You are the message

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I’ve just finished reading a book that was written in the 1980s and like big hair or grindingly depressing economic news much of the advice contained in its yellowing pages seems to be back in vogue.

Roger Ailes wrote You are the message in 1989 and although it’s primarily about speaking in front of an audience, there’s a wealth of communications & PR advice that’s still relevant today.

In fact, Ailes himself defines an ‘audience’ as anyone more than yourself. It could be two colleagues in a meeting or a million people watching on TV.

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My year as a PR intern


This week I’ve turned the blog over to Hanif Laylabi (@hanifleylabi) our comms intern who leaves us at the end of the month. A year ago – inspired by the new CIPR intern guidelines – I decided to take the plunge and hire a university graduate for the first time.

I wrote about the start of the scheme here and everyone on it has been brilliant. The standard of graduates in the marcomms space in the North East is truly first class. Over to you Hanif.

Back in spring 2012, I was completing the taught part of my MA in Public Relations at the University of Sunderland and was looking forward to a long summer of dissertation writing.

One of my tutors had begun to email the class job and work experience opportunities, but I was set on finishing my dissertation first before I took on the job of finding work. Continue reading


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In Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1987 film Full Metal Jacket the irascible old drill sergeant looks down the long line of new recruits and barks:

“From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be ‘Sir’. Do you maggots understand that? You will not laugh, you will not cry, you will learn by the numbers and I will teach you.”

Yes, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman was happy to give out some pretty clear instructions and he certainly knew exactly what he wanted from his new starters.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) it’s rarely so clear cut for most of us when we’re looking to break into the sector or find that new role in PR.

I asked some of the communications people who’ve influenced me the most what key skills and attributes you need to stand out from the crowd and get hired.

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