Crisis in Motion

February 21, 2018
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
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UCO Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK 73129
Venue Website


Crisis in Motion

A case study on crisis response and communications from one of the professionals who responded to a terrorist attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino County, California.

On Dec. 2, 2015, 14 people lost their lives and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. Syed Rizwan Farook, a health inspector for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, opened fire at an office event. Farook and Malik were killed in a police chase and shootout a few hours after the attack.

C.L. Lopez, the San Bernardino County Human Services communications officer, never thought her communications team would be responding to what was the second-deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11. She was tasked with coordinating immediate crisis response while also knowing some of her friends and coworkers were in the room during the attack. Join PRSA-OKC to hear Lopez discuss how years of developing and honing crisis communications plans carried their team through the days and weeks following the attack.


In this session, you will learn:

  • The steps Lopez and her team took to correct misinformation initially reported by news outlets.
  • How to identify and organize information that should be distributed hours, days and weeks after a crisis, and how to select the best distribution methods.
  • How to add to your existing plan to create a media strategy in the moment.
  • Balancing journalists’ demands while maintaining the integrity of your organization, and best practices for managing local and national media.
  • Lessons Lopez learned in communicating during a crisis.



About the speaker

C.L. Lopez has been the San Bernardino County Human Services Communications Officer since 2012, overseeing communications in eight departments in the largest geographic county in the United States. She is an adjunct professor of public relations at California Baptist University and is past president of the California Association of Public Information Officials. Her team has had coverage from The Associated Press, Good Morning America, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, People, and The Huffington Post. Her team has received multiple NACo Achievement Awards, CAPIO Awards of Excellence and PRSA Polaris Awards. She has received training from the California Specialized Training Institute California Emergency Management Agency and is a graduate of CAPIO’s J. Lindsey Wolf PIO Institute. During her journalism career, she wrote for daily newspapers, served as president of the Society of Professional Journalists Inland Chapter, won awards from The Associated Press, and was a USC California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in Public Relations from California Baptist University.



$22.00 PRSA Members

$32.00 Non-PRSA Members

$17.00 PRSSA Students

$22.00 Non-PRSSA Students