KIRSTIN Stevenson is a director of PR company, Spreng & Co. Across her career, she’s worked in PR for the ITC, Ofcom, STV and now Spreng & Co., handling communications for a wide variety of clients. She says that “no two days are ever the same, and I wouldn’t have it any other way”.
When did working in the media first start becoming an ambition?
I viewed the media industry as a busy, buzzy place and decided to switch from law to film & TV studies and sociology at Glasgow University, at the last minute. I met some fantastic, like-minded people, who are still my best friends, and I knew these were the kind of people I wanted to surround myself with every day.
I discovered quickly that production wasn’t for me but I loved writing and meeting people, and decided to go into PR.
(Plus, people kept talking about champagne lunches being routine… I now know that’s a big fat lie.)
What was your first ‘media job’?
If we’re not including my two-week stint on a Channel 4 production, which involved a naked Elvis impersonator and 100 peanut butter sandwiches, it would have to be regional assistant for the Independent Television Commission (ITC). This was a great graduate position and I learned a huge amount about the media industry.
Describe, briefly, how your career unfolded between your first media job and where you are now.
When the ITC became part of [broadcasting regulators] Ofcom, I became media and PR officer for their Scotland office.
After four years with ITC/Ofcom, I became PR executive at STV, running the press office and handling TV press launches.
Following a promotion to PR manager, I became more involved in the corporate PR activities. After eight years with STV, I decided to move into consultancy, for a new challenge, and joined Callum Spreng’s (ex-director of communications at SMG) business, Spreng & Co.
Any particularly big breaks along the way?
Getting my job at STV in 2004 was an amazing opportunity for me. I had to ‘hit the ground running’ in what was an incredibly busy and challenging post. I gained a huge amount of experience, built up some strong relationships with the media and learned a lot from some very talented people.
Joining Spreng & Co was a great opportunity to work in PR consultancy. I was chucked in at the deep end at the start, providing maternity cover – it’s the best way!
Who would you like to thank more than most?
Bobby Hain and Lindsay Lockhart at STV, for hiring me in 2004! My friend, Pam, who now runs her own PR firm, gave me a great pep talk before my STV interview and I’m grateful to her for that.
What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started?
Journalists are just regular people. When you’re 21 and starting out in PR, you can feel intimidated by the media – they’re just people, and most of them are brilliant.