Students studying Media Relations went to the coal face to meet the man in charge of PR for one of Liverpool’s leading cultural attractions.
Sometimes to understand how PR works, you just have to be there. That’s why PR tutors make a point of taking students out into the real world to find out more. A group of six students met Dominic Beaumont, head of Public Relations for the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres. It is much easier for students to understand what is needed to work in PR, and to see themselves in those roles, if they get a chance to see the reality.
This visit was one of a number organized by the PR team at Edge Hill University. (This injection of culture followed a similar trip to find out how Everton Football Club deals with the media circus.) Students toured the theatre, looking behind the scenes and getting a sense of the environment in which the marketers, communicators and others work. They then heard from, and had a chance to question, Dominic, who regularly organizes national print and broadcast coverage of the two theatres. The Everyman reopened a few years ago after a massive renovation exercise. Dominic talked the students through the campaign to get media coverage of the relaunch, while answering questions about targeting, generating ideas and keeping journalists informed. Balancing the needs of Radio 4’s Front Row programme with the demands of the Guardian and the constant clamour for local news from the Liverpool Echo is not always easy. Students heard how the balancing act is managed, with tact, persistence and quite a bit of humour.
Says PR Lecturer Paula Keaveney: “ Organising visits for students is more complicated than running a classroom session. We do this though to help them think, even in first year, about the world of work and about making contacts. As we were leaving, Dominic was already answering extra questions from one of the group and I know he’ll be happy to be contacted again”.