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Monday, 4 March 2013

Media Relations from the Commission Frontlines

Source: Sustainability Consult
At the 12th Sustainability Communications Lunch today, we were joined by Joseph Hennon, Spokesman for European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.  Joe gave us some insights into the life of an official Commission spokesman.  Like most media professionals, his job is part handling incoming questions from the media and part pitching stories to the media, particularly linked to key policy areas like resource efficiency, green growth, waste, clean air and water.  

Twitter has become increasingly important in the last couple of years, Joe said, serving as a way to track trending media stories and as an instant news feed.  But the traditional means of press release distribution still applies for the European Commission as the press database Rapid has around 30,000 subscribers, most of them journalists.  You can follow the Environment Commissioner on Twitter on @JanezPotocnikEU.

Finding novel ways to reach the media is something close to Joe Hennon's heart. On Thursday, Joe will be organising a press conference with British actor Jeremy Irons and the Environment Commissioner.  Jeremy Irons is behind the movie Trashed which puts the spotlight on the issue of waste.  The press conference will coincide with the launch of the Commission's Green Paper on plastic waste.  As Joe predicts, the Commission press room will be packed out for that press conference.

Joe also has Commissioner Potocnik pop into the Midday Briefing from time to time to give the EU media direct access to environmental news.  And the issues which grab the attention of both EU correspondents and national press the most? Resource efficiency, biodiversity and infringements of EU law.

The Commissioner's Spokesman is also involved in planning the Commissioner's trips to the Member States and third countries and makes sure there is time to talk to the press and meet NGOs and citizens.  When he's not on the podium for the Commission, Joe is on stage with Irish and Scottish band Shantalla.  Having heard the clip on their website, I think I might just be a fan.  Check them out @shantallamusic.

The next Sustainability Communications Lunch will be on Monday 25 March.  We'll send more information nearer the time.  Thanks to everyone who attended and to Joe Hennon for taking time out to share his experiences with us.

Blog by Kathryn Sheridan

1 comment:

  1. Is public relations/media relations a good career to embark on? What do media relations do..? Do they make a lot.. what qualifications would I need to become a public relations specialist in media relations.