Media Exchange conference explores crisis communication

Students benefit from debate

Examination of the critical need for effective crisis communication at the 20th Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism session in St. Thomas was explored by experienced Caribbean communications professional and trainer Johnson JohnRose.

A number of best practices in crisis communication were shared by Mr. JohnRose with participants of the 10th anniversary symposium in the United States Virgin Islands, which took place from 1-5 December.

JohnRose, an award-winning journalist and the communications officer for the umbrella Caribbean Tourism Organisation, trains college students, journalists and industry professionals in simple, yet effective communications techniques.

Examining the theme “Communicating for Clarity and Prosperity” at Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort of JohnRose brought his 25 years of communications experience to a panel with New York University research analyst Patrick Canavan and Caribbean Media Exchange Vice President Lelei LeLaulu.

Media presentation

They presented to leaders from the media, tourism, government, academia and civil society and explored ways in which sustainable tourism can enhance education, the environment, culture, health and wealth of the Caribbean.

“Effective communication is key to all of these areas,” Mr. Canavan said.

“A crisis – and effective or ineffective crisis communication – can affect all of them. A crisis can come in the form of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tsunami, or a man-made accident, such as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year,” he said.

“No matter the form it takes, this much is clear: a crisis can strike an organisation at any time. How an organisation communicates its response can often make or break its reputation.”

Mr. Canavan is part of a team from the award-winning New York University programme in public relations and corporate communications travelling to St. Thomas to discuss communication best practices, including media relations and social media.

University partnership

Robert Noltenmeier, clinical assistant professor in the NYU programme said this was the fourth semester the university had partnered with Caribbean Media Exchange.

“The knowledge students gain working with regional communication issues and with institutions, businesses and individuals involved will serve them well in their careers – and we hope serve Caribbean Media Exchange and the Caribbean area well,” he said.

New York University’s graduate programme in public relations and corporate communication is offered through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The academically rigorous program, which was named PR Program of the Year by PRWeek in 2009 and 2010, stresses a practitioner-oriented curriculum that focuses on mastering skills in research, strategic planning, written and oral communication, social media, measurement, and ethical leadership. Faculty members are noted scholars and world-class practitioners who have led communications practices at some of the largest companies and agencies in the world.

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