012 in and around the Norwegian capital Oslo. The main organizers were The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning and The Norwegian Police Directorate. Students from The Department of Journalism and Media Studies at HiOA staffed online (intranet) newspapers to simulate “media pressure” on 40–50 key institutions with a total of 4,000-5,000 staff from all management levels right up to the Prime Minister’s office. The analysis and findings confirm that from the vantage point of a tertiary education institution, the benefits of taking part by far outweighed some drawbacks. Specifically, the exercises a) gave students first-hand experience in crisis communication and crisis management; b) have improved conceptually and take into account relevant crisis communication theory; c) reflect that Norway still has to come to terms with the tragic events of 22 July 2011 when 77 Norwegians were murdered by a Norwegian terrorist; d) suggest that many of the 40–50 organizations singled out to be trained in the exercises are still inadequately prepared for terror strikes.