Armed forces to get help to develop media skills

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to spend £400, 000 a year on ‘simulated’ training to help the armed forces dev­elop their media skills.

In what is understood to be the largest PR contract ever to be awarded by the MoD, Crown Media will provide print, radio and TV simulation for a wide range of exercises in the UK and abroad.

Crown media partner David Bennett, former  head of comms at Southampton City Council, said: ‘The circumstances for simulated media could be anything from the front line in Afghanistan to supporting the Government on flooding.

‘Any time they have to be engaged with the media, we’ll be showing them what works and what doesn’t work. The important thing for us is to stay flexible. The armed forces move very quickly in lots of different environments.’

The simulated media act­ivities will take place at the mock battleground on Salisbury Plain, and the Defence Academy, which prepares the next generation of officers for the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

The contract is for an initial two years. Crown Media employs a team of up to 110 freelance reporters, editors and technical staff to provide simulations of initial media enquiries, int­erviews, press conferences and broadcast activities.

It is headed up by Bennett and ex-Army PRO Andy Reeds. Reeds said: ‘Often the media are viewed with some suspicion and even fear by the military – and vice versa. We help them to dev­elop confidence and res­pect for each other.’

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