Case Study 3 : Media Officer
Name Helen Monks
So, what do you actually do?
I work with print, radio and online national and regional journalists to gain coverage for Shelter's core campaigning priorities and fundraising activities, and communicate our position on a broad variety of issues related to bad housing and homelessness.
What does your typical day involve?
A typical day's activities are usually divided between dealing with incoming queries, proactive media work (where we create and sell-in a story) and working with colleagues internally to plan media campaigns.
I deal with a lot of inquiries from journalists and work closely with other departments in Shelter, such as our research and statistics team, to provide them with facts and comment. We also arrange interviews with our key spokespeople and brief them before they speak to the media.
Most days involve working closely with colleagues from other departments to plan and shape upcoming campaigns and activities. I also spend time writing, clearing and issuing press releases or statements, and writing articles.
What's the most memorable experience you've had in this job?
In 2006, Shelter marked its 40th anniversary with a pre-Christmas drive to gain coverage for our call for more social homes for those in need.
We also launched a major new report which revealed that one in seven children in Britain are now homeless or badly housed. On the same day, Shelter unveiled the Wall of Shame, a 30-metre protest installation on London's South Bank to get public support - and the Government's attention - for our call to build more homes to tackle the housing crisis.
Needless to say, the phones barely stopped ringing and our coverage went through the roof. Everyone worked extremely hard and enjoyed the fantastic results - it was a very exciting time for all involved.
How rewarding is your job?
It is very rewarding when something you have worked on has done well you see tangible results in terms of how much coverage a story secured. Sometimes you are lucky enough to feel your efforts might have some part in changing something for the better, whether that's the public's perception of an issue, their willingness to donate money, or policymakers' readiness to focus on lifting people out of bad housing.
Any top tips for someone wanting to get into this work?
Be prepared to work for nothing, even if it's only for a few weeks. Also, if you don't already, read as many newspapers you can everyday, tune into News 24 and Radio 4 as a matter of course to begin honing your news sense.
Tel: 0845 458 4590