Claire Hamilton, one of the BBC’s political correspondents in the North West, paid a visit to Edge Hill’s Public Relations course earlier this month (February). Claire is based in Liverpool at BBC Radio Merseyside where she reports for both radio and TV. Edge Hill already has links with the broadcaster. Students have been on visits and staff take part in the breakfast programme on a regular basis. Claire’s visit was an opportunity to make those links stronger.
The reporter joined first year students studying media relations, aka the art of getting stories printed, broadcast or on the web. It is an essential part of Public Relations, and can only work if relationships with journalists are strong and if PR people understand what makes a good news story.
Claire discussed her work and how stories are researched and covered. Students watched, and then discussed her most recent piece of coverage, a Sunday Politics piece about the forthcoming mayoral elections and what Brexit might mean for the candidates. Candidates had been filmed in different locations and were trying out different messages. Students discussed how these choices were made. And then it was up to the team. Groups worked on their own proposal for a hypothetical launch with the BBC visitor giving feedback about what would, and wouldn’t, work for programme makers.
Claire’s visit is one of a series featuring journalists and broadcasters. Previous speakers have included TV editor Peter Berry and print journalist Ollie Cowan. Says Senior Lecturer in PR Paula Keaveney; “ it’s really important that students understand and experience the reality of media relations as well as the theory. Working with the media effectively needs both planning and an ability to make quick changes as the news agenda moves on. We make a point of providing these real-world opportunities for our students”
Public Relations at Edge Hill can be studied as a Single Honours degree or in combination with Politics or Marketing.