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Blogging about crises: The role of online conversations in framing Alitalia's performance during its crisis

Chiara Valentini (Department of Business Communication, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Stefania Romenti (Department of Economics and Marketing, IULM University, Milan, Italy)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 15 November 2011




The aim of this paper is to explore the role of the blogosphere in framing Alitalia's performance during its 2008 crisis.


Content analysis was chosen as research method to investigate bloggers' perceptions of Alitalia's crisis. Five major Italian blogs were selected and each blog was operationalised in units of analysis and explored for posts and post comments. The final sample comprises 27 blog posts and 467 blog post comments.


The results show that the Italian blogosphere was mostly interested in the exploration of technical, economic aspects of the crisis and consequences for the community. Although some differences in the way the crisis was discussed by bloggers and blog readers are visible, both bloggers and blog readers primarily framed Alitalia's crisis with a negative tone and were extremely critical towards the Italian government and Alitalia management in the way they handled the crisis.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the choice of a qualitative inquiry, based on a single case study, generalisability of results is not possible.

Practical implications

This analysis suggests that crises are framed differently in the blogosphere than in traditional media and therefore, public relations managers should differentiate their crisis response strategies addressed to the blogosphere from those for traditional media. The lack of official statements by Alitalia also shows that public relations practitioners should have taken a more active role in the discussions in the blogosphere to correct wrong or distorted information in posts and comments.


This study provides practitioners and scholars with interesting insights into the blogosphere and bloggers' opinions during a crisis situation.



Valentini, C. and Romenti, S. (2011), "Blogging about crises: The role of online conversations in framing Alitalia's performance during its crisis", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 298-313.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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