Getting in touch with, and using, the UCU press office

The UCU national press office is here to help out with your campaigns and take the burden off you. We regularly write press releases in conjunction with branches and are happy to offer advice at any point.

In order to maximise media coverage, though, the following information is very important. Please can you think about the following questions before contacting us. It will make our lives easier and increase your chances of getting decent media coverage.

The following is especially useful in relation to cuts and job losses:

  • How many jobs are at risk?
  • Where are the jobs going from?

    The more detailed we can be the better. If entire departments are at risk we need to get this across to the media.
  • What is the timescale?

    When were the cuts announced and how and when they will be phased in? If there is meeting an important vote at a meeting then we need to know ahead of time and already be putting the pressure on. Taking a day or two to formulate a response after the decision is made is not much use. The principal or vice-chancellor will have already announced things with their spin and the press will view the story as old if we have nothing new to add. Sadly, they don't often agree that a new perspective from the union a day or two after the announcement constitutes a new news angle.
  • Why are the cuts being made?

    What is management telling staff is the reason behind the cuts? Can we dismiss their arguments?
  • Who will the cuts impact upon?

    Cuts have consequences on staff, students and the local community. When getting our message across to the press we need to be able to explain why job losses are bad.
  • Has the institution made cuts in the past?

    Does the institution have a track record of restructuring or making cuts? If so, how many jobs has it cut in the recent past and from which departments? It helps if we can paint management as making a serious of shoddy decisions or putting traditionally good relations with staff at risk.
  • What action is planned?

    If the branch is planning to hold a lobby or any kind of protest the press office needs to know so we can tip off the media in advance.
  • Who is the local contact?

    The local press will want to speak to people at the branch and it is really important for us to supply them with contact details. Journalists, especially those in television and radio, work to very tight deadlines and need to get hold of people very quickly. It is very helpful, therefore, if we can supply them with the mobile phone number of ideally two people at the branch.
  • Bringing the story to life

    As well as contacts in the branch, we will want people who can bring the story to life. Staff in the threatened departments, students that will be affected and students happy to say that they understand why staff will strike over the issue are ideal case studies for the press.

UCU has lots of advice for talking to papers, radio and television on its website. You can read this more at Getting the message across

If you are unsure or have any questions please get in touch with the press office. Our press officers are here to help you: