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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

CMNS 4241: Strategies in Crisis Communications

Students examine an array of media and public relations (PR) strategies for companies, individuals and non-profits dealing with difficult situations. In doing so, students develop communication plans that can be spread across traditional and digital platforms and solve a variety of problems. Students engage with case studies from a variety of industries that require timely and complex solutions. Classic and contemporary cases from the history of PR and crisis resolution will be analyzed throughout the term.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain intermediate and advanced concepts from crisis communication studies.
  • Create communication plans that offer clear and complex solutions to an array of media and PR problems.
  • Implement professional strategies from the history of PR and crisis communication studies.
  • Examine challenges in crisis PR across a range of media platforms.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Fundamentals
  • Unit 2: Best Practices
  • Unit 3: Communications Planning
  • Unit 4: Crisis Communications Planning
  • Unit 5: Internal and External Communications Planning
  • Unit 6: Crisis Communications in a Digital Age

Required text and materials

Students require the following e-textbook, which can be purchased directly from the TRU bookstore site at:

  1. Cardin, M. and McMullan, K. (2021). Canadian PR for the real world (2nd ed.). Pearson Canada Inc. Type: E-Textbook. ISBN: 9780135880388


In order to successfully complete this course, students must obtain at least 50% on the mandatory final project and 50% in the course overall.

Assignment 1: Journal Reflection 10%
Assignment 2: News Release 10%
Assignment 3: DCAP Statement 10%
Assignment 4: Internal Crisis Package 15%
Assignment 5: Journal Reflection 10%
Assignment 6: Social Media Strategy 20%
Final Project: Crisis Communications Plan (mandatory) 25%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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