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Communications Section



Role of the Communications Section

The Communications Section'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,  which is available through the University web site at

Externally, the Communications Section 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 Section 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.

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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 Section 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 Section.

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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.

Megan can be contacted at:
Tel 64 3 479 5452
Cell 021 279 5452

Jo Galer, Senior Communications Adviser

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.

Jo can be contacted at:
Tel 64 3 479 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 Section 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.

Simon can be contacted at:
Tel 64 3 479 5016
Cell 021 279 5016

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 Section, Sam was the Marketing and Communications Officer in Otago’s Division of Humanities. His current role focuses on producing and editing Alumni-related communications material.

Sam can be contacted at:
Tel 64 3 479 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.

Kim can be contacted at:
Tel 64 3 479 5010

Gail Goodger, Acting Otago Bulletin Editor

Gail works part time, writing stories for and editing the Otago Bulletin.

Gail can be contacted at:
Tel 03 479 4378
Cell 021 279 4378

Lisa Dick, Otago Bulletin Editor (on parental leave)

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.

Su White, Administrator

Su provides full financial and administrative support for the Communications team.

Su can be contacted at:
Tel 03 479 8515
Fax 03 479 5417
Email or m&