Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund 2016 BA Scholar
As my friends and family know, I have always been extremely career driven. At the tender age of ten I was ordering every university in the county’s prospectus’ to my family home, dreaming of a successful career. After completing an eye-opening internship in my first year, I was determined to get more experience under my belt.
Whilst I am terribly lucky to have had such a worthwhile first internship at an amazing beauty and lifestyle agency, and forever grateful, it really put my aspirations into perspective. I learnt I wanted to develop a career in a cause more worthwhile of my time; the environment. Luckily for me, I learnt of a volunteering opportunity going in the Soil Association’s press office from a fellow student. A few phone calls and emails later, and it was in the bag. With this week being my last, I have recognised considerable differences in myself – as a student and as a person.
My first day started with a surprising lie-in in comparison to my university wake-up call, with still enough time to avoid having to frantically run to catch the bus. Arriving five minutes earlier than told, I was keen to make a good first impression on team – and I think it worked. Despite one of the press office managers telling me they were juggling a few volunteers over April, I was the only one in that day which made it slightly less daunting. After being introduced to the team, greeted with a bar of Green & Blacks and briefed on the all things organic, I got cracking with measuring the organisations coverage for the day and distributing it out to the necessary teams. Whilst I knew measuring coverage was the backbone of public relations, it was interesting to be able to use new tools I had not been exposed to before in a real-life situation. After refueling on a Bearrito, I focused on the creative side of press office duties, summarising some key organic and environmental stories for their weekly newsletter before returning home.
In my first week, I expressed my eagerness to be part of some pitching as this is one practical element of PR that we don’t experience at university. As this is quite an important task, I didn’t think I would be allowed to phone journalists so soon into my time with the Soil Association, but the team were very encouraging for me to get involved. So much so that they thought it would be an insightful for me to follow a story from searching for relevant contacts, to writing the press release, to getting it published. Whilst the local story was far from going global, I was over the moon when my journalist phone conversation led to the story becoming a nib in local London paper. Whilst I had heard about the rush practitioners get, it was hard to relate from the 4 corners of a classroom, however, the press office was just as proud as I was of my mini accomplishment.
My third week happened to be the week before the launch of the Soil Associations latest greenwashing within the beauty industry campaign, and the whole press office seemed to be in overdrive. Amongst my usual routine of measuring coverage and writing about important news stories for their weekly Organic News, I was asked to help compile a list of all the press contacts we could pitch to on the day of the launch. Whilst this job doesn’t sound super exciting, I quite enjoyed searching for important media contacts knowing that on launch day, I could be pitching to any one of them.
And finally, Campaign for Clarity’s launch day was finally here. It was far less hectic than I originally anticipated, and after an informal meeting with the team, my anxiety was put at ease. Armed with all the information I could possibly need and some Pukka mint tea (a bonus of working for an organic NGO I will miss terribly), I was ready to get pitching to the mass media. And it didn’t go too badly either. There were some curve-ball questions thrown at me, and some uninterested receptionists, but other than that the experience was positive and thrilling.
Rhys Buchanan was awarded a CALF scholarship in 2015, he has a background in music journalism and is passionate about fighting climate change. Rhys has been mentored by the Guardian's Online Environment editor Adam Vaughan and through the support of the fund has established his own online E-zine called The Know, which brings together is passion for social issues together with his love of music. Here Rhys tells you about The Know...
The concept behind the already growing website is to act as a platform for musicians in Bristol and Portland to gain exposure internationally. I feel it’s important for the site to use it’s growing following to discuss important issues such as the struggle of local music venues as well as wider ethical and global issues. Why Bristol and Portland? Both cities are forward thinking in terms of their political values, creative and collaborative scenes and have a focus away from major destinations such as London and New York. It offers us a quirky and unusual base to start from.
It offers us a starting point in two locations which means we have a much bigger reach from the get go. Subsequently this means we can access larger artists and musicians for interviews. (For example a band might be big in England but still emerging in the USA) so we could use tours to get access to them. It offers us a starting point in two locations which means we have a much bigger reach from the get go. Subsequently this means we can access larger artists and musicians for interviews. (For example a band might be big in England but still emerging in the USA) so we could use tours to get access to them.
This has already been received very well amongst both scenes and with PR companies. I’ve spoken to The Bristol Post and student radio about it. We’ve had a stage at local festival Dot To Dot Bristol and acted as a judge for Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition.
We’re growing at a fast rate and feel a print issue would be a key way in making The Know sustainable going forward through advertising. The first print issue would primarily be distributed in key cultural hubs across Bristol and some in Portland. There is the need to go large to attract advertisers so I feel like a goal of 5000 copies is important to reach. To fund this amount of 32 page magazines will cost approximately £800 through Mixam. I feel that the scholarship would really help achieve this but we could also get some advertising revenue which would lower the cost.
The Crispin Aubrey Legacy Funding toward the website have been invaluable. It’s given it a professional appearance and enabled me to move it away from being a Wordpress blog to something with hosting and it’s own URL. This was vital to be taken seriously by PR companies and future advertisers. Read The Know Magazine.