date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 09:11:59 +0000
from: Steve Connor <s.connoratXYZxyz.org.uk>
subject: Re: Tyndall communications post
to: Mike Hulme <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Good to see the Tyndall Centre appointing one of us communications types...
the biggest environmental issue for the 21st Century needs a bit PR boot
behind it... My comments follow:
> Tyndall Centre - External Communications Officer job description
> The newly established Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA
> needs to appoint an energetic and experienced individual, with a science
> degree and PR experience,
... well that's me out of the running. bloody humanities degree. ho hum.
Oh, and it's down at your gaff... I fled from East Anglia at 18 with no
intention of returning!!! (only kidding, I know it's lovely)...
... but back to the ad. Don't know whether you've got the balance wrong
here. What this will get you (and I speak from the experience of a fair few
interview rounds) is a lot of environmental science graduates who have
pole-vaulted into PR over the last few years. You really need to specify a
level of PR experience. For the UKCIP post (which had to be advertised a
second time), we finally asked for AT LEAST 10 years PR/Communications
experience. You are looking for someone with a very broad sweep of
communications skills indeed. A press officer, marketing officer or similar
will not be enough. You are looking for events experience, media relations,
marketing strategy, on line experience and an awareness of the more
mercurial side of PR which is face-to-face, lobbying, influencing etc. I
would be much more rigorous.
> to take responsibility for developing and
> executing the external communications and public relations strategy of the
> Centre. You will work as part of the core Centre staff team, based at UEA,
> that provides the management and co-ordination of the Centre's activities,
> enabling it to fulfil its objectives. You will take primary responsibility
> for managing the Centre's outputs and disseminating them to business,
> government and the public. Specifically, you will:
> � take responsibility for the Centre's publicity material and
> corporate image
> � work with the Training and Web Co-ordinator to oversee the Centre's
> web site
> � identify Tyndall Centre outputs that require wider dissemination
> and place stories in the press and media
> � organise Tyndall Centre media seminars
> � prepare briefing documents on Tyndall Centre outputs
> � liaise with the Press Offices at UEA, UMIST and the University of
> � oversee a range of Public Understanding of Science activities.
This is all spot on as far as I can see, though it might be a good idea to
emphasise the more strategic side of the post, if appropriate. One early
task for any communications professional will be to identify your target
audiences (which will be broad and varied) and put together a pro-active,
hard-hitting strategy based upon a thorough understanding of those
audiences. In my experience climate change holds something for most
audiences but the approaches need to be radically different and carefully
The Public Understanding of Science element may need explaining a little
further - or perhaps that might help you sort out the wheat from the chaff
at application stage. I know that there are a few PR people in the
not-for-profit sector who have done the Public Understanding Masters and it
seems to be a help. On the person spec it might be helpful to look for
concrete experience in this area. It might also be a good idea to look for
someone who has worked in more controversial areas of scientific debate, as
climate change research is undoubtedly going to throw up some very difficult
information in the years ahead (flood risk, health issues, sequestration,
economic instruments etc). You may need more of a troubleshooter in this
> The position requires a first class communicator, with excellent written,
> verbal and visual design skills. Experience of producing high-class
> publicity material and explaining scientific research to a variety of
> audiences is essential. You must have a strong science background and a
> sound working knowledge of the media is desirable. You must be capable of
> establishing good working relationships with the various Tyndall Centre
> partner institutes across the country - especially in Manchester and
> Southampton - and with Tyndall Centre project researchers. You will work
> closely with the Centre's Business Liaison Officer and Training and Web
> Co-ordinator and will receive support from the University's Communications
> Division as appropriate. You will report to the Centre's Executive
> Director. The position will involve some travel to other Tyndall Centre
> partner institutions.
> Salary will be on the Academic and Other Related Staff scale, �21,597 to
> �30,065 per annum (under review). The post is available from 1 October
> 2000 and is for 5 years in the first instance.
... And the salary is about right. I would consider Manager or Director in
the job title (I know it sounds petty but ours is a very, very status-aware
Last word - if this is going into the Guardian then a) you may want a catchy
headline and b) this may be too much copy unless you're going for a quarter
page. If you want it cutting and a headline adding let me know.
Hope that helps Mike. Sarah has sent me the sequestration figures for the
Tourism conference, I'll email them over. On methodology you'll have to
tackle her or Simon as I have no idea what kind of sums they did.
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'Invention is merely the sudden cessation of stupidity'
'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left'