2021 Pre-Conference Sessions

Blocking or Deleting Facebook Trolls Could Get You Sued - Best Practices for Managing Social Media Comments Without Violating the First Amendment

What do you do when a comment appears on your social media feed that’s contrary to your agency’s values or ignites controversy with the public? Do you know what you can (and cannot) post on social media during an investigation and prosecution? Knowing how the First Amendment applies to your social media feeds can protect you from a lawsuit, legal fees, and damages. Many public emergency services personnel are confused about legal issues surrounding social media comments, and most government attorneys don’t understand social media. Get practical tips from a social media expert who is also an attorney who advises public safety agencies. This won’t be dry legal humdrum –expect funny, real life examples that will make your social media feeds better and smarter.

Learn about:

  • Whether your social media is a “public forum”
  • What social media content is protected as free speech
  • How to write a social media policy that won’t be successfully challenged
  • When you can delete comments
  • When you can block users
  • Best practices to avoid successful legal challenges

Presenter: Mark Weaver - President - Communications Counsel

CityArchRiver Project Tour & Trip to the Top! (Sold Out)

The Gateway Arch National Park, formerly named Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is a downtown St. Louis oasis. Amid the beautifully forested surroundings found within one of the few urban national parks west of the Mississippi River, attendees will find well-paved paths, native species and more.

The CityArchRiver project, which was completed in 2018, made St. Louis' beloved Gateway Arch National Park, the Mississippi Riverfront and Kiener Plaza accessible for everyone to experience by connecting, invigorating and expanding the park’s grounds and museums. 

In this pre-conference session, you'll join the Communications Director from the Gateway Arch Foundation as she leads attendees through the newly renovated, state-of-the-art CityArchRiver project. The tour will start at Kiener Plaza named after Harry Kiener, a USA Track & Field member who competed at the 1904 Olympics (to which St. Louis played host).

Next, you'll hear about the history of the Old Courthouse, which was built in the mid-1800s and where some of the most pivotal cases in American history were tried. You will walk the Arch grounds and see sweeping views of the Riverfront. The tour guide will inform attendees about the historic and architectural significance of the area and will share details about the universally accessible components of this massive National Park project. We'll end the tour at the newly renovated Museum at the Gateway Arch. The Museum covers 201 years of history about the westward expansion of the United States with an emphasis on St. Louis' role in that era. Interactive story galleries will guide you through the time from the founding of St. Louis in 1764 to the building of the Arch in 1965. At the conclusion of the tour, attendees will have the opportunity to board a tram to the top of the Arch.

Presenter: Samantha Fisher - Director of Communications - Gateway Arch Park Foundation

For the Love of Cities

How to fall in love with your city, the economic benefits to emotional engagement and how to engage your residents as development resources.  Emphasis on issues related to city and county communicators and the role that they play in community development.  Also explores post pandemic community development issues and opportunities. 

Presenter: Peter Kageyama - For the Love of Cities

How To Spark Innovation After An Unexpected Crisis

After experiencing the effects of the novel Coronavirus pandemic for nearly 18 months, some front line and essential employees have had numerous challenges simply trying to do their jobs in a way where they could feel safe from COVID-19, be productive at work, and feel appreciated.

In crisis communications, there are various ways to keep the public updated with the most current information.  In this pre-conference session, we will discuss innovative ways to reach residents/constituents/citizens with messages that may have become politicized, difficult to address, and ideas on how to find ways to convey a message of unity.

Presenter: LaTonya Pegues - The Unconscious Bias Trainer