The Fukushima Effect – Nuclear Energy And The Media

Posted on May 9, 2011. Filed under: Measurement, Newspapers, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , |

It is no surprise that the future of nuclear power is on top of the news agenda in many countries as part of the aftermath of the Fukushima incident. You also might have expected that companies related to nuclear power like Areva, GE-Hitachi or Toshiba are flooded with negative press.

But what might be a surprise is that renewable energy didn’t benefit much from this crisis in terms of an increase of discussions in the media. What was also rather unexpected is the fact that some media – especially in the Middle East – still spoke rather positively about nuclear energy after the recent crisis.

The Power Of Newswires: Understanding The Media Landscape

Another interesting aspect of our study: Newswires have been the most reliable original traditional media source during Japan’s nuclear crisis.

The Tepco Case – Jeopardizing Japan’s Food Industry

As far as the operator of the Fukushima power plants, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), are concerned, traditional media are paying the most attention, although there are also many discussions taking place in blogs and forums. For a crisis of this extent, it should be expected that the disaster-ridden news coverage about Tepco has been almost entirely negative.

However, the unfavourable press is not limited to (nuclear) power generation and distribution. In fact, Tepco seems have become connected to major industrial issues in Japan and worldwide; from food and goods contamination to the dive of Japan’s whole export-drive economy. This is certainly a warning signal to any company to consider crisis scenarios beyond their direct line of business.

Holistic Crisis Management – To Be Prepared Is Everything

As said by Shakespeare: To be prepared is everything. For communicators, this means that crisis scenario planing should be done with the utmost holistic approach.

Georg Ackermann is the team leader of the Dow Jones Media Lab in Singapore. Lars Voedisch is a media consultant covering the Asia-Pacific region.

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