Communications Officer - Duncan Connors

Simon and I have worked together on a number of press releases. Issues such as the proposed closure of the Sussex chemistry department, the AUT action short of a strike and others should be commented upon by the NPC in the national press as we have endeavoured to do so. We could do this better, but that depends on the reform of the ridiculous (and subjective) system for remote votes allowing for policies to be made in real time and a press statement to be made accordingly. Thanks to Andre Oboler and Erich Kofmel for assisting with the creation of press releases.

Simon and I have liaised concerning literature for the upcoming conference. Simon has done some sterling work here, as has Andrew Green.

With the upcoming conference, an idea was raised of producing a PN containing 500 papers based upon what the presenters stated at the conference. This would be a very good idea and would widen our appeal somewhat. Simon and I are liaising over this.

Postgraduate News (PN) is still an issue, but one that is close to resolution. I have a number of articles or articles in progress from Simon, Andre Oboler, Erich Kofmel, David Bean and myself. There are others whiling to write articles, but they have to confirm whether they will be able to write one or not. With the Eurodoc conference, articles on that event would be of use, Harpreet Singh perhaps could write a few words on this. A chairpersons address would be nice, too. However, after the OGM once all the articles are collected then I will be forwarding them to Andrew to put together for an issue.

Relations with the press have improved, particularly with THES where we have become less of a minority interest in recent months. Earlier in the year I wrote a response to the Q&A section (it is on the inside of the last page) which was published and we have had a number of inquiries for NPC opinions from them. Simon and I still need to meet with the Guardian, but once that has been done I am sure that the NPC will recreate the positive relationship weve had with that paper in the past.

However, and I say this as someone who knows the business, we must be careful of what we say to the press and how we say it. This is because they get confused easily (trust me on that) and what you state in a personal capacity can be misconstrued and taken as being NPC policy, it has happened in the past. Moreover, if we all work together on our press responses, we can project an NPC message which will to be to the benefit of us all. Even if an email is not addressed to you (i.e. Me) if it has to do with the press and if it has to do with the NPC, it is my business so please pass the details along.

I dont want to, but as no one else will and as Simon does not have the time to sort out a shipping company, I will be picking up the archives from Glasgow at the beginning of July. Well, it is one thing to ask, it is another to order, but it takes someone standing up for things to happen and therefore I get up out of my Easychair come July and head north....

Duncan Philip Connors

Communications Officer

Wednesday, June 7, 2006