How to run a MUN Press Corps

The Press at a MUN can be a powerful addition to any conference, helping to add new layers of complexity, enjoyment, and ideological control for those into that sort of stuff.  Let’s look at some examples of what a Press Corps does in a MUN, how the Press Corps can be organized, and considerations for organizers.

Table Of Contents

What is a Press Corps

A MUN Press Corps is a team of participants at a MUN conference whose job is to act as journalists, or media team, of the conference news agency. There is sometimes a blurred line between the media team and the press team, but at a very basic level they are there to write about goings on at the conference. Their articles and press releases can be presented in either in written form,  a digital form or any other form that tries to recap and highlight some of the moments that came out of the conference.

Why have a Press Corps in MUN

Press Corps add a nice overarching layer to the conference to stop it from becoming too segmented into separate committees. Delegates get the feeling that what they are contributing is going beyond just the room and having a written contribution of their work is encouraging. Furthermore, a MUN Press Corps a great start for potential Journalists! For many in the press team it might be their first time in such a role and it’s a boon to get started in the fast-paced life that exists at MUNs. It helps to break up the monotony of having just delegates, chairs, and committees and injects a bit of fun and reality into what can sometimes be quite a stale, competitive affair.

Types of Press Corps

Press Corps as a conference news station

At some MUN conferences the entire Press Corps is part of the conference news station with the objective of reporting on the conference.

Press Corps are a committee

Some Press Corps work as semi committees where the Editor in Chief is the chair, the journalists represent different new stations and are given awards for representing the agenda of their news agency.

Who is part of a Press Corps

Journalists – Much like delegates of regular MUN, the participants in a Press Corps role play as  journalists. These participants can be from different walks of life and backgrounds, just like regular MUN delegates. There is no need to be studying journalism, or literature studies, just an enthusiasm for writing and an understanding of what the press is.

Press Team – These roles include video editors, graphic designers, social media managers and more provide the infrastructure to support the work on the journalists. A press team is more commonly found in conferences where the Press Corps is the conferences private news station as opposed to as chaired a semi committee.

Editor-in-chief – A Press Corps is usually run by an Editor-in-chief, sometimes with a deputy, who acts as the director of the Press Corps. The Editor in Chief usually has some experience as a previous press delegate but can also manage with experience running a team, as a chair, or as an organizer.

It is the responsibility of the Editor in Chief to make sure there is an even distribution of work and task sharing going on. The Editor in Chief should also try to appropriate the tasks to the skillset of the journalist.  For example, if some of the journalists are particularly good at writing, they can do that, if they want to run a meme page or video editing, they can focus on video editing instead.

The Editor-in-chief is usually under the supervision of the Secretary General as the rest of the Chairs, but usually works separately, either alone or with the media team of the conference. Sometimes the Press Cords is also in charge of the conference social media, it really depends on the conference.

The role of a Press Corps 

There is a huge range of activities that a press team can do. The following list is an example. If you’re running a Press Corps, feel free to deviate, create and improve with the sky as the limit to be honest.

  • Write Articles and Press Releases: Usually based on the workings of a committee, the Press Corps go into committee rooms, stay by the side and write little (or intensive) articles on how the committee is progressing. These articles can be published one of the following:
    • Short press releases on the conference website
    • A day-by-day in a printed journal
    • A blog on the conference’s website.

Alternatively, a Press Corps can write a full recap of a committee after the conference is over.

  • Interviews: Written interviews, podcast or video interviews can be published on the conference website or social media.
    • Delegates (as their countries)
      Delegates love to be interviewed as it makes them more excited to be their country.  
    • Chairs (as moderators), or even 
    • organizers of keynote speakers
      can be an excellent way to bring in some depth into the conference.

Delegates love to be interviewed as it makes them more excited to be their country. These can be either a written interview, or more often, recorded and published on social media.

  • Photographers: One of the many overlaps with the media team can be the press team as photographers, trying to capture some of the intensity of the debate. This depends on whether the conference has their own photographers doing the job or not, but even if there is a separate photographer team, the Press Corps can be in charge of “funny” photos or ones to accompany articles
  • Newspaper Publishing: Like the article writing but different in the sense of its scale, the press team can put together articles, pictures, interviews, or anything else into a proper MUN Newspaper. It takes more than just writing too as design takes front centre, and it can be a difficult thing to put out after 3 days of intense debate.
  • Competitions: Press teams in the past have also put up mini-competitions, imagine superlative awards on a conference-wide scale. They are fun to add a little interactivity between committees and are especially good for socials.
  • Making Videos: Press team’s are also in close work with the media team to make a “recap” video of the conference for the closing ceremony. Often, one of the press team will take it upon themselves to be the editor and recorded, and help create a lovely video that everyone can be happy with.
  • Gossip Box: The Gossip box is a staple of many MUN conferences. A Goppius box is where delegates can post something anonymously, and the press team checks it, and if it’s funny and not hurting anyone’s feelings, can be uploaded to social media, usually a separate page or site that doesn’t interfere with the main media.

As you can see, most of the Press Corps revolves around some of the internal workings of committees and how they can run. At the basic level, article writing and publishing can be easily achieved. If there is an interest to go beyond try looking into the specifics of your conference to try and come up with something unique. 

Organizing a Press Corps

Now we get to how to actually go around organizing a Press Corps, starting from the beginning, to the end. Press Corps are usually organized initially by the Secretariat, but once an Editor-in-chief is hired, they take on most of this work.

Before the conference starts

  • Application process – Decide whether the Editor-in-chief and press delegate applications should alongside the Chair and Delegate applications, or separately. Usually, you’d want to ask very different questions, so it’s worth considering this
  • Define the scope – With the Editor-in-chief, define the scope of the committee, based on the number of people you have. A good estimation is to have a press delegate per committee + 2, 1 to edit pieces and 1 for other items like videos or so. For example, if your conference has 10 committees, aim for 12 Press delegates, and the Editor-in-chief.
    • Go through the various ideas of activities that a press team can do and decide early on (and with the delegates) what you want to focus on during the conference
  • Set up a Press Corps Plan – This plan should include the type of activities you would like the press delegates to do , how the publishing works for them, the platforms you’ll be using, etc.
  • Decide on the platforms – Decide on the platforms the press team will work on. To save a lot of the organisational mess, think about setting up a separate fb page or twitter account for the press team, for them to encourage people (other delegates) to follow, and to use for more media items. Furthermore, if you want to publish articles online, set up a separate section on the website ahead of time
    • Remember, if you want to create a newspaper or anything physical, get in touch with the organisers, printers, etc. to look at costs and the logistics of such an act
  • Meet the team – Schedule a few calls with the press delegates to get to know them better. You of course don’t have “representations” and are yourself during the committee so it’s useful to get to know them better and understand how it is going to work
  • Have a room for the press – Important: have a room for press! Too often Press are forgotten about, but make sure to give them every consideration delegates and others are given when it comes to the conference.

During the conference

  • Introduce yourself – Take time to meet the team, separately and significantly to the delegates, chairs, and organisers. You want to make sure people know who you are, and what you do, to get them to follow you, and work with you during debate. Have some form of communication with the chairs too as some may be annoyed with press going in and out, and you want a way to talk to them too when fun stuff in committee happens
  • Get the press articles ready on time – Start early, and be consistent. Even if you only plan on publishing one thing at the end of each day, start early in publishing and showing what you’re doing, with smaller things in-between. You don’t want to be overloading delegates during debate (they’ll be busy and should be focusing on debate) but also want to be a nice background to the conference.
  • Communicate Often – As your delegates will likely be rushing around a lot, it’s important to have a solid method of communication between the Editor-in-chief, and the Press Corps. As Editor-in-chief maximize answers to questions and set up something robust like whatsapp for delegates to get in touch with you. Try to have a meeting at the start and end of each day to get together, plan the day, and recap and review.
  • Utilize breaks and socials – Use breaks and socials to their max. Breaks and Socials are a nice time to relax, and as Press Corps you should be using the inter-committee time to show what you’ve been doing, and adding a bit more fun into the experience
  • Have an award for the best press. This is to be given by the Editor-in-chief as a way to say thank you to the press committee for their work. It’s important they also feel valued and it’s nice to have such a token.
  • Give a recap at the end – This is true especially if you’re a press committee that’s writing articles, select a few to highlight and pictures to add as a “recap” to delegates as to what they did. It’ll be a good way to give all the delegates a nice goodbye, and show you had a fun time during debate.

After the Conference

  • Collect the materials – Pool together your work. You’ve written a lot, taken a lot of pictures, and done a lot for the conference it is a shame to let all go to waste. Try to collect it all together so that future press and media can use your work, you never know if it’ll be useful!
  • Share the content – Share everywhere the final recap video or work. It’s a really great thing for supporters of the conference to see, and it’s becoming more expected to have one big send-off video that people can watch for the conference. Revel in it and use it to your max!
  • Feedback and Review – As each Press Corps is different, take stock of how your Press Corps did and what could be done better next time. Take a look at what activities you prioritized, and ask delegates too what they found best. In a few generations time your Press Corps will be the envy of all conferences and you can be proud of your work

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many considerations when running a Press Corps. Press Corps can be challenging but are also a very fun part of any conference that can really make the delegate’s experience pop, providing a useful outflow of energy and creativity in the conference and provide a nice keepsake at the end. Done right, the Press Corps can really make a lasting impression amongst delegates and be a great source of positivity and memories for all involved. If you’re a conference organizing, a Press Corps is a great way to break free of some of the boundaries of MUN, be creative, and run a Press Corps as the very best MUN News Networks.