Role of the Communications Office
The Communications Office's role is to communicate vital information about the university to both internal and external audiences.
Internally, this is accomplished primarily through the University's staff journal, The Otago Bulletin.
Externally, the Communications Office focuses on increasing the visibility of the University at Otago as one of the country's premier public research and teaching institutions through the placement of stories in the print and broadcast news media at the local, regional, national and international levels.
The Communications Office is a unit within the Division of External Engagement, and reports to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson. Our office is located on the First Floor of the Scott/Shand House.
How we work with the media
Increasingly, New Zealand media know to call us first if they want to find the right person for informed commentary on an issue of the day. We have an in-depth knowledge of staff areas of expertise, and have set up a web-based Expertise Database for media to use. Whether a journalist is looking for someone to talk about the latest research on cancer, how best to protect our endangered marine mammals or why belief in magic persists in a secular society, the Communications Office can respond quickly and in time for media deadlines by connecting a reporter with the appropriate Otago researcher.
How we work with staff
We help prepare and send out targeted news releases on the latest research developments and university activities, provide media training so that staff are more comfortable speaking with journalists, and advise staff when they are confronted by potentially difficult public relations issues. We also email a daily news log of Otago people "In the News" to key staff (and any other staff who request this service). Transcripts of broadcast news are also available through the Communications Office.
Who we are
Megan McPherson, Head of Communications
Megan has worked in media and communications since 1993. Her roles include the Medical Council of New Zealand, British Airways (London) and, most recently, Presbyterian Support Otago. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Otago. She also has certificates in journalism and public relations from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Journalism.
Tel 03 479 5452
Cell 021 279 5452
Jo Galer, Team Leader Media Engagement
Jo's background is in print journalism and communications. She has worked as a media liaison and communications adviser for the Police, and as a newspaper reporter for the Otago Daily Times, the West Australian in Perth and the Taieri Herald. Jo has an Honours degree in History from Otago and a Certificate in Journalism from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Journalism.
Tel 03 479 8263
Cell 021 279 8263
Simon Ancell, Senior Research Communications Adviser
Simon has a BA and a Postgraduate Diploma in Political Studies from Otago, and a Certificate in Media Communications from Aoraki Polytechnic. Since joining the Communications Office in November 2001, Simon's main role has been to respond to media enquiries and to work with staff on news releases. His current role focuses on raising the positive public profile of the University through promoting its research externally to local, national and international media, and internally through University publications.
Tel 03 479 5016
Cell 021 279 5016
Susan Baxter, Social Media Adviser
Susan completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology (with Honours) and then pursued her PhD within Health Sciences at the University of Otago. She recreationally writes for mainstream magazines, with a background in online brand representation of big corporate clients (specialising in events and experiential marketing). She is responsible for facilitating use of social media university-wide, and enhancing the University’s social media outputs and interactions online.
Tel 03 479 5479
Cell 021 279 5479
Lisa Dick, Otago Bulletin Editor
Lisa is an experienced journalist, with a background in television, radio and print. She has worked as a reporter for TV3, Radio New Zealand, Dunedin's Channel 9 and the Otago Daily Times. She has an honours degree in neuroscience and psychology from Otago and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Canterbury University. Lisa now works part time, writing stories for and editing the Otago Bulletin.
Tel 03 479 4378
Cell 021 279 4378
Sam Stevens, Senior Communications Adviser - Alumni
Sam is a University of Otago alumnus, with a BA and postgraduate diploma in Religion. He also has a journalism qualification and has worked as a reporter on a daily newspaper and as a freelance magazine writer. Before joining the Communications Office, Sam was a Marketing and Communications Officer in Otago’s Division of Humanities. His current role focuses on producing and editing Alumni-related communications material.
Tel 03 479 8143
Cell 021 279 8143
Kim Connelly, Communications Adviser
Kim has worked in marketing and communications in the tertiary education sector since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Northern British Columbia (Canada) and a diploma in public relations from Kwantlen University College (Canada). Her primary role is to work with staff on media stories, respond to media enquiries, contribute to University publications, and edit Otago Connection.
Tel 03 479 5010
Cell 021 279 5010
Gail Goodger, Communications Projects and Operations Adviser
Tel 03 479 8946
Cell 021 279 8946
Karen Hogg, Editorial Manager
Karen’s journalism career spans a variety of newspaper news and feature-writing roles, as well as freelance magazine work. She has been working in marketing and communications at the University since 2003 and is responsible for editing key corporate publications, including the Otago Magazine, award-winning He Kitenga research highlights book and the University’s Annual Report. An Otago alumna, she has an honours degree in Political Studies.
Tel 03 479 8679
Louise Cameron, Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Louise joined the University in 2007 and has worked in the tertiary education sector since 1995. Previous to that, she worked for Radio New Zealand. In her role as Executive Assistant and Office Manager, Louise enjoys providing support to the Head of Communications and is responsible for the smooth running of Scott/Shand House. Louise also provides departmental meeting support and is Secretary to the Web Advisory Committee.
Su White, Finance and Administration Officer
Su joined the University's administration team in 2006. She provides financial, purchasing and administrative support to the Communications Office, the Marketing Office and the Office of Web Services.