Public Sector Crises: Realizations from Covid-19 for Crisis Communication


This article reflects upon the communicative demands COVID-19 created for public sector crisis managers. Those demands include anxiety, empathy, efficacy, fatigue, reach, and threat. The conclusion reviews the realizations COVID-19 has created for those tasked with managing public health crises.

Keywords: Crisis Communication; Efficacy; Crisis Management; EPPM; Anxiety


Abramson, L., Paz, Y., & Knafo‐Noam, A. (2019). From negative reactivity to empathic responding: Infants high in negative reactivity express more empathy later in development, with the help of regulation. Developmental science, 22(3), e12766.

Aiello, A. E., Renson, A., & Zivich, P. N. (2020). Social Media–and Internet-Based Disease Surveillance for Public Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 41, 101-118.

Breslow, J. (2020). Why misinformation and distrust are making COVID-19 more dangerous for Black America. Retrieved from

Buzzanell, P. M. (2010). Resilience: Talking, resisting, and imagining new normalcies into being. Journal of Communication, 60(1), 1-14.

Coombs, W.T. (2019). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding (5th). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Covello, V. T. (1992). Risk communication: An emerging area of health communication research. Annals of the International Communication Association, 15(1), 359-373.

Covello, V. T. (2006). Risk communication and message mapping: A new tool for communicating effectively in public health emergencies and disasters. Journal of Emergency Management, 4(3), 25-40.

Depoux, A., Martin, S., Karafillakis, E., Preet, R., Wilder-Smith, A., & Larson, H. (2020). The pandemic of social media panic travels faster than the COVID-19 outbreak. Retrieved from

Everly, G.S. Jr. & Lating, J.M. (2017). The Johns Hopkins guide to psychological first aid. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ford, L. A., & Yep, G. A. (2003). Working along the margins: Developing community-based strategies for communicating about health with marginalized groups. Handbook of health communication, 241-261.

Frandsen, F., & Johansen, W. (2009). Institutionalizing crisis communication in the public sector: An explorative study in Danish municipalities. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 3(2), 102-115.

Jin, Y. (2009). The effects of public's cognitive appraisal of emotions in crises on crisis coping and strategy assessment. Public Relations Review, 35(3), 310-313.

Johansen, W., Aggerholm, H. K., & Frandsen, F. (2012). Entering new territory: A study of internal crisis management and crisis communication in organizations. Public Relations Review, 38(2), 270-279.

Jones, V. (2020). Black America must wake up to this viral threat. Retrieve from:

Leiss, W. (1996). Three phases in the evolution of risk communication practice. American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 545, 85-94.

Lovari, A., & Bowen, S. A. (2020). Social media in disaster communication: A case study of strategies, barriers, and ethical implications. Journal of Public Affairs, 20(1), e1967.

Maibach, E., & Holtgrave, D. R. (1995). Advances in public health communication. Annual review of public health, 16(1), 219-238.

Morens, D. M., & Fauci, A. S. (2013). Emerging infectious diseases: threats to human health and global stability. PLoS Pathog, 9(7), e1003467.

Rai, M. K., Loschky, L. C., Harris, R. J., Peck, N. R., & Cook, L. G. (2011). Effects of stress and working memory capacity on foreign language readers’ inferential processing during comprehension. Language Learning, 61(1), 187-218.

Sandman, P. (2006). The outrage industries: The role of journalists and activists in risk controversies. Retrieved from

Sinclair, S., Beamer, K., Hack, T. F., McClement, S., Raffin Bouchal, S.,

Chochinov, H. M., & Hagen, N. A. (2017). Sympathy, empathy, and compassion: A grounded theory study of palliative care patients’ understandings, experiences, and preferences. Palliative medicine, 31(5), 437-447.

Smith, D., & McCloskey, J. (1998). Risk and crisis management in the public sector: Risk communication and the social amplification of public sector risk. Public Money and Management, 18(4), 41-50.

Strömbäck, J., & Nord, L. W. (2006). Mismanagement, mistrust and missed opportunities: a study of the 2004 tsunami and Swedish political communication. Media, Culture & Society, 28(5), 789-800.

van der Meer, T. G., & Jin, Y. (2020). Seeking formula for misinformation treatment in public health crises: The effects of corrective information type and source. Health Communication, 35(5), 560-575.

WHO (n.d.). Infectious diseases. Retrieved from:

Who (2010). What is a pandemic? Retrieved from:

Witte, K., Meyer, G., & Martell, D. (2001). Effective health communication messages: A step-by-step guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.