A research project on how journalists feel about being ‘spammed’ by media releases has helped earn its Scottish author a Postgraduate Diploma issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Iain Fleming is the business development manager for Wirefast, with responsibility for the Newslink wire service and the associated Tradeclips multimedia distribution and syndication service.
Among the findings of an online survey compiled by Fleming, some 62.7 per cent of journalist respondents admitted they say ‘Yes’ to an enquiry about a media release safely arriving by email, even if they don’t really know.
Newslink involves copy being sent directly to editorial in-boxes, avoiding email and its potential pitfalls.
Fleming learned of his success last week. He is a former national newspaper journalist, sub-editor and public relations manager.
His journalism career began aged 14 when he started supplying the Sunday Post newspaper with swimming results. His first paid job was as a Saturday Sports Copy Boy with Radio Clyde in 1974, earning £2 a day – about the same as his other possible employment at the time: working in a clothes shop.
He then worked on local papers in Scotland, specialising in health. In 1982, he moved to London to work on the weekly, specialist title, Current Practice – for GPs.
After two years there, he then spent four years at Ayrshire and Arran Health Board, where he introduced desk top publishing to the NHS and another five years in Inverness, with Highlands and Islands Enterprise – in each case in a senior PR capacity.
There followed a couple of years with Wimpey Homes, as PR Manager (Scotland), and then nearly three years at what was then Scotland’s largest NHS Trust – Glasgow Royal Infirmary – in charge of all press and publicity matters.
He then went freelance for several years, working news desk shifts at The Scottish Sun, the Scottish Daily Mail and Scottish Mail on Sunday, plus writing a fortnightly business column for The Herald. During this time he also worked as a PR consultant on his own account and in association with a larger PR concern, where he worked on accounts which included Levi Jeans. He took up his current position almost ten years ago.
He studied for the diploma at Queen Margaret University, in Edinburgh, the only Scottish location for the course, which is the CIPR’s highest qualification.
The research project was part of his course.
He told allmediascotland: “I am delighted to have completed the course. It was hard work at times, and having to fit it round a full-time job meant family sacrifices, but I am pleased now to have a qualification. Having left school at 16, in a time when the only route into journalism was either to get one of the 20 NCTJ pre-entry places available each year at Napier College, or find a job on a local paper, it meant I did not have the chance to go to university. This qualification means that when I am outlining to colleagues in the PR sector how Newslink and Tradeclips can benefit them, they can be confident that I fully understand how the business works.”