Media Manager, Tom
Job title: Media Manager in Corporate Services Group function
Firstly, can you tell us about your day-to-day role, what it involves, and what you enjoy most about it?
Working in Corporate Communications at DE&S, you get to interact with so many different areas of the organisation. In basic terms, media managers deal with the coordination and production of both proactive news releases on organisational achievements and reactive statements to queries from external media outlets. Ultimately, both roles serve to enhance and protect the reputation of the organisation. You may be working on a news release about a contract for a tank, fighter jet, destroyer, autonomous systems, or logistics systems. It’s very varied and that’s deliberate, as it’s key to better understanding the organisation, personal development, and keeping things interesting!
Although COVID-19 has largely intervened over the last two years, we also plan media events and support our seniors when they are talking to the media or presenting at major defence events.
Reactive communications can be fast-paced, and we have to work at speed with key stakeholders on the military front line and in industry to make sure we coordinate approved and accurate responses for the media.
What was your pathway into this career?
I’ve been a journalist all my career. I graduated from university with a degree in English in 2000, and then went to Highbury College in Portsmouth which has a very well-respected National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) programme. From there, I got a job with the Gloucestershire Echo as a trainee news reporter and over the next 15 years worked for Gloucester News Service, Western Daily Press and The Bristol Post in a variety of roles including news, features, and sport.
I came to DE&S in 2015. At the time, I felt that the traditional role of a journalist was shifting and was looking for a role which was more secure, and I’ve found that here.
What learning and development opportunities are available to you in your role?
Team members across Corporate Communications are encouraged to add strings to our bow by learning new skills and taking new opportunities so we can progress our career and achieve our ambitions.
There are numerous opportunities available to learn different skills, including courses in crisis communications, digital PR and social media, writing for online audiences, and communications strategy to name a few. I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) who share lots of interesting information about the latest trends and innovations in the communications world, as well as having numerous training courses to help you develop.
What do you find rewarding about your job?
In our role we get to speak to people in a range of interesting roles across the organisation – including the CEO – and can write about some of the amazing work that is done here. Our delivery teams are rightly very proud in delivering to the UK Armed Forces and it’s great to be a part of celebrating their achievements.
What are some of the benefits of working at DE&S?
For someone coming from the newspaper industry, the benefits package at DE&S is excellent – the idea of flexitime when I joined was a strange new concept! In the past I’ve also made great use of the gym facilities and squash courts at our site in Abbey Wood. It’s also worth signing up for the Defence Discount Card when you join, which offers lots of retail and food discounts.
How does DE&S support you to find the right work-life balance?
Before the pandemic I’d only ever worked from home on three days in my life! It took me time to adapt, but I really see the value in home working. I’m pleased that DE&S has committed to hybrid working and I see that as another benefit to working here – it certainly helps make the school pickup much easier.
Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
I’m a big fan of the rugby and have regularly been going to watch matches at Kingsholm Stadium – the home of Gloucester Rugby – since I was 11 (more than 30 years ago now!).
What’s one thing that might surprise people about you?
I helped break the story about a ‘Fathers 4 Justice’ campaigner dressed as Batman who protested on the front of Buckingham Palace – a story that went worldwide.
Would you recommend DE&S to others as a great place to work, and if so, why?
If you like the idea of working within a big organisation where there are opportunities to develop your skills and progress your career, I’d say the Civil Service is an excellent option.