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First Findings in the Research Project "Crisis Communication of Transnational Non-Profit Organizations"

In a first content analysis, the media coverage of crisis incidents by INGOs and IGOs was analyzed in an international context.

Karoline Oelsner and Dr. Andreas Schwarz present first findings at the ECREA Conference at Lugano (Source: Group for Research in Public Relations and Communication of Technology)

The research project carried out by the Research groups of Media Studies and Public Relations and Communication of Technology deals with the crisis communication and crisis resilience of transnational non-profit organizations. Events such as the current Oxfam scandal are attracting great public (media) interest. Therefor in a first content analysis, which was carried out during the summer semester, the media coverage of crisis incidents by international NGOs and intergovernmental organisations in an international context was analysed. The aim was to determine the relevance of the topic from a media perspective. The content analysis is based on the framing concept according to Entman (1993) as well as on findings from crisis communication research. In each case, three national daily newspapers (quality and tabloid media) from six countries (India, Great Britain, USA, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland) were analysed. First results of a cluster analysis show that three specific frames can be found in international media coverage. The first frame deals with NGOs and IGOs as victims of (terrorist) attacks. This is most frequently found in German and Canadian reporting. In the second frame, journalists report on crisis incidents of NGOs and IGOs from a neutral and often very value-free perspective. This frame is most frequently found in Indian and British media coverage. In the third and with 40% most frequently used frame, journalists report on scandals and crises of NGOs, such as corruption cases or sexual assaults on people in need of protection. The articles play a rather negative role and media and political representatives most often attribute responsibility to the organisation itself in these cases. This frame appeared most frequently in the US and Swiss media.