Preview – Disaster: The Future of Crisis Communications

Disaster: The Future of Crisis Communications
Friday, March 8
3:30PM – 4:30PM
Austin Convention Center Room 9ABC


Lieutenant Ana Visneski has dealt with many of the major water related disasters Mother Nature has thrown our way in recent years. She has served as Public Information Officer for numerous Hurricane disasters and has designed and provided crisis communications training sessions. As Public Affairs Officer for the United States Coast Guard she has a specialty for disaster response.

The first blogger for U.S. Coast Guard and known by her friends as the “Pusher of Social Media;” Visneski is currently working to bring crisis communications into the future by building and engaging the social media strategy for the coast guard, specifically when dealing with disasters.

Visneski, along with Brandon Brewer, a Public Information Consultant, Hanson Hosein, Director of the Communication in Digital Media graduate program at the University of Washington at Seattle, and her brother, Captain John Visneski, will be presenting the panel Disaster: The Future of Crisis Communications.

“Disaster responders follow a very intricate communication design called the Joint Information Center (JIC) model,” explained Visneski. “The moment disaster people who have never worked together can step right into roles because they are all trained with the same kind of system.”


The panel will cover how the JIC system can be used in any crisis situation and how social media and other technologies are changing the way crisis situations are handled and reported. Each of the four panelists will offer their expertise related to the topic providing insight to help people understand the unique system and it how can be used in many different crisis situations.


Hanson, who is one of the few people that understands the relationship between traditional and new media, will give his perspective on who to send out when faced with choosing between a traditional journalist who is skilled in his craft, or there is the local blogger or social media guru who already has a relationship with the people.


Captain Visneski, Cyberspace Control Officer for the United State Air Force, is the hard knowledge guy of the group. He will discuss how technology plays a role during disasters, covering topics like why SMS messaging typically works when calling features don’t.


brandonBrewer, a retired coast guard member who was the lead Officer during 9/11 and other catastrophic incidents like the Hudson River plane landing will provide expertise on the past, present and future of crisis communications.

Lieutenant Visneski, being the social media guru of the panel will share how first responders use and rely on social media to communicate with their team and the public. “People go to Twitter when disaster hits. We have to be engaged with this social media because if we aren’t telling the stories in the media then someone else will.”

Clearly, the panel consists of highly trained experts who have a lot of information to share, however, their hope is to start a conversation with the audience. “We want to spend half the time for the audience to ask questions and interact,” said Visneski.

The group has been talking about doing this panel for quite some time. “SXSW has a great reputation and is so well know, a lot of our target audience is going to be there.” said Visneski on why they decided to submit a panel for SXSW. The group also plans to be available outside the panel to communicate more about the topic and are available as mentors to anyone interested.

For more in-depth biographies visit the panel’s SXSW Schedule page.