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News archive

You can find the latest news (since 2015) of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication in our news archive.

Terrorist groups on the Internet

To what extent do terrorist groups make use of the Internet? Does it offer new communication tools? And do the groups also employ social media in order to disseminate their ideologies? Dr. Liane Rothenberger, member of IRGoCC and senior researcher at the Institute of Media and Communication Science, Ilmenau University of Technology, tackles these questions in her article „Terrorist Groups: Using Internet and Social Media for Disseminating Ideas. New Tools for Promoting Political Change“.
You can download the full text in issue no. 3 “Public Relations and Social Media” of the Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations at


No comment is the worst: Interview with Andreas Schwarz about research-based guidelines for effective crisis communication in the entrepreneur magazine ‘Die News’

Ilmenau, October 12, 2012. Since September more than 10,000 children and teachers suffered from mysterious diarrhea with vomiting in the eastern part of Germany. It is only recently that the cause of this disease has been clarified by the Robert Koch Institute. The reaction of the involved catering company Sodexo demonstrated once more that many organizations, even big multinational corporations, lack a professional understanding of crisis communication. At the beginning of the crisis, Sodexo denied any responsibility and did not show any noticeable understanding and compassion for the victims and their medical condition. Currently, the public attorney's office has started investigating the case and the company hesitantly started to offer compensation to the victims.
The most typical causes for this pattern of dysfunctional crisis communication are the lack of preparation, the lack of insight into the latest research and the lack of professional support in the acute crisis. Some basic guidelines for an effective research-based approach to crisis communication were explained by Andreas Schwarz, managing director of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication at Ilmenau University of Technology, in an interview with the entrepreneur magazine ‘Die News’ (issue 12/2012). The magazine is read by more than 20,000 owners and CEOs of medium-sized businesses in Germany.
The complete interview can be downloaded here (pdf).


New Book: Crisis Management

Adrian Teetz, associate member of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication, published a new guide on organizational crisis management

Ilmenau, September 10, 2012. With his new book "Crisis management: Rational decision, act decisively, communicate clearly" the strategy and organization consultant Teetz published an instrument for analysis, evaluation, and management of urgent organizational crises. Based on interdisciplinary knowledge, the guide should equip managers with knowledge to decide quickly and rationally under difficult conditions: What should organizational crisis managers pay attention to? How do stakeholders behave in a crisis? How and through what instruments should organization respond publicly to crises? What are the typical problems when dealing with crises and how can crises be avoided in the future?
Adrian Teetz’s new publication aims to contribute to quickly analyze crisis situations as well as derive operational and communicative arrangements and the implementation of these policies.
Further information:


New issue of the IRGoCC Report
Nestlé’s crisis response on Facebook - A content analysis of company and user postings on the palm oil crisis

After Greenpeace showed that Nestlé is importing palm oil from suppliers who are destroying the rainforest and the home of the organg-utans, the Nestlé palm oil crisis was triggered. The involved stakeholders like Greenpeace, candy consumers and Nestlé started an intensive crisis discourse on the social media platform Facebook. In the new issue of the IRGoCC Report the author, Franziska Niedermeir, analyzed Nestlé’s crisis communication strategies during the palm oil crisis as well as the perception of the company’s Facebook fans. Niedermeir also addresses failures of Nestlé’s crisis response on the basis of her content analysis. The study offers insights into the use of Facebook as a communication channel during crises.
The free full text can be accessed in Digitale Bibliothek Thüringen


Open or restrictive military media relations? New peer-reviewed journal publication of the Department of Media Studies

Ilmenau, March 2012. Are the media relations of the German Armed Forces open or restrictive? This aspect was analyzed by Prof. Dr. Martin Löffelholz, head of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication, Claudia Auer, and Kathrin Schleicher in their article “Coming closer with caution: The Relationship between the German Bundeswehr and the Media from the End of the Cold War until Today”, published in the latest issue of the Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift (peer reviewed),
The first results based on expert interviews with high-ranking German military personnel and politicians showed that media relations have become increasingly active. The authors discuss reasons and possible influencing factors on the relationships between the military and the media.
The paper was published as part of the research project on “Military Media Relations”, funded by the German Research Association. The research projects runs since 2009 at the Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany. It aims at furthering the scientific knowledge on the relations between the military and the media since the 1990s.
Löffelholz, Martin; Auer, Claudia; Schleicher, Kathrin (2012): Vorsichtige Annäherung. Die Beziehungen der Bundeswehr zu den Medien vom Ende des Kalten Krieges bis heute. (Coming closer with caution: The Relationship between the German Bundeswehr and the Media from the End of the Cold War until Today) In:  Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 50(1), 69-84.



New Issue of the IRGoCC Report on “Security-political communication and Web 2.0” published now:

See our downloads section (Knowledge center à Download studies and presentations)



Love Parade, Fukushima and other crises: Workshop for spokespersons of the Bavarian Government on strengths and limitations of research-based principles of crisis communication

Gmund/Munich, 19 December. Research-based principles and rules of effective crisis communication were the main topics of a workshop held by Andreas Schwarz, managing director of the IRGoCC, in Gmund on the lakefront of the Tegernsee. The participants were spokespersons of different departments of the Bavarian Government. In the following discussion crisis cases since 2010 were analyzed, such as the plagiarism crisis of the former German secretary of defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the Fukushima crisis in Japan or the Love Parade tragedy in 2010. The participants and the lecturer concluded that a more intensive exchange of knowledge and ideas between practitioners and scholars in Germany is necessary and fruitful. The workshop was organized by the Department of the Interior of the State of Bavaria. Participating in such events is part of the IRGoCC’s strategy to strengthen the cooperation and knowledge transfer between practitioners and academic research in the field of crisis communication.



Martin Löffelholz interviewed by ZAPP, a German TV magazine on media issues

Wiggly pictures from war zones, recorded with cameras fastened to the soldiers' helmets – can viewers cope with these pictures? Can they classify them? What is their intent? Which situations and TV formats are apt to include such pictures? The German TV magazine ZAPP (NDR channel) has been looking for answers to these questions. Martin Löffelholz, director of IRGoCC, is interviewed as an expert and shares his knowledge and opinion on the „new pictures of war“.
You can watch the report as well as the whole interview at



New working group on crisis communication at ECREA: International scholars interested in crisis communication are invited to join

Brussels, 20 June. On Monday the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) announced the foundation of the „Temporary Working Group on Crisis Communication“. The group aims at building a platform for European and International communication scholars to critically discuss and compare different theoretical approaches and empirical findings on crisis communication across sub-disciplines (e.g., journalism, public relations, organizational communication, political communication, etc.). The chair is Andreas Schwarz, CEO of the IRGoCC at Ilmenau University of Technology. The vice-chairs are Winni Johansen from Aarhus University as well as Alessandra Mazzei from IULM University in Milan.
Establishing such a European network of crisis communication experts has been the objective of the IRGoCC since its international conference in Ilmenau 2009. More than 60 well-known crisis communication scholars from around the globe supported this initiative. The proposal was one of six that have been accepted by ECREA out of a total of 13 submissions.
Everybody who is interested can join the working group now through the ECREA website. Being an ECREA member is a prerequisite:



Practical relevance of public relations research: Claudia Auer and Kathrin Schleicher on the military’s media relations at the annual conference  of the German Communication Association

Dortmund, 3 June. The current research project of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication and its implications for communications practitioners at major military organizations was addressed by Claudia Auer and Kathrin Schleicher. The presentation was part of the 56th annual conference of the German Communication Association in Dortmund. This year, scholars were invited to submit papers on „Applied Communication and Media Research and its Societal Relevance”.

The authors discussed the benefits the members of an organization get from the methods as applied in this research project: Anonymous semi-structured interviews inspired the communication professionals of the German and the US military to reflect and articulate specific deficiencies and the potential for improvement of their communication structures and processes.

Further information on the research project “Military Media Relations”: Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the research project consists of two sub-projects, which are integrated in a broader research endeavor on “Military and Media in the 20th Century”. The two sub-projects focus – like the other sub-projects of the broader project – on the analysis of the military side of the relationship between the military and the media. Research objects are the media relations of the German Army, the U.S. armed forces and the political institutions in charge of controlling the military organizations (German Ministry of Defense, Pentagon). The comparative longitudinal analysis seeks answering the question how and for what reasons the media relations of the German armed forces have changed since 1990 until present in comparison to the US military. Besides the functions, tasks and structures of the military media relations, the two sub-projects also look at the relations between military and security political media relations. In order to systematically open up the still neglected field of media-related organizational communication by the military, the research team applies a multi-methodological design of documentary research and expert interviews. The results aim at contributing to the establishment of a theory of politics-military-media-interrelations. 

Claudia Auer

Claudia Auer and Kathrin Schleicher (IRGoCC members) presenting on the project Military Media Relations at the annual conference of the German Communication Association in Dortmund

Claudia Auer (ri) and Kathrin Schleicher (le) (IRGoCC members) presenting on the project Military Media Relations at the annual conference of the German Communication Association in Dortmund