Picture of SDSU Vizlab

Kevin Robinson and Isabelle Sacramentogtilo teach students and community members.

This past weekend, San Diego State was host to unique crisis training event that brought together SDSU students, faculty, journalists, geologists and the San Diego community to talk about earthquake preparedness and crisis planning.

“The Collaborative Crisis Communication Training program,” was hosted by the School of Journalism of Media Studies, the Department of Geological Sciences, College of Sciences and the Viz Lab.

Amy Schmitz Weiss, associate professor of journalism and Hongmei Shen, associate professor of public relations both from the School of Journalism and Media Studies, and Kevin Robinson, lecturer from the Department of Geological Sciences were the team members to make this training to come to life. It was a project that took over seven months to plan.

Participants who attended the training learned about the science of earthquakes, how to build a crisis communication plan in the event of a crisis or disaster, how to disseminate information during a crisis, the effects of trauma on those impacted by the crisis, as well as the digital and social media tools that can be used in the moments of a crisis.

The training was supplemented by hands-on group activities on the first day of the training and a virtual earthquake simulation on the second day of the training.

As part of the virtual simulation, participants learned how to use the innovative, digital platform of Ushahidi for crisis communication and the use of SMS technologies to help disseminate and communicate information in the moments of a crisis.

This project was made possible from a President’s Leadership Grant from the Campanile Foundation that the team received earlier this year. Additional support was also provided by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University in New York.

This project is part of a larger research project the team is conducting to explore the impact of collaborative communication practices in the moments of a crisis and disaster.
Another training is planned for Spring 2014.