Teaching university students how to keep calm in a crisis


We have joined forces with the University of Leicester to offer a practical twist to courses for the PR professionals of the future.
The university approached us to bring hands-on, frontline skills and experience to its Media and Public Relations MA degree course.
Word Association Chief Executive Mark Thomas is delivering a series of lectures to students and leading seminars on how to handle the media in times of crisis.
The ‘Crisis Communications’ module aims to give students the practical skills to advise their organisation in a crisis situation.
The five half-day sessions cover subjects including identifying a crisis and its implications, managing the needs of the media, being prepared, what to do when a crisis hits and managing the wider impact.
As well as lectures, students discuss example case studies and take part in exercises to practise and develop their skills.
Mark, an experienced trainer and lecturer, is being joined by clients and other members of the Word Association team as guest lecturers during the course of the module.
He said: “Our first-hand experience of handling communications crises for various clients makes us ideally placed to pass on valuable knowledge and skills to these students, helping to shape them into first-class PR professionals.
“I’m delighted the university has looked to us, not only as a leading communications agency but as a local company, to give a real practical edge to their MA course.”
Mark set up Word Association in 1991. The company has been ranked by PR Week in the Top 10 public sector PR agencies nationally and the largest in the East Midlands.
He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, a trained editor and a qualified photographer. He speaks at major conferences on subjects including communication strategies, work-life balance and media relations.
During the course, Mark teaches students how to develop a crisis strategy, write press releases, statements and interviews in the midst of a crisis, cope with negative publicity, deal with the aftermath and restore their organisation’s reputation.
Seminars also look at how to generate positive coverage, such as focusing on the heroes from a crisis and identifying ‘good news’ angles.
The University of Leicester’s Media and Public Relations MA course encourages students to theorise on the cultural and social impacts of PR, and explores the importance of research, corporate communications, social change campaigns, PR’s relationship with the media, public affairs and lobbying.
Programme Director Dr Scott Davidson said: “Our aim is to ensure students benefit from a combination of engaging with tough academic theory alongside the opportunity to learn about the latest industry trends and practice directly from PR professionals.
“The students are really enjoying the opportunity to problem solve crisis communications situations with Mark and his team.”

Posted on by Mark Thomas

View the previous or next post:

  • Word Association
  • Atkins Building
  • Studio 7a
  • Lower Bond Street
  • Hinckley
  • Leicestershire
  • LE10 1QU

01455 614333 [email protected]

© 2018 All rights reserved Word Association

ArabicChinese (Simplified)EnglishFrenchGermanGujaratiItalianPolishPortugueseSpanish