Press Officer

Supporting your community in local government communications

A local government press officer is responsible for promoting a positive image of the council in the media and developing good media relations and coverage.  Press officers might also be known as media and communications officers.  Local government press officers are employed in all types of council.

Work Environment
Local government press officers are mainly office based, although there may be some external meetings.  Hours of work are usually the standard 37 hours per week, but there may be occasional out of hours work if a crisis situation arises.

Daily Activities
A local government press officer builds relationships with the local media to communicate the council's role and vision, ensure fair and balanced representations of the council within the media and contribute to promoting the positive image and reputation of the council among residents, with Government and with local business.  Local government press officers' duties may vary depending on the breadth of the job, but they may be involved in some or all of the following:

  • researching, writing and publishing news releases in response to media enquiries;
  • proactively pin-pointing future stories and ensuring they are covered by relevant local, regional, national and specialist media;
  • working closely with a range of council departments to ensure important work is covered by the media;
  • developing and implementing strategies for handling the media in crisis situations, such as writing holding statements, acting as a media spokesperson and ensuring that potentially damaging stories are dealt with sensitively and quickly;
  • organising press briefings and conferences and photo calls;
  • working closely with press and media officers in the council's partner organisations;
  • providing media training and advice for council officers and members who may represent the council and give interviews to the media.

Skills & Interests
Local government press officers need:

  • excellent written communication and editorial skills;
  • the ability to understand complex and varied information and interpret it clearly and simply for the benefit of others;
  • good verbal communication and negotiation skills;
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure;
  • good time management and organisational skills;
  • excellent marketing and PR skills.

Entry Requirements
Local government press officers would usually be required to have relevant qualifications, such as a degree in journalism, marketing or a PR related subject, or professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, or the National Council for the Training of Journalists.  They might also be expected to have some previous experience working in a marketing and communications environment.
Future Prospects & Opportunities
There is a progression route from PR or communications assistant, to press officer or media and communications officer.  Further progression to senior communications officer or head of communications and marketing may be possible with relevant experience.  It may also be possible to move to other departments and specialise in media communications for particular areas of work, for example children's services or environmental services.

Further Information & Services
Chartered Institute of Marketing
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Communications Advertising & Marketing Education Foundation
National Council for the Training of Journalists

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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