Name: Justin Jeffreys
Job Title: Programme publicity manager and head of press for commercial and online for ITV.
My position in a nutshell… My main responsibility is anything regarding communication – communicating business goals and achievements, and any big programmes to journalists, newspapers, both print and online, and anyone who books talent for TV and radio.
How I got the job… I did a journalism and broadcasting degree at university and also got involved. in the student radio station. From there I was lucky enough to get work experience at a PR agency that had a great culture of getting people in at the early stages of their careers and training them up. I stayed there for seven years before securing the job at ITV, which was my ultimate goal.
My typical day… The brilliant thing about this job, is that there isn’t one. There could be all sorts of challenges thrown at you, some of which you may know about in advance and some that come out of the blue, but that is the joy of it. There is a lot of writing involved –press releases, or press packs – and I am on the phone a lot too, to journalists, agents and producers. Being able to communicate well is key. There is also space to be creative – I’m always thinking of new ways to get our messages out there, or how to launch a show differently.
My most memorable moment… It’s one of those jobs where so much happens, even in the space of a week, so picking one memory is really difficult. There are a lot of things that I am proud of – to have launched Love island and to have seen it become this huge, popular, show. I am also proud of the relationships that I have forged such as working with contestants on The X Factor – looking after them and their families, training them to interact with media, helping them navigate this new, exciting world that they are experiencing – I get a real sense of fulfilment from that.
The worst part of my job… Any job can be quite stressful and it’s just about working out how to manage and channel that stress. When you go into a job like this, it’s lifestyle rather than a job. It’s not your normal 9-5 job – if a story comes out about a show you are working on, or a contestant you are working with, you must be prepared to deal with it at any time. If you’re aware of this going in to your career and you are committed and passionate, you’ll succeed.
The best part of my job… When you are given a new show, you are always thinking how to get positive publicity for that programme and which magazines or newspapers you can get it featured in, so when it does well and you have been a part of ensuring that success, you always get adrenaline rush.
Advice / key skills needed for anyone wanting to work in PR… Go looking for work experience to gain basic skills, such as speaking on the telephone and using email. And work experience can lead to all sorts of unexpected opportunities. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to people.
Something you can do right now to develop skills needed in PR…Look in a newspaper or think of your favourite TV show and write a press release on it. A press release is a statement given to the newspapers and magazines to tell the public about a particular issue, in this case a TV show. Consider how you can sum up in five paragraphs what the show is about and how you can best sell it to the public. Don’t be afraid to use Google to find examples of a press releases – take inspiration from others. The sooner you start writing and get going, the easier it gets.