Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Committee Member

Nick Romerhausen

Committee Member

Doris Fields

Committee Member

Dennis Patrick


Released on July 19, 2013, the documentary Blackfish highlighted the mistreatment of dangerous sea-life and the lack of employee training at the aquatic zoological theme park SeaWorld. Considering the immense reputational damage suffered by SeaWorld, this study uses qualitative content analysis to examine SeaWorld’s Twitter ( response to the Blackfish crisis. An inductive method of coding highlights overall themes present in SeaWorld’s tweets while the deductive method of coding utilizes Benoit’s (1997) image repair theory to determine how this tourism organization utilizes Twitter as a medium of image restoration. The results prompt suggestions for clarifying image repair theory as well as the use of social media in crisis response.