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Derek Arnold - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Derek Arnold Derek Arnold

Senior Instructor, Communication | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences | Villanova University


Derek Arnold, M.A., researches business and political scandals, as well as the mitigating effects of crisis management and communication.






Conspiracy Theories (July 2016)


Areas of Expertise (5)


Business and Political Scandal

Crisis Management and Communication

Political Communication

Conspiracy Theory


The highly charged areas of business and political scandal -- how they evolve, how they are covered by the news media, and how their destructive effects can be mitigated through crisis management and communication -- are Professor Arnold's specialty. He is also a good source for discussions on conspiracy theories -- how they are formulated and how to defend against them.

Education (2)

Purdue University: M.A.

LaSalle University: B.A.

Select Media Appearances (6)

San Bruno explosion hangs over PG&E amid wildfire investigation

The San Francisco Chronicle  


In some cases, it might be a good idea for the company to show some kind of contrition, said Derek Arnold, a professor at Villanova University who specializes in crisis management. “Depending on both the level of damage the event has caused and the amount of responsibility the company wishes to take for its occurrence, it may have to even apologize,” Arnold wrote in an email. But “an organization has to consider the type of apology it wants to go on record for which it is taking accountability,” he wrote. “The framing of this apology is important to convey the proper tone of contrition.”

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Why Princess Diana conspiracy theories refuse to die

cbsnews.com  online


August 31 is the 20th anniversary of the stunning, tragic death of Princess Diana in Paris, France, when Diana's chauffeured Mercedes hit a pillar inside an underpass just after midnight, killing her, her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed, and her driver, Henri Paul. As the news quickly circulated, theories about the causes of the crash also spread, with some veering into conspiracy. Did the ruthless paparazzi, in hot pursuit of the car, cause the driver to panic? Had the royal family murdered her to avert an embarrassing marriage? Twenty years later, these conspiracy theories still persist.

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What Reality TV Taught Trump, According to Professors Who Study It

The Chronicle of Higher Education  


Derek Arnold, an instructor at Villanova University who teaches communication, says the president's use of Twitter lets him "simulate reality TV," keeping control of the "script" by bypassing the traditional news media. "Each display is no more than a sentence or two," Mr. Arnold says, "keeping issues small and condensed, showing readers that, just like a reality show, many issues can be summed up in just a few key thoughts." Viewers can "check in a few times a day to make sure the issues will get solved," Mr. Arnold says, "and, ultimately, see that our president is ‘on the job.’ It’s like we are binge-watching some kind of ‘America’ television show, in small bites, happy there are no commercials to fast forward through" ...

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How to Get People to Evacuate? Try Fear

The New York Times  


Derek Arnold, an instructor at Villanova University who has a background in crisis communication and management, said radio and television stations can notify residents of evacuations, but apps and text messages can also deliver them right to their smartphones.

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Hawks Owner Stumbles While Seeking White Fans

The Associated Press  online


It seems benign at first: Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson wanted to sell more tickets to white people. The problem arose with Levenson’s email describing his solution: Decrease the percentage of black people at his games. The email drew widespread condemnation, and led to Levenson’s decision to sell his controlling share of the pro basketball team. But the problem was Levenson’s approach to reaching those customers, said Derek Arnold, a Villanova University communications professor who studies business scandals.

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Conspiracy Theory Mentality

WHYY  radio


Dan Gottlieb and his guests Derek Arnold and Michael J. Wood discuss conspiracy theory mentality. Who is likely to hatch a conspiracy theory, and why are these stories so prevalent and alluring?

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