Harvard shooting leads to crisis comms tweaks

CAMBRIDGE, MA: Harvard University, after a fatal shooting near a campus dorm, will conduct community outreach to increase the number of sign-ups for text message notifications, in addition to adjusting its emergency notification system.

CAMBRIDGE, MA: After a fatal shooting near a campus dorm, Harvard University will conduct community outreach to increase the number of sign-ups for text message notifications, in addition to adjusting its emergency notification system.

“Currently, we have 14,000 of our campus signed up, and we are in the process of trying to really up that participation,” said John Longbrake, senior director of communications at the university's office of news and public affairs.

While Harvard is “pretty pleased with the [current] notification method and the results overall,” the school is “already in the process of investing in improving our emergency notification system so that we are able to send out blast e-mail, phone-mail messages, and texts, all from one vendor,” said Longbrake.

Also, the university will seek to improve the use of Twitter and other social networking mediums, like Facebook.

“Incidents like these always yield lessons, that lead to improvements,” said Longbrake.

Harvard's communications team handled the incident, including media relations, without the assistance of outside agencies.

“As an urban campus, we have lots of communications issues, and have a very strong team in place,” said Longbrake.

 

The communications team was involved in various aspects of Harvard's crisis plan, from a presence on the scene to sitting in on a conference call with police and the incident support team of university stakeholders.

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