By Daniel Laufer PhD, MBA
Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington


Between 2019-2023 I wrote a monthly column on Crisis Management for leading newspapers in New Zealand, including the New Zealand Herald, The Post, National Business Review (“NBR”), and the most widely read news website in New Zealand, “Stuff”. My column appeared over twenty-five times. I felt that writing a newspaper column would be an excellent way to engage with the public on topics related to my area of expertise. In terms of my background, I have conducted research on topics related to Crisis Management for over 20 years (, and I have also taught courses on Crisis Management on both undergraduate and MBA levels ( I believe that writing a newspaper column is an excellent way to engage with the Public, and it may be of interest to EUPRERA members as well.

The topics that I wrote about in my column on Crisis Management were inspired by high profile crises that occurred in New Zealand and overseas, and several were related to the Public Relations Industry in New Zealand and the New Zealand Government. For example, back in May 2021 I wrote an article “When PR firms become the news, it’s a different kind of crisis” ( The idea for the article came about because of media reports of inappropriate behaviour of a person described as a Public Relations consultant. This individual was reported to have participated in a meeting at a hotel in Australia where the victim of sexual assault was pressured to withdraw his complaint against a prominent businessman, the client of the Public Relations consultant. For my article I interviewed the President of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, and I examined how the PR Industry Group handled ethics complaints in the past filed against their members. After gathering information for the article, I concluded that the issue was not related to problems with the PR Industry Group’s code of ethics, but a matter of people engaging in Public Relations work that are not subject to the code of ethics because they are not members of the PR Industry group.

Another topic that I covered in my column involved a controversy surrounding the creation of a memorial for victims of a crisis ( The location for the memorial was proposed by the New Zealand government to commemorate the victims of the worst plane crash in New Zealand’s history. In 1979, an Air New Zealand flight to Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus, killing all 257 passengers and crew.

The New Zealand government decided to create a national memorial in a park in Auckland to honour the victims of the crisis. However, the choice of the site of the memorial was controversial and generated opposition from the local community. In my article I discussed the importance of not only consulting with the victims’ families before creating a memorial, but also the people that live in the communities that house the memorials.

Writing my newspaper column was an excellent experience, and I encourage other scholars to consider becoming columnists as a way to engage with the public in their areas of expertise. I wrote an article in Public Relations Review on the topic that also may be of interest to EUPRERA members in writing a newspaper column (