Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don W. Stacks - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Donn J. Tilson - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Bruce Garrison - Outside Committee Member


Complex foodborne threats to public health and safe food supplies are increasing with each passing day, serving as a great challenge to food corporations today. This thesis, selecting the Mengniu Dairy milk scandal as the subject of the study, is aimed to examine how newspapers reported and evaluated Mengniu milk crisis and crisis management in the 2008 Chinese milk scandal and to provide suggestions to Mengniu Dairy's crisis management, as well as the Chinese food industry in general. It is a significant step towards exploring the crisis management strategy of a food company in a non-Western setting under a circumstance in which crisis responsibility is ambiguous. To accomplish this, a content analysis of 253 articles ranged from September 11, 2008, to September 10, 2009, on 10 Chinese newspapers' Web sites was conducted. The results of the coding supported an argument that apology and product recall were not good enough for the milk crisis and identified the significant role of the Chinese government in food crisis management. Two suggestions are offered by the study. First, building a good external relationship and cooperating with the local government. Second, being proactive and addressing public safety during the pre-crisis stage. Further, recommendations for further study are enclosed.


Crisis Management Strategies; Apolgy; Mengniu Dairy; Product Recall