If the past two years have proven anything, it is that crises can strike at any moment.
That’s why Ann Hollifield, professor emeritus and former Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Research at Grady College, was inspired to assist in the creation of The Media Resilience Scanner, a comprehensive online crisis preparation, management and recovery tool for news organizations and journalists around the world.
The tool, now available for free online, was recently released by the German media development organization DW Akademie, which is part of Deutsche Welle, a public service broadcaster and strategic partner of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“The Media Resilience Scanner is designed to help news organizations prepare for a variety of crises that may disrupt their operations when journalists are needed most,” Hollifield explained. “The scanner also helps news managers prepare to financially survive the aftereffects of crises. Finally, it can be used as a staff training tool, particularly for journalists who will be working in the field under crisis conditions.”
The tool guides media professionals step by step through the process of evaluating and planning for risks, managing crises as they occur and addressing residual risks to news media viability that may occur in the aftermath of a disruption.
By answering a series of questions, users can build their own crisis plans for a wide range of categories, including “basic planning,” “natural and human-made disaster” and “digital threats,” among others. At the end, the tool creates a customized crisis preparation and management plan as a downloadable PDF.
“The scanner was developed based on interviews with more than 30 news executives and journalists around the world, who have steered their news organizations through a variety of crises, including Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa,” said Hollifield. “Academic research on crisis management was consulted, as were multiple other sources of expertise. The scanner reflects best practices and suggestions from news professionals who have lived the experiences.”
Hollifield went on to explain that Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, senior lecturer in journalism, as well as Professors Emeritus Michael Castengera and David Hazinski, all contributed directly and indirectly to the research she did for this project, as did the many years of international collaborative research projects she worked on for the Cox Center.