Journalism Department

Degree Name

BS in Journalism




Kirk Sturm


The following study investigated the process in designing a social media campaign the effectively conveys a large corporation’s, like Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), essence online during a significant event that will impact the entire community that corporation serves. The trend in social media campaigns to reach a greater audience during events like the potential decommissioning of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant (DCPP) is important and becoming a more efficient approach in keeping the public informed. The campaign’s focus was to restore PG&E’s online presence by taking down real-life concerns of those who will be impacted by the decommissioning of DCPP. With extensive scholarly research, interviews of PG&E officials, and a survey that recorded concerns and reached 233 people, the design of the campaign attempts to change the perspective of PG&E in the eyes of the public of San Luis Obispo (SLO), as well as strives to change the stigma about big corporations and the communities. This stigma was apparent in the way they communicated with the residents of SLO, which was very much in big-corporate fashion during public meetings. Notes were taken of the public’s concerns, but nothing was returned to them in terms of a response. This paper and coinciding project addresses the concerns of the public, while also reiterating the essence of PG&E’s brand online, which has been essentially forgotten by the public. The importance of sensitivity and awareness in the topic of nuclear power is addressed, as well as the corporations that run those nuclear plants. The focus of more effective awareness through a social media campaign and online presence is maintained throughout the study.