Information or Influence?

  • Crisis Communications and the Government of Alberta’s COVID-19 Press Briefings

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  • This capstone examines Alberta’s weekly COVID-19 press briefings through the lens of crisis communications. These weekly press briefings were the main vehicle through which the province’s premier and chief medical officer of health relayed pandemic-related information and directives to the Alberta public. Through the use of thematic content and text analysis, this study explores and identifies evidence of crisis communication principles in the remarks of these two speakers. The research relies extensively on the theoretical framework of Coombs (2007, 2015, 2020) and Coombs and Holladay’s (1996) crisis communication and situational crisis communications theories. This study found strong evidence of adherence to crisis communication throughout the briefings. Crisis communication principles are reflected through information and narrative frames, specific reputation management tactics, and relevant, role-specific terms in each speaker’s addresses. The findings of this capstone contribute modestly toward further discussions on managing communications in longer-term crisis scenarios.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International