Gwyn David Lecture: Crisis Communications in the Age of Social Media

The 2015 Gwyn David Lecture will be given by Stephen Marino, president and chief strategy officer at DC-based agencyQ, and Chris Jones, vice president of Pierpont Communications in Houston.

The duo will discuss how to manage crisis communications in the age of social media on Thursday, April 16, at 9:30-11 am in the Belo Center for New Media, Room 5.102 (Presentation Room).

For those unable to attend, a livestream of the presentations will be available on the SRS YouTube channel at this link:

Three years after delivering an unforgettable presentation about BP’s social media use during the Deepwater Horizon incident, Marino will return to UT with the lecture “Corporate Reputation Management in Social Media: How to Manage Your Content for Long Term Success.”

With the rise of social media over the past 5 to 7 years playing a great role in the communications plans of companies, we now have the ability to look back over time and study the success (or lack thereof) of content strategies. In the nearly 5 years since the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010, BP has continued to use social media, as deliberately planned, as a platform in which to rebuild the reputation of the company coming out of the spill and during the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico affected region. But how successful have they been and what does the body of work show us over time? Has BP evolved the strategy to build upon all the money and work spent to repair and restore the damage done, or have they strayed from this strategy and focused more on the day-to-day temperament of current events in an effort to achieve short-term goals?

In the second presentation, Jones will speak on “How to Turbocharge Your Ox Cart: Crisis Communications in the Time of Twitter.” In this session, Jones brings his “big picture” perspective to the conversation by delving into the why and how communication professionals, in times of crises, must learn to harness social media rather than attempt to control it. Specifically, he will review recent actual crisis response situations to examine the role social media played in both the media and the crisis response teams responsible for communications.  

The Gwyn David Lecture Series was created in honor of the late Gwyn David, a 1979 graduate of the College of Communication. David was senior vice president and media director of GSD&M, an Austin-based advertising agency.


Stephen Marino

Stephen brings over 22 years of experience to agencyQ in developing digital business and communication strategies, as well as social Web development solutions. Prior to that, he spent a combined 10 years at global PR firms OgilvyPR and MSLGroup heading up social and digital for North America for both agencies, with a focus on issue, crisis and reputation management using those channels to communicate with affected audiences.

Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Boston University and a master’s degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Chris Jones

Chris brings more than 20 years of communications experience in the energy industry to Pierpont’s public relations clients. Chris’ areas of expertise include internal and external communications, investor relations, strategy development, and corporate philanthropy. Chris is also a FEMA certified crisis communications professional, leading the crisis preparation and response team for many of the firm’s energy clients.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management.

Staff Writer