Author(s)

Salita Demary

Date Approved

10-10-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Public Relations

Department

Public Relations/Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

FitzGerald, Suzanne

Subject(s)

Social media; Product recall

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

Crisis managers are constantly striving to find the best media outlets to reach the public in the event of a crisis or emergency and still maintain good public reputation. This researcher uses the food industry to examine the impact social media is having on the way the public is gathering news. This researcher will also study generational divides and how news gathering preferences differ among generational groups. This study also investigates the impact social media use has on organizational reputation in a crisis. A focus group and content analysis will serve as this study's qualitative measures and a surveymonkey.com survey will function as the primary quantitative measure. These instruments will measure reputation, opinions regarding social media, and news gathering preferences overall and generationally. Social media is a tool currently being widely used and explored by communications professionals. Harnessing its power for potentially life threatening situations such as food product recalls could save lives and spare businesses severe monetary repercussions and reputation damage.

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