What does your role involve?
Butterfly Conservation is a relatively small charity, so I tend to do a bit of everything. I edit our magazine, Butterfly, manage our national press office and oversee 31 volunteer regional press officers. I write national and regional press releases, deal with media queries, liaise with our celebrity backers - including our president, Sir David Attenborough - act as a press spokesman, oversee our social media output and write and edit our monthly e-newsletter.
What are you currently working on?
We are drawing to the end of our major annual campaign, the Big Butterfly Count, which is a citizen science project aimed at encouraging the public to count butterflies for 15 minutes during high summer. The count helps us to assess how common butterflies are faring and introduces the public to basic butterfly ecology.
After a broadcast and print launch fronted by Attenborough, the project then relies on social media and involves talking to communications teams at like-minded organisations, such as the RSPB and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, to ensure as many wildlife lovers as possible are aware of the count.
How difficult is it to get your organisation into the press?
Picture desks like striking butterfly images. UK butterflies are in a perilous state, with three-quarters of species declining over the past decade, so hard news stories about their welfare do generate interest.
We have a harder time getting favourable coverage for moths. They have traditionally suffered from bad PR and even get slated in the Bible. Sadly, the media perception of moths as jumper-devouring menaces is hard to shake. The UK boasts more than 2,500 moth species: only a tiny handful are 'troublemakers'.
What advice would you offer communications professionals starting in the sector?
Knowing your subject inside out really helps when you are trying push a story to a half-interested newsdesk.