This studies it relies on. The Theory needs more

This paper will
offer a scientific analyse and critique for the paper: “Changing the Conversation:
How Developing Countries Handle the International Media during Disasters,
Conflicts, and Tourism Crises” by Eli Avraham. Avraham’s research tries to
uncover the strategies used to handle the international media and to affect
nations’ during crises. He does this by using qualitative content analysis,
press interviews with officials, and examinations of media policy.

This paper will
review the methodology, theoretical base and results in Avraham’s research and
offer critique and suggestions by relying on external academic sources.

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The analyse and
critique of the paper will be done using mainly the research paper “Methodological
Issues and Practices in Qualitative Research” by Jana Bradley and Coombs, “Crisis Management: A communicative approach” by Coombs. Using
the external source will help to critique the methodology used in the

Base of the Study

The Theoretical base of “Changing the Conversation”
relies on the theoretical work of Avraham and
Ketter “multistep
model for altering place image,”. Avraham and Ketter based their theory on a broader theory which is
called “Image Repair/restoration Theory”. This Theory can be applied as an
approach for understanding personal or organizational crisis situations and aims
to understand how organizations and brands determine a threat to reputation or
image and the image repair strategies to use before, after, and during the
In the “multistep model for altering place image,” Avraham and Ketter focus only on repairing
an image of a place. The theory offers three types of strategies for officials
in order to repair a place’s negative image during and after a tourism crisis:
1. Target audience
2. Source of the negative image  
3. The negative message itself. 

“Changing the Conversation” focuses only on the
source strategies.

Criticism of the theory

Coombs (2006)17 argued
that Image restoration theory , the theory frame this paper relies on, has
limitations in terms of the small number of case studies it relies on. The
Theory needs more scrutiny with insights before offering strategies to crisis
managers as facts. He pointed out many similar crises should be examined for
patterns of strategy use and effect and “a large number of cases could be coded
and subjected to loglinear analysis in order to identify patterns.” (Coombs,
2006, p. 191-192)18

In addition, Image restoration theory represented the
use of mortification (accepting responsibility) and corrective action, but there
might be alternative recommendations to use in this study. For instance,
studies using situational crisis communication theory found no support for
always using mortification and corrective action. Also, the mortification and
corrective action strategies had no greater effect than a simple bolstering
strategy in a criminal violation crisis such as racial discrimination (Coombs,


Approach of the Study

In order to
uncover the media policy used by developing countries, “Changing the Conversation” conducted a qualitative content analysis of three marketing tools:

(1) Press interviews
with developing countries’ state officials

(2) News reports
about conflicts, disasters, and crises in the developing world

(3) Official media
policy adopted by developing countries such as boycotting or
arresting journalists and etc…

The use of
these tools was examined in three groups of sources between 2005 and 2015:

reports about tourism to developing countries that were published in five
central international media outlets: the BBC, the New York Times (NYT),
Associated Press (AP), Ha’aretz, and Time Magazine. These media
outlets are among the leading newspapers in the world and provide a
comprehensive view on global affairs.

eTurboNews, the global
tourism news website established in October 2007. The site is considered to be one of the main websites covering global tourism and followed by a
large portion of the global tourism industry.

research and articles that analyze ways in which developing world leaders treat
the international media.


The following
questions were asked to uncover the policy and strategies employed by
developing countries’ officials toward the international media during crises:

Q1- How did developing countries’ officials
cooperate and develop media relations with the international media during
and after tourism crises?
Q2- How did developing countries’ officials
pressure the international media in order to promote their point of view
during tourism crises?
Q3- Which tools were used to replace and
bypass the international media while trying to reach the Western audience?

Developing Countries

There is no
commonly agreedupon definition for which countries fall in the category of “developing countries”. Each institution
defines the term according to different indicators.

Avraham chose to adopt the
list of countries considered to be developing economies according to the
International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Report from April 2015.28

Data Analyses

Once all the data was collected the researchers made a
qualitative content analysis focused on meanings of words and
visuals, such as metaphors, motifs, labels, definitions, pictures, logos,
symbols, slogans, and generalizations to provide the socialcultural context in
which texts and visuals are produced as well as to reveal the general discourse

The belief is
that these discourse patterns characterize a specific factor, body, or place
and inform us about ways in which they interpret the world and their specific
point of view.


Critique about the Methodology and Research

The Researcher as Interpreter

qualitative issues and practices arise within the context of the interpretive
activity of all humans including the researchers themselves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

“To be human in
this world is to interpret: to assign meaning to experience and view that
meaning as objective” (Methodological Issues and Practices in Qualitative
Research (Jana Bradley)

According to J.
Jaime Mirandaa,b and Justin
Zamanc,d “Exporting Failure”: Why Research from Rich
Countries may not Benefit the Developing World”, when approaching the evidence
for a low and middle income perspective, researchers need to be aware of
context where it comes from, particularly assessing whether the evidence is
relevant to their own setting. A true evidence-based approach requires that the
research and academic community from the developing world have a major say in
the shaping of interventions that address their own needs.

The researcher
in “Changing the Conversation” is an Israeli scientist,
and he published this paper in behalf of Pen State University from the United States. The findings of
his paper rely on his interpretation on the data and world view that he brings
when he analyses the information. If a researcher from a developing country was
doing the analysis, the findings of the paper might have been different.

Variety and Amount of Sources.

A large part of the research data was collected from
western media sources. As the paper wished to present the strategies used by
developing countries in handling western media, using only western media
sources to collect data might not show the entire image. Using local media
sources and academic reviews on the subject and bring the local point of view
of the developing countries would have strengthen the findings validity.. (J.
Jaime Mirandaa,b and Justin
Zamanc,d “Exporting Failure”: Why Research from Rich
Countries may not Benefit the Developing World”)

In addition, the research used only a few specific
media sources and took the data from them. 5 news papers, 1 tourism website and
a few academic papers which the amount they didn’t disclosed. In order to
achieve a higher validity the researcher must use various sources for data
collections (Kothari, C.R.
(2004) Research Methodology. Methods and Techniques. New Age
International Publishers). This sources number is to small, especially the use of only 1 tourism

Research Method:

The paper used only secondary research methods to
investigate the policies taken by developing countries. The research was done
by qualitative content analysis, press interviews with officials, and
examinations of media policy.

To receive a broader and more accurate view it would
have been better to use primary research methods such as conducting Interviews
with the state officials of the researched countries and journalist that were
reporting from there in addition to the content analysis. In In primary data
collection there is a higher quality of sampling compared to secondary data
analyses. Interviewers have much more opportunity to probe for additional
information and generate a rich understanding of attitudes, perceptions,
motivations, etc. In addition Interviewers can generate more insightful responses,
especially regarding sensitive topics. (Advantages and Disadvantages of Four
Interview Techniques in Qualitative Research , Raymond Opdenakker)


of the Study

The results of the study
showed that seven types of
source strategies were used by marketers of developing countries to handle the
international media:

Buying news
space – Purchase of television/radio airtime or newspaper space where they can
promote their agenda.

Developing media
relations and reactions to news items:

techniques (letters to the editor, posts, reactions to news items, and op-eds).

techniques (press conferences, press releases, giving interviews, and making
connections between reporters and sources).

Raising general
and specific complaints about the media:

a.       General complaints about the media

b.      Complaints toward the media in a certain country

c.       Boycott a “biased” media outlet

economic threats

physical threats

Blocking media

a.       Blocking sites and social media

b.      Blocking access to events and conflict areas

Using the
Internet and testimonies as an alternative source

a.       The Internet and social media platforms, YouTube channel, webcam

b.      Testimonies of celebrities/opinion leaders and tourists

about the Results

The paper derived to the strategy patterns by the
analyses for the study cases in developing countries. The research paper claims
that these strategy methods are a pattern that repeats itself in all developing
countries. In the results part of the paper there is an overview of examples of
each one of the 7 strategies in different countries, but we don’t see the
number of how many examples of each strategy was doesn’t show us only a few
examples for each strategy, and we don’t know how many study cases they have
done for each country. They don’t show the results in a numeric/statistic way
to see if indeed the pattern they present is indeed used by all developing

Future Suggestions


Involve the point
of view of the developing countries: In future research it will be
recommended to use also local researches as well as collecting data from
local media sources in order to receive information not only from a
western media point of view.
Use of primary
data collection methods: The research methods used in Avraham’s research
were only an analysis of secondary data. By interviewing state officials
from the subjected countries and journalists that can tell about their own
Use more wider range
of media outlets as data sources: Avraham’s research used only one tourism
website, and 5 newspapers to collect data from To increase validity it’s
recommended to use a larger variety of media sources. Also, to include
papers from a variety of countries to compare the data.
Provide better
explanation to result part: It would have been helpful if there was a
detailed table that shows exactly how the researcher reached the results
in details. The table will show which study cases and strategies belong to
which country, It would have been easier to determine the validity of the




Published by: Penn State University PressCoombs, W. T. (2006). Crisis Management: A
communicative approach. In C. H. Botan & V. Hazleton (Eds.), Public
Relations Theory II (171-197). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Issues and Practices in Qualitative Research
Jana Bradley


and Disadvantages of Four Interview Techniques in Qualitative Research , Raymond


Changing the Conversation: How Developing
Countries Handle the International Mediaduring Disasters, Conflicts, and
Tourism Crises

Author(s): Eli Avraham

Source: Journal of Information Policy, Vol. 7 (2017),
pp. 275-296










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