The greasy pole; episode 2

May 16, 2007


So, following on from last week’s debutante to our profiles of young PR types, we are pleased to present Ms Miriam Laverick, star of Grazia magazine and Geronimo AE. So without further delay…

Hey Miriam-what made you want to get into PR?

I started out determined to become a journalist, but, during my Journalism MA, I did PR for the university and a local drama initiative and started to warm to the idea of PR. Public sector, charity and CSR PR seemed a perfect fit for what I wanted to do because you’re raising awareness of issues that could benefit people. You get to work on some influential accounts so I feel like I’m making a bigger difference than I would on a small regional newspaper.

In the immortal words of Cotton Eye-Joe ‘where did you come from…’?


I grew up in Co. Durham and did English and German at Durham University. I worked for a media monitoring company in Newcastle for a year before doing an MA in Journalism. In 2006 I received the NUJ University Journalist of the Year Award and an Academy prize. I’m interested in creative writing and am a qualified aerobics and Pilates instructor.


 Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?

Being in Public Sector PR the perks are few and far between. I do own a School Food Trust jumper however, which comes in handy sitting next to the air con. Perhaps one of the coolest things I’ve done to date was a radio day with Dr Raj Persaud for our Every Lesson Counts school attendance campaign. (You might recognise his name if you ever ditched lectures to watch daytime TV) He kept incorporating song titles into his interviews. I did get a bit worried when he started to talk about the Boom Town Rats I don’t like Monday’s in connection to school attendance.

Least favourite part of the job?

 I’m not a fan of having to endlessly follow-up press releases with journalists who clearly don’t appreciate being coaxed into covering stories.

When I’m 40 I’d like to be….?

A rich smug married MD and the author of a book or two

 Top tip for those lookign to get into the industry?

With Public, Charity and Voluntary Sector PR I’d recommend doing some voluntary work with an organisation that matches your interests. Because competition is fierce and everyone in PR is over-qualified you need to demonstrate that you’re self-motivated and act upon your convictions

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Be sympathetic to bullies – they actually need it.

 PR hero?

It might sounds sycophantic but it has to be the CEO of Geronimo, Karen Harris. In 1999 she founded Geronimo Communications. It became the UK’s fastest growing PR company by 2002. She sold it to Tribal in 2003 and is now a squillionaire – fab!

Any area of PR you hope never to have to work in?

Financial PR because I’d be rubbish at it. As soon as people mention numbers I glaze over. It’s an involuntary side-effect left over from Secondary School maths lessons.

Blogging & social networking-which ones are for you?

You can tell a lot about the public perception of your campaign by reading the reader comments on newspaper websites. I’m a relative newbie to blogs and online networks but I am Facebook convert – it’s dangerously distracting. Besides the PR and Comms network, obviously, I’m also a member of groups like the ‘excessive consumption of tea society’ and ‘I made a fool of myself in Klute nightclub’.

Best way to get hold of you? [mobile, landline, email, facebook, Myspace, text, letter, message in a bottle etc]

Any of the above, but you would grab my attention particularly well if you sent a message in a bottle or a carrier pigeon.

And now the hot stuff, Miriam Laverick-your life in questions;

FT or Heat?

    • FT or Heat?

The good thing about my job is you get to read both under the umbrella of ‘research’. If there were an FT ‘ring of shame’ I’d read it more readily however.

    • Grazia or Country Life?

Grazia – silly question!

    • Cameron or Brown?

I’d be stoned by irate Geordies the moment I stepped off the train at central Station if I said anything other than Brown.

    • Running or the gym?

Both. It depends what the weather’s like.

    • G & T or JD & Coke?

G & T

    • Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Ben & Jerry’s

Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

This is a contentious issue in our office as grad coffee drinking habits clash.  Starbucks for quantity and choice, Nero for quality as long as you don’t mind waiting a year for your drink

    • GAP or Portobello Rd?


    • North or South?

South for the moment because I’m enjoying London right now and most of my friends are here. When I’m old and bored of life in fast lane (or can’t hack the daily stampede just to get on a bus any more) I’d like to retreat back up north and live the good life somewhere in Northumberland

    • If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?
      Audrey Tautou for no other reason than she’s gorgeous



4 Responses to “The greasy pole; episode 2”

  1. Way hey! A fellow County Durhamer – a rarity in the London PR scene.

  2. I’ve mentioned to Miriam before we should have a North-Eastern PR posse. We just didn’t reckon it would get far, but now we have 3 [Me Northumberland plus you guys], well the sky’s the limit! 🙂

  3. Ha! Didn’t know you’re from Northumberland Alex. Why, we’re literally taking over the place. 🙂

    Stay in touch.

  4. […] 2008 by Alex Pearmain Quick mention for fellow PR and Comm-er Miriam Laverick. She’s been featured on these very e-pages before, and could be found earlier this week in the London paper, venting her rage at oversized […]

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