Title: CRISIS COMMUNICATION: Principles and Practice
Author: Onyebuchi J. Nnorom
Year Published: 2007
Reviewer: Image Merchants
Publisher: Royal Rock Ventures
No of pages: 86
This is a book that helps to do it right! A handbook for information managers, public relations practitioners, media relations officers and anybody that is interested in crisis management.
As they say crisis presupposes a time of great danger, difficulty or uncertainty, which requires timely strategies and decisive action to solve the problems. It is this stage of development in any given environment or organization that officers concerned prove their ingenuity and ability to weather the storm. It is those actions that are judged by publics on the strength and weakness of an organization at crisis period. Therefore the role of spokespersons in deploying effective communication at any period is imperative because he serves as a bridge between the organization the ‘publics’.
The author, Onyebuchi J. Nnorom is an Information Officer in the Federal Ministry of Information & Communications. His first published work was an anthology of poems titled “Dark Moon”. However this new book “Crisis Communication: Principles and Practice” is about the handling of crisis communication in a crisis situation. It stands out on its own as one of practical material that captures and espouses guidelines for effective crisis communication by highlighting the issues to be considered before, during and after crisis. It further deals with crisis communication plans; formation of internal and external teams; role of the spokespersons as well as those involved in ensuring that crisis is resolved.
In fact it is here that the relationship between the spokesperson and the media are better buttressed. Journalists play major roles through their platform, which the spokesperson uses in mitigating crises. This is a situation that further indicates the importance of media relations. The book is indeed sufficiently packaged as a companion to government officials, public relations practitioners and journalists as well as students.
Commenting on the book in the foreword, the former Assistant Secretary-General of Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Charles Ojugbana writes that “this book provides a brief orientation and persecutive on the media and how the media think and work. It gives a concise knowledge on the techniques for responding to and cooperating with the media and how it conveys information. It generates insights to the method of delivery of messages, before, during and after a crisis”.
As one opens Onyebuchi J. Nnorom’s book, he or she is regaled with a brief introduction into the modern practice of communication and subsequently of crisis. The thought is presented in eight well-researched chapters. The first chapter Communication examined what communication entails as an insight to the area of communication, in order to enhance the understanding and relationship to crisis communication, which is the focus of the book. The following chapters include: Crisis Communication, Communicating in a Crisis, Crisis Communication Strategies, Crisis Communication Plan, Understanding, Working and Communication with the Media, Enhancing Media Relationships and Ethical Perspectives in Crisis Communication.
Chapter one introduces the reader to the concept, definition, meanings as well as the importance of communication. Chapter Two introduces the reader to crisis communication, its elements and the dos-and-don’ts in a crisis. Chapter three highlights the factors to be considered while communicating in a crisis, guidelines for effective communication as well as basic steps to crisis communications. Going further, chapter four, five and six discuss crisis communication strategies, plan and understanding, working and communicating with the media. The shortest chapter perhaps in the book is chapter seven which points out how to enhance media relationships while chapter eight looks at the ethical perspectives in crisis communication. The bibliography provides references to major works the author consulted in the course of this extensively researched project.
It is necessary to add here that the author also highlights journalistic questions in a crisis in his “Frequently Asked Questions” as expounded by V. T. Covello.
It is inspiring to note that this is another commendable work coming out from a civil servant. It is not an easy task to write in this terrain, but when a busy public officer sacrifices his leisure hours to churn educative and informative literatures, such act of defiance to the norm need the supports of all and sundry. How he combines his very demanding schedules in the office and the actual writing of the book is one thing many people have not been able to fathom. Mr. J. Nnorom, popularly nicknamed ‘Prince Toro’ is a pride to civil service… a pride to public relations profession … a pride to community of literati and a pride to our dear nation.
I congratulate and commend Onyebuchi J. Nnorom for giving fellow Nigerians an opportunity to share this area of knowledge so overlooked but extremely important in our daily business lives, governance and the corporate world. There are lessons for media and public relations practitioners, the academicians, public servants especially information officers, and the general public in this book which focuses on an issue often trivialized by principals of various institutions. This book should therefore be read for those lessons it offers.