Dr. Bryan H. Reber

Department Head, C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership, Public Relations

About: He teaches public relations, management, and writing. Research foci are public relations and health and crisis communication.

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Education

Ph.D., Journalism, University of Missouri
M.S., Journalism, University of Kansas
B.A., Speech and Drama, Bethel College

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Reber’s research focuses on public relations theory, practice and pedagogy.  He has published his research in the Journal of Public Relations Research, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Communication Management, and Newspaper Research Journal among others.  In addition, Dr. Reber has presented his research at numerous academic conferences.

Ethical challenges in an evolving digital communication era: Coping resources and ethical trainings in corporate communications Juan Meng, Solyee Kim & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study investigated the ethical challenges facing public relations professionals in today’s digital communication environment. Our research found nearly 60% of surveyed professionals reported that they faced ethical challenges […]

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Organizational Purpose, Culture, Crisis Leadership, and Social Media Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This chapter explores the importance of organizational purpose, culture, and leadership in weathering a social media crisis and the impact of stakeholders’ changing expectations on organizational responses. Organizations are […]

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Current Issues of Social Media and Crisis Communication Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: The standard advice in crisis communication is to respond quickly, but only with what is absolutely known to be fact. Social media have increased the potential for quick response, […]

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Ethical challenges in an evolving digital communication era: Coping resources and ethical trainings in corporate communications Bryan H. Reber, Solyee Kim & Juan Meng

Abstract: This study is motivated to investigate the ethical challenges facing public relations professionals in today’s digital communication environment. Our research found nearly 60% of surveyed professionals reported that they faced […]

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Leveraging the cybersecurity function to build influence and strategy: An empirical study of public relations professionals’ cybersecurity acumen Michael Cacciatore, Juan Meng & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study investigated PR professionals’ attention to and perceptions of cybersecurity, and their involvement in handling cybersecurity incidents. Preliminary findings include that practitioners in the US and Canada did […]

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Threat Assessments and Organization Resources for DEI and Ethics: Practitioner Insights on Sticky Crises Taylor Voges, Solyee Kim, JeongHyun (Janice) Lee, Sara Ervin, Yan Jin & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: Organizations need to respond to sticky crises with speed and timeliness; this speed depends onhow communication practitioners assess threats and their organizations’ resources for the threats. Based on theoretical […]

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What Drives a Tough Call: Determining the Importance of Contingency Factors and Individual Characteristics in Communication Executives’ Stance Decision-Making through a Conjoint Analysis Taylor Voges, Yan Jin & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: To further the understanding of how communication executives make tough calls in times of organizational-public conflict, we use a conjoint analysis to identify key drivers for organizational stance decision-making. […]

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Ethical challenges in an evolving digital communication era: Coping resources and ethics trainings Juan Meng, Bryan H. Reber & Taeyeon Kim

Abstract: This study investigates the ethical challenges facing public relations professionals in today’s digital communication environment. Specifically, we focused our research on the new ethical challenges in digital practice, the […]

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Breaking the sound of silence: Explication in the use of strategic silence in crisis communication Sung In Choi, Yan Jin, Youngji Seo & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: Crises present organizations with the “rhetorical exigency” to enact control (Heath, 2004, p.167). Silence is not an option. This study, as the first empirical examination of Le et al. (2019)’s seminal study […]

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Leading transitions in a traumatically changing working environment: Communication professionals adapt to COVID-19 impacts. Tong Xie, Bryan H. Reber, Juan Meng & JeongHyun (Janice) Lee

Abstract: The paper presents findings from an international survey of communication professionals on change leadership in communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the strong impact brought by the pandemic, communication […]

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Ethical challenges in an evolving digital communication era: Coping resources and ethics trainings. Juan Meng, Solyee Kim & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study is motivated to investigate the ethical challenges facing public relations professionals in today’s digital communication environment. Specifically, we focused our research on the new ethical challenges in […]

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Exploring the 2020-2021 North American Communication Monitor Bryan H. Reber and Juan Meng

Meng, J., Reber, B. H., Gower, K., Zerfass, A. (June 9, 2021). Exploring the 2020-2021 North American Communication Monitor. Facebook Live Webinar, invited and hosted by the Plank Center for […]

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Unintended Effects of Risk Communication: Impacts of Message Fatigue, Risk Tolerance, and Trust in Public Health Information on Psychological Reactance Youngji Seo, Bryan H. Reber & Yan Jin

Abstract: How individuals experience unintended effects of risk messages is an understudied area. Focusing on three types of unintended effects (i.e., message fatigue, risk tolerance, and psychological reactance) associated with […]

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The impact of COVID-19 pandemic, ethical challenges, gender issues, cyber security, and competence gaps in strategic communication. Juan Meng and Bryan H. Reber

North American Communication Monitor 2020-2021. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic, ethical challenges, gender issues, cyber security, and competence gaps in strategic communication.

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Leading transitions in a traumatically changing working environment: Communication professionals adapt to COVID-19 impacts Juan Meng, Bryan H. Reber, Tong Xie & JeongHyun (Janice) Lee

Abstract: The paper presents findings from an international survey of communication professionals on change leadership in communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the strong impact brought by the pandemic, communication […]

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Strategic Decision-Making for Public Relations: Determining the Importance of Contingency Theory Factors Through a Conjoint Analysis Yan Jin and Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study uses a novel approach, the conjoint analysis, as a way to investigate the interactions between three factor groupings of the contingency theory variables that are relevant for […]

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Assessing an Organizational Crisis at the Construal Level: How Psychological Distance Impacts Publics’ Crisis Responses Yan Jin and Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: To expand the existing scholarly literature on the nature of crisis, this study elaborates on the notion of crisis distance by 1) investigating its influence on publics’ crisis responses […]

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Best Practices for Corporate Communication Research Collaboration between University Research Groups and Industry Businesses and Organizations: A Structure and Function Analysis Yan Jin and Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify the best practices for corporate communication research collaboration between a university research group (URG) and outside businesses or organizations that systematically […]

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Research Report: Juan Meng and Bryan H. Reber

Meng, J., Berger, B. K., Heyman, W., & Reber, B. H. (2019). Public relations leaders earn a “C+” in The Plank Center’s Report Card 2019. Gender and hierarchy gaps widen, […]

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Book Published: North American Communication Monitor 2018-2019. Tracking trends in fake news, issues management, leadership performance, work stress, social media skills, job satisfaction and work environment. Juan Meng, Bryan H. Reber, Tong Xie & Solyee Kim

Meng, J., Reber, B. H., Berger, B. K., Gower, K. K., & Zerfass, A. (2019). North American Communication Monitor 2018-2019. Tracking trends in fake news, issues management, leadership performance, work […]

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The State of Crisis Communication Research and Education Through the Lens of Crisis Scholars: An International Delphi Study Bryan H. Reber and Yan Jin

Abstract: This Delphi study explores the status of crisis communication research and education qualitatively through the lens of 22 internationally recognized crisis communication scholars, systematically recruited and retained to serve […]

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Book Contract: Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness: Integrating Public Relations Scholarship with Practice Yan Jin, Glen Nowak & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract:: Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness shows how crisis communication plans and efforts for complex and challenging issues benefit when academic perspectives are connected with practitioner experiences. This book brings crisis […]

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How Financial Crisis History Informs Ethical Corporate Communication: Insights from Corporate Communication Leaders Camila Espina, Yan Jin & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study explored how financial crisis history can inform corporate crisis communication practice across industries and over time. Thirty-eight interviews with chief communications officers (CCOs) and their counselors were […]

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How Financial Crisis History Informs Ethical Corporate Communication: Insights from Corporate Communication Leaders Camila Espina, Yan Jin & Bryan H. Reber

Abstract: This study explored how financial crisis history can inform corporate crisis communication practice across industries and over time. Thirty-eight interviews with chief communications officers (CCOs) and their counselors were […]

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Teaching Specialties

His primary teaching interests are public relations administration, public relations communication, and public relations campaigns.  He has also taught persuasion, campaign research and public opinion management on the graduate level.

Experience

Prior to joining the Grady College, Dr. Reber worked in public relations at Bethel College, Kansas.  He has conducted research and consulted for the University of Alabama, Alabama Entrepreneurial Research Network, Sierra Club, Ketchum, Missouri Public Service Commission, and others.  He taught at the University of Alabama immediately prior to joining the Grady faculty.

Awards and Fellowships

He received the Ketchum/Institute for Public Relations, Scientific Methods And Research Techniques (SMART) Grant/Internship in 1999.  He has received top paper awards at the International Communication Association (2001) and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (2003, 2000).

Reber, Bryan
In the News

Bryan Reber retires from Department of Advertising and Public Relations

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The 2020-2021 North American Communication Monitor identifies trends and challenges in a year of continuous crisis

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New crisis communication book melds scholarly research with practitioner experience

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Public Relations Leaders Earn a “C+” in The Plank Center’s Report Card 2019

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Trends and challenges revealed in first North American Communication Monitor

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Grady College professors help lead research for largest worldwide communication study

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Bryan Reber named head of Department of Advertising and Public Relations

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Crisis communication experts debate Samsung Galaxy Note7 global response

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"The art of the apology: How high-profile men have responded to allegations of sexual misconduct" via ABC News

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"How companies screw up during a PR crisis" via CNN Money

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"Analyzing Samsung's Recall Crisis" via Bulldog Reporter

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