Spotlight on Dominique Fourniol
20 December 2012
This week the spotlight is on Dominique Fourniol, Head of Media Relations at UCL.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am head of the media relations team, the central press office for UCL. While media work is often unpredictable, there are certain core activities we tend to work on most days. The single biggest area is working with UCL academics to support them in disseminating newsworthy research findings across the media. We also help journalists find expert academics from around UCL to comment on live news stories, and offer comment to reporters following up national issues, which can range from immigration policy to university applications and admissions, extremism on campus and animal research. We also organise press activity around key institutional announcements and initiatives, the most recent being the news of the next Provost.
When necessary we also work with colleagues across UCL to advise on media handling on sensitive issues affecting the university.
As a globally renowned institution we are pretty much always in the media spotlight, and because of the sheer range of UCL's activity, on any given day we can be in contact with journalists ranging from specialist trade titles to national higher education journalists to global news organisations.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL since 2004. I have worked in journalism and press relations for the bulk of my career, but my role prior to UCL was something of a departure, working for an internet start up founded by the Chrysalis media group. I headed the company's launch in France, responsible for developing a network of websites and publications, promoting the launch through media and other channels and managing a team of 30 affiliates. I am still waiting to cash in the share options though!
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
More than one single achievement, I would take most pride from the fact that the team we now have in place here at UCL is recognised I hope both within and outside UCL as a very effective, able to use its experience and creativity to achieve consistently strong levels of coverage for UCL. Our measurement and evaluation analysis confirms that we are hitting a wide range of media regularly with a range of stories from across the institution, and delivering generally positive messages about UCL, which again is a source of satisfaction.
What is your life like outside UCL?
I have three daughters (15, 13 and 7) so I find a lot of my time outside UCL involves ferrying them to various activities and offering up life advice which seems to become less and less welcome as they move up the age spectrum. Otherwise, I am in a book club (just completed Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge - wasn't sure about that one), and enjoy playing football, although the little pace I had is diminishing fast. As much of our family is based in France or Poland, we tend to get over to both whenever possible too.