PR: The student perspectve

A few weeks ago I was asked to talk to some current PR students at Sunderland University, as part of an event set up by the CIPR North East.

It was a really interesting day where the students got to quiz some local employers and we got the chance to speak to potential future recruits.

There were some useful exchanges and one of the students Jess Ramsey agreed to write a blog about her thoughts on the PR industry.

Guest Post: Jess Ramsey

Up to the age of 17 I had very little idea what I wanted to do with my life. And then I heard about PR.

For me, public relations is a perfect fit. I love to write – anything and everything – I love being organised and planning ahead, and I love a challenge.

The fact that PR, whether in-house or consultancy, can be so different day-to-day is perhaps one of the biggest plus points – because who wants to be stuck behind a desk every day of the year? Continue reading

Teaching new dogs old tricks: my year as an intern

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I’ve spoken many times about just how much our interns have brought to our comms team. Since setting up the scheme a couple of years ago I’ve been lucky enough to work with eight really talented graduates.

Ian Johnson (@IJohnson5555) is one of our current interns and he’s kindly written this guest post:

After finishing my Master’s degree in June, the opportunity to do an internship at Northumberland County Council was presented to me by an attentive lecturer. He told me, based on my interest and enthusiasm for democratic PR and my desire to move into Government communications, it was just the thing for me.

Continue reading

My eight must-reads for 2014

I know that time is precious (or money, or of the essence, or whatever) but I always think I benefit hugely by setting aside a bit of time to read around the subject.

There’s some great resources out there that will help you do your PR job better, grow in your communications career but also just think a bit differently about how you approach the subject.

So many eureka moments come from reading something helpful that either challenges your ideas completely or – conversely – totally confirms your views of how things should be done. I find that some of the most helpful advice or interesting reading often comes from other sectors or subjects that have nothing really to do with communications.

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Shotgun wedding

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The other weekend I went Clay pigeon shooting deep in the Northumbrian countryside.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes there was tweed but I promise no red trousers or bow tie.

The process of blasting small targets out of the sky with powerful antique firearms is deeply cathartic and I would recommend it to anyone as way to lift stress after another manic day/week/lifetime.

The satisfying clack of shot breaking clay did get me thinking about how we use our communications channels and engage with people in our day jobs. Continue reading

7 thoughts on communications for 2014

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The turn of the year when you’re meant to look forward and make resolutions is well behind us.

Even that bit at the start when everyone dries out and acts miserable is over, so a few state of the nation observations are probably now (over)due. Continue reading

Future skills, influence, Romans and cement

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Apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, public health and social media what have the Romans ever done for us?

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

CIPR Trends 2014

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As we near the end of the year the temptation is always to look backwards at the last 12 months, so it was nice to be asked to look forward and write something on the trends in PR for 2014.

When it comes to making predictions I’m basically in the Paul Gascoigne school of thought – “I don’t make predictions and I never will” – but the CIPR asked for my views and I gave it my best shot. Continue reading

The art of communications: fighting talk

Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution – Will Bring Us

War. What is it good for ? Absolutely nothing, right? WRONG. Not if the ancient text I’ve just finished reading is anything to go by.

But what can we in PR learn from the seminal and oft-quoted military text from ancient china the Art of War by Sun Tzu? Continue reading

The Terrier and the arts


A guest post this week from Kathryn GoodFellow (@forshesajolly) who not only has one of the best twitter handles ever, but does some great work around the arts in South East Northumberland.

The sight of a giant Bedlington Terrier chasing a fire breathing dragon greeted over 800 visitors to Woodhorn Museum last Sunday night. Yep, you read that right.

But, as weird as it sounds, that huge Bedlington Terrier has been a key part of a project supporting more people to create and take part in the arts. Continue reading