Virginia Tech Tragedy: Crisis communication on the university website homepage

April 16th, 2007 Karine Joly 2 Comments

I’ve just read about the news… on a listserv. I worked on deadlines all morning and ate lunch in front of my computer far away from any news.

In the listserv message, there was just a mention of a crazy event with 22 dead including students (33 according to the latest reports) at Virginia Tech, so I went straight to the website:

VT crisis homepage

When I saw the VT homepage, I thought I would share it with you.

A few months ago, when a shooting happened at Dawson College in Montreal, I remember reading a similar announcement written (in bold red, I think) on the website, but it was tucked in the middle of news about upcoming events and information of all sorts. The day after a student was shot dead at Dawson, I co-presented a session at the CASE conference for senior marketing and communication professionals about crisis communication in a networked world. At that time, I mentioned to the audience how important it was to focus the homepage content on the crisis to avoid such terrible faux-pas when lives are lost.

I wish Virginia Tech Web Team didn’t have to do this kind of updates this morning, but I thought they did a commendable job in this terrible situation. That’s why I decided to share it with all of you.

All my prayers go to the families of the victims.

2 Responses

  1. […] I posted a screenshot of the homepage of the university website when I heard the news — only early in the afternoon as I was working on deadlines far away from any news […]

  2. […] I only learned about the tragedy around 11AM that morning. I was unplugged to work on a project, and it’s just when I checked my email and the email listservs that I saw a message referring to something terrible going on at Virginia Tech. I checked VT website and decided to share the info and a screenshot with this blog’s readers right away. […]

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