Stuart Wilson is a former journalist and currently Director of Communications and Public Affairs for NHS Lothian. He is also a motorbike enthusiast and a scout leader, being extremely open, friendly and charismatic. The public lecture, ‘PR: Managing the Unmanageable’ organised by the Business School, had a very quirky informal narrative style about it, open to all students. Stuart revealed a number of serious messages about working within the media and PR, with a definite warning edge to his tone. Displaying a number of serious events occurring in the past few years across the UK he revealed the huge influence and power the media has to influence both public opinion and indeed reactions towards catastrophes. With the media often present before the emergency services, we are definitely living in an age of constant surveillance and broadcasting, the world becoming an ever smaller place. Taking the twenty odd people in the room through proactive and reactive responses to news, the lecture covered a range of media areas such as newspapers, online news websites and of course social media.
However if Mr Wilson was intending on encouraging those present to follow in his footsteps and enter into the world of media and communications, his anecdotes definitely did not reflect this. Defining the three M’s of the media as ‘mayhem’, ‘mystery’ and ‘manhunt’ he proceeded to provide us with countless headlines of when press coverage has shockingly misinterpreted the actual news story, leading to panic, disruption and general anger. At the end of the lecture upon asking, ‘so who wants to work in media?’ not a single hand was raised. I looked down at my blogging notes and seriously rethought the field I was tentatively placing a toe into.
Follow Stuart Wilson on Twitter: @Stuart989
Alexandra Melicher: Social Anthropology