Strengthening external communications at NIESR

Phil acted as a media consultant at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research to help the communications team boost the profile of the academic think tank. During the five months from November to late March, he assisted with the existing media coverage programme and focused on expanding the range and penetration of the media’s coverage of its activities.

This has centred around using three key events – the General Election, our quarterly National Institute Economic Review, and the Budget – as a platform to push out material based on our economists’ and scientists research. This resulted in a sizeable number of articles placed in media, interviews by journalists and appearances on TV and radio news programmes as well as major take-up of social media.

The team created a microsite on our website dedicated to the Election Analysis to house nine election briefings by NIESR staff in later November and early December in the run-up to the 11 December polling day. It worked with EconFilms to produce six video-casts by NIESR staff and curated five podcasts by NIESR staff. On the back of these, it was able to pitch opinion pieces that ran in various media.

Britain after Brexit. As there was no funding for new research, the team aimed to maximise NIESR’s economists’ research and knowledge to put out opinion articles for mainstream media and make them available for interview.

February saw the publication of the centrepiece quarterly publication, the National Institute Economic Review. This was covered widely in the media following a press conference organised in media and as a result of pitches to both print and broadcast media. It also led to a number of appearances on radio, opinion columns by NIESR staff and mentions in opinion pieces written by others.

The Budget. The team planned for this set-piece event by identifying issues that were likely to feature in the Budget and in which staff had expertise. This led to placed articles ahead of the Budget and major pick-up of the new forecasts. The institute published a booklet of collated reactions on the afternoon of the Budget.

Coronavirus. Although this became a major economic issue in mid-March, the team was able to promote material written on the issue.

Experience covering academic and policy conferences

We have developed a specialism in covering mjor conferences of academic and policy experts, covering the main issues and producing plan English reports.

Phil was hired by the organisers of the The 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences in Germany that featured presentations and debates involving several recipients of the Nobel prize in economics. He wrote a number of pieces a day that captured the essence of some of the presentatioons and debates. One looked at how economists would design a good pension syste, based on what Peter Diamond called ‘a paternalistic need’ to use policy measures to encourage people to save more during their working lives. Another focused on what that path looks loike topwards a Nobel prize, based on the recollections of Oliver Hart, Bengt Holmstöm, and Jean Tirole. His final blog was looking ahead to the state of economics in 2020, the next meeting, featuring the thoughts of Peter Altmaier, Chris Pissarides and Deleza Hays.

Phil helped produce a highly commended article based on on innovative conference looking at consumer finance and behavioural ecojnomics. The first summit by the Think Forward Initiative held in Brussels looked at how Mainstream models in economics and finance restrict the factors relevant for financial decisions to emotionless logic, perfect information, and impeccable mathematics. The article covered debates over the ability of consumers to process information correctly, the potential gains for the aplication of behavioural economics, and the state of financial literacy. The article was published on the VoxEU portal.

Phil has played a key role in the coverage of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for Global Markets newspaper. At the last meetings he held interviews with the President, Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank and helped produce daily newspaper editions. He also wrote features on the outlook for the World Bank and IMF.

Reporting live from the IMF/World Bank

We were in Washington DC for the week of 6 October to cover the annual 2014 meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for Emerging Markets newspaper at a time of mounting concern over the state of the economy and the impact of the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine and the terrible Ebola outbreak.

We were involved in planning the newspaper’s coverage, putting together the daily news list, working with reporters as well as carrying out live reporting.

We looked in detail at the role of relevance of the IMF 10 years after it was written off as irrelevant and asked what’s its role should be in what MD Christine Lagarde has called a “new mediocre” era of growth. The feature is here.

We also looked at the World Bank on its 70th birthday and asked what President Jim Kim should do to ensure that the bank remained relevant in an increasingly crowded development arena. The feature is here.

We spoke with World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu about the economic impact of the outbreak of Ebola as the death toll broke the 4,000 barrier during the week. The story is here. We also spoke with World Bank climate envoy Rachel Kyte and discussed her strategy of working with businesses in countries where there ‘constraints’ on political leadership. The story is here.

 

We hope to be covering the 2015 meetings that will be held in Lima, Peru