PR Profile: Jessica Evans on managing media and communications for Charles Darwin University
Tell me a bit about your work at Charles Darwin University.
I am the Media and Communications Manager at Charles Darwin University. I manage a busy media team of up to seven media and communications professionals as a part of the University’s Marketing, Media and Communications team. Our unit produces everything from the set-up of media events, writing and producing media releases, organising expert commentary in the media, writing speeches, producing a monthly campus newsletter, content creation, photography, videography and more. The media and communications team is a part of a marketing department of about 50 people who support with everything from social media, events, web services, advertising, publicity, content marketing and more.
Could you share some highlights from your time at Charles Darwin, or a particularly interesting part of your job?
The most interesting part of my job is communicating research that has the potential to make positive changes in the community for the betterment of society. I particularly enjoy supporting researchers with how to speak to media in layman’s terms to communicate their research in ways that readers, listeners and media consumers can understand. Being the only university of the Northern Territory we are in a unique position to influence positive outcomes in education for students, and there’s some fantastic initiatives across remote and regional health, education, science and more that are leading to improved outcomes for Territorians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and beyond. It’s been a real pleasure to be a part of communicating all the fantastic research, programs, educators and initiatives that are making such an impact.
You have previously worked as a journalist at several major Australian media organisations and platforms, including the Herald Sun, AAP and Network Ten's The Project. What skills or knowledge do you think you bring from your time as a journalist to your current work?
I really like to hire former journalists as a part of our media unit, as I think it’s the best way to fully appreciate and understand the types of content newsrooms and journalists are looking for and it also gives you a greater understanding about the time pressures, deadlines and environment that journalists are working in. My biggest takeaway from transpiring the knowledge I learnt in metro newsrooms into a university newsroom it to make it as easy as possible for someone to pick up a story you offer up, ensuring experts are primed and available, ensuring your angle is sharp and crafted, offering photos and visuals and being responsive and as helpful as possible.
I can see you have also lectured and tutored at various universities on topics including crafting news angles and press release writing. What is a key message that you would share with people starting out in journalism and communications?
My key message for anyone starting out as a journalist is to move regionally to start your career. It’s much easier to find work and it’s a fantastic training ground to make mistakes, improve your writing. I’d also suggest for anyone developing in their careers to start offering up stories to the newsrooms they want to work for. You may land a dream gig that way.
What's something you could share about yourself that might surprise people?!
In addition to my current role I’m also studying a psychology degree as I have a huge passion for psychology research that helps to lead to improved mental health outcomes for people and helps break the cycle of inter-generational trauma. I have a key interest in how we can make schools and workplaces more trauma informed to help prevent, detect and respond to childhood trauma in our communities.