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Journal of Media Research

Crisis Communication in Romania and Social Media Influencers and Followers. Case Study: Patient’s Death at the Sanador Hospital

Raluca BARBU, Camelia CMECIU


Social media urge researchers on crisis communication to go beyond an agency approach. Multiple voices could be heard in the online environment when a crisis situation occurs especially when an organization does not engage online. Using a collaborative approach, this paper will provide an analysis of the Sanador Hospital crisis which took place in October 2018 when a child died after an inguinal hernia surgery. The social-mediated crisis communication (SMCC) model constitutes our theoretical framework. Since online users are not passive consumers of online information, but seek emotional support, we will provide an insight into the online users’ emotional responses. This study has a threefold purpose: (1) to identify the roles the Romanian influencers and online users played throughout this crisis at the Sanador Hospital; (2) to determine how key publics framed this crisis; (3) to identify the types of emotions embedded in the influencers’ posts and followers’ comments. The main findings revealed that this social-mediated crisis also brought forth online users’ own interests through a re-framing of the influencers’ posts and that besides contempt and disgust, as the most salient emotional responses, anger toward other online users was also present, thus highlighting that the online environment during crisis situations may trigger online users’ aggressive self-involvement.

Keywords: Social-mediated crisis communication (SMCC) model; QDA miner; Romania; influencers; Followers

DOI: 10.24193/jmr.35.1