Crisis leadership by mayors: a qualitative content analysis of newspapers and social media on the MH17 disaster.
Jong, W., Dückers, M.L.A., Velden, P.G. van der. Crisis leadership by mayors: a qualitative content analysis of newspapers and social media on the MH17 disaster. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management: 2016, 24(4), 286-295
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in the Ukraine on 17 July 2014 with 193 Dutch passengers on board. The present study assessed which MH17-related activities (or absence of certain activities) of 54 mayors from the Netherlands were mentioned in (social) media and if and how they were evaluated. Analyses of newspaper articles and social media showed that public ‘meaning making’ and ‘remembering’ by mayors can be considered as a table stake or conditio sine qua non. Mayors are expected to speak at memorials and attend community activities. Strong appreciation was however retrieved from victims’ families whenever mayors visited them with a listening ear in the privacy of their homes, demonstrating the role mayors can fulfil as mourners-in-chief in local communities.