Crisis Communication in Dark Times: The 2011 Mouse River Flood in Minot, North Dakota

Christopher L. Atkinson


Crisis communication is an essential aspect of disaster and crisis management for governments; this is particularly true for local governments, which are first into an event response and last out, and on the front lines of response and recovery. In this article, crisis communication is reviewed generally and then in the context of the 2011 Souris (Mouse) River flood in Minot, North Dakota. Using analysis of primary interview data, I deliberate on the potential that exists for public communication to enhance the responsiveness of government in addressing the public’s needs under threat of hazard or disaster. Results and discussion of the analysis are provided. I find that the city learned from the challenges of the flood in a way that suggests improved responses for future events. The case represents an expression of good governance in what have been dark times for the public sector. 


public communication; crisis management; Minot, North Dakota; local government, emergency response

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