#93 Allan Yates – moving from journalism to communications
Allan Yates worked as a senior national journalist before moving into media relations, strategy and communications. He has worked with a number of state and federal government departments and institutions including the Australian Institute of Sport, the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and the Australian War Memorial. David Pembroke talked with Allan about the transition from journalism to a comms role.
In this episode they discuss:
- what makes a good story
- how to grab attention
- the future of journalism
- feeding the mainstream media
- how to be a successful self-publisher
- how do you understand your audience?
- the differences between communication in federal and state government
- working with ministers’ offices
Listen to the podcast:
Allan Yates on dealing with the political realm:
I think it’s very important to understand the way parliaments and ministers’ offices and all offices work, and that includes the press gallery. You need to understand the significant demands and pressures that are on ministers’ offices and MPs and their offices on the way through. They are the ones that deal with the public much more than we do. If there’s an issue in an electorate the member of the public will come to the MP about it, so that’s very important. The other thing I think is incredibly important is to be honest. You need to be seen as an honest trader to gain the confidence of parochial political people. Alongside that I think in terms of working within parliament it’s very important to make sure that if you’ve got a product that product is accessed by all MPs. For example, MPs briefings hosted by the minister have always been something which is either been, if it’s a bit sensitive, resisted strongly by the office or alternately it’s something that the ministers see as an opportunity to provide access to all MPs. MPs look for stories as much as the media do.
They want to have good news stories to go out to their electorate with, so they are always looking for policies, programmes, funding programmes which might be of interest to their electorate, to their voters, specific voters, so they have a great interest in what goes on around parliament beyond their own electorate. I think from the minister’s point of view it’s often a very good thing to be able to present to the breadth of parliament through the MPs. Not just a press conference, but an MPs briefing.”