Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Public Relations (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Pamela Bourland-Davis


Public relations serves a huge role in almost every sector, including politics. Crisis communication, a subset of public relations, is very important in a setting that constantly undergoes crises. The response to these crises matters a great deal on the federal level because the outcomes can affect such a wide variety of policies and even elections. Because of this, I wanted to focus on one type of crisis that every president is almost guaranteed to face: hurricanes. To examine the effectiveness of federal-level crisis communication, I look at Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden’s responses to the worst hurricane during their terms and determine the elements of each that are most important in developing messages. It is important to address this in order to understand what methods work best in curating messages for disasters that affect a large portion of the population. I will use the Strategic Framing Taxonomy along with artifacts like Twitter posts, photographs, news footage, and statements or press releases to analyze the different messages from each president.