Responding to a Campus Emergency: The Effect of Alert Sources on Learning, Message Speed, and Perceptions of Campus Safety

March 2016 (VOL. 34, NO. 1)

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University campuses present unique challenges for crisis communication practitioners, especially in the aftermath of violent crimes and other major safety and public relations incidents. In the aftermath of a recent campus shooting, students were surveyed to determine the speed of information dissemination, the relationship between primary information sources and message speed, and the impact that message speed had on subsequent perceptions of campus safety and the university as a whole. Those informed by personalized media learned of the shooting sooner and formed more favorable opinions about the university. The findings have implications for emergency planners and crisis communication practitioners.