Award for excellence and six presentations: TU Ilmenau most successful research institution at this year’s 13th International Crisis & Risk Communication Conference (ICRCC) in Orlando

Members of the DECIPHER consortium at the International Crisis and Risk Communic
Members of the DECIPHER consortium at the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference in Orlando (from left to right: Andreas Schwarz, Martin Löffelholz, Yi Xu, Deanna Sellnow, Audra Diers-Lawson, Bengt Johansson, Timothy Sellnow)

At this year’s International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference at the University of Central Florida in Orlando (USA), Martin Löffelholz, Director of the International Crisis Communication Research Group and Head of Media Studies at TU Ilmenau, was honored with the Bridge Award for Excellence in Connecting Research and Practice. This award was presented by the President of the International Crisis and Risk Communication Association, Timothy Sellnow, in recognition of Löffelholz’s many years of commitment to international crisis communication research and his relevance to crisis communication practice by authorities and journalists.

The Ilmenau Institute for Media and Communication Studies (IfMK) gave a total of six presentations at the conference, which brings together prominent practitioners and researchers in the field of crisis communication every year. Dr. Andreas Schwarz, Co-Director of the International Crisis Communication Research Group and Coordinator of the Public Relations and Technical Communication Group at TU ILmenau , spoke with a team of international co-authors about the challenges, experiences and strategies of acquiring third-party funding for risk and crisis communication research. He also reported on new findings on German media coverage of autonomous driving in local public transport.

The study emerged from the project " KREATÖR - Radio and vehicle technologies for automated passenger transport in public spaces" at the Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo), which is funded by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society (TMWWDG) and accompanied by the TU Ilmenau with communication science analyses of risk perception and acceptance of the technology in the public and in the media.

Martin Löffelholz, Andreas Schwarz and Dr. Yi Xu, research associate in the Media Studies Group, also gave four further presentations on findings on risk communication by authorities and (social) media during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results showed, among other things, how municipal authorities dealt with challenges of coordination with the federal and state governments, what strategies different countries used on Instagram and how the news media in seven countries assessed the actions of authorities and science. The findings emerged from the ongoing research projects on optimizing risk and crisis communication by governments, authorities and health security organizations DECIPHER , funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and MIRKKOMM , funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which are largely carried out at the TU Ilmenau and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

These activities are the result of many years of research, extensive funding of currently around five million euros and the TU Ilmenau’s international institutional commitment to the subject, such as the founding of the Risk and Crisis Communication specialist groups in the ECREA - European Communication Research and Education Association by Andreas Schwarz. This makes the TU Ilmenau the most important player in risk and crisis communication research in Germany.

About the honoree:

Prof. Martin Löffelholz is Head of the Media Studies Group at TU Ilmenau and Director of the International Crisis Communication Research Group, which he founded in 2002. In his more than 400 scientific publications, including 21 books, he deals primarily with war and crisis communication, political communication, journalism, organizational communication as well as intercultural and international aspects.

Background information/lectures at the ICRCC:

  • The Future of Risk and Crisis Communication Research: Global Experts’ Insights on Best and Worst Practices for Securing External Funding Brooke Fisher Liu - University of Maryland (USA), Yan Jin - University of Georgia (USA), Wenqing Zhao - University of Georgia (USA), Andreas Schwarz - Ilmenau University of Technology , Olivia Truman - University of Maryland (USA), & Matthew Seeger - Wayne State University (USA)
  • Municipal Risk and Crisis Communication in Germany: Results of a Representative Multi-Method Study Martin Löffelholz - Ilmenau University of Technology , Kathrin Schleicher - Ilmenau University of Technology , & Johanna Radechovsky - Ilmenau University of Technology
  • Multimodal Crisis Messaging in Times of Pandemic: Comparing Instagram Posts Published by Governments and Public Health Institutions in Germany, Türkiye, the UK, and the USA Yi Xu - Ilmenau University of Technology & Martin Löffelholz - Ilmenau University of Technology
  • Government Communication in Protracted Crises: A Comparative Long-Term Analysis of Press Releases from Six European Countries and the USA on Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-2022) Martin Löffelholz - Ilmenau University of Technology , Yi Xu - Ilmenau University of Technology , & Pauline Gidget Estella - Ilmenau University of Technology
  • The Mediated Instructional Effectiveness and Institutional Trust during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis of the Crisis News Coverage in Europe and the US from a Risk Communication Perspective Andreas Schwarz - Ilmenau University of Technology , Francis Alpers - Ilmenau University of Technology , & Audra Diers-Lawson - Kristiania University College (Norway)
  • The Mediated Risks of Autonomous Driving and Public Transportation: A Media Framing Analysis of Science and Technology in Germany Andreas Schwarz - Ilmenau University of Technology & Tatjana Faj - Ilmenau University of Technology