Rasmussen, Leslie (2015). Planned Parenthood takes on Live Action: An analysis of media interplay and image restoration strategies in strategic conflict management. Public Relations Review, 41(3), 354-356.


The article attempts to build a composite understanding of new media and its incorporation into communication and strategic conflict management, while also examining the interplay among three media types: Controlled, social, and traditional. The Planned Parenthood and Live Action case illustrates public relations theories in practice on various media as the organization aims to manage conflicts while considering new communicative platforms.


A content analysis was performed to analyze Planned Parenthood and Live Action’s controlled media and social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs), and on the traditional media coverage of the conflict. There were 2663 combined units of analysis.

Key Findings

  • Social media served as a catalyst for the major crisis.
  • Planned Parenthood had to simultaneously engage in image restoration and strategic conflict management; the two were not done in separate phases as the cycle of conflict suggests
  • To manage its crisis, Planned Parenthood engaged in avoidance by not addressing the videos that sparked its Federal funding crisis, instead focusing on its value as a healthcare provider.
  • The interplay among media type has impacted the practice of public relations, rather than the emergence of social media or Internet advancements.

Implications for Practice

  • It is important to understand the way media types influence one another.
  • Consistency in communication across media is crucial during times of crisis and as organization attempt image restoration, regardless of the number of media types employed.
  • Organizations must be strategic when selecting social media platforms to communicate critical messages.
  • The basic functions (research, writing, etc.) of public relations practitioners have not fundamentally changed. Instead, the interplay of new tools has had a more significant impact on the practice.

Article Location

The full article is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363811115000065

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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