From Masterchef to pandemic frontlines: a Media Officer’s world

What does a Media Officer in the Royal Navy Reserves do? How do military tasks on the ground get onto the pages of a newspaper? Lieutenant Amy Blake, 25, talks about her role on COVID-19 deployments.

Lt Amy Blake is a Media Operations Specialist Officer. Her job includes giving military commanders advice on media and interviews, and communicating in crisis situations. In a pandemic, her work is helping people understand what is happening in their local area.

Amy helps media to access military tasks, taking photos and videos on the go. She also arranges Armed Forces interviews with newspaper, TV and radio stations to let them hear about what’s happening first hand.

Most recently, Amy worked on COVID-19 operations in Medway and Kent including Community Asymptomatic Coronavirus Testing, Op ROSE (support to Haulier Testing at Manston and Dover over Christmas) and Schools Asymptomatic Coronavirus testing. This one was a fast turnaround, she says:

“Being on the front line of crisis communications over Christmas was a moment I’ll never forget. When the French shut the borders to HGVs unless they could prove a negative Coronavirus test, I got a call on the 23rd December and was up there within a few hours to deal with a ‘media frenzy’. I then spent my Christmas Eve on site at Manston showing BBC News around and providing an interview with the Commanding Officer.”

Her career has huge breadth: Amy looked after the crew of MasterChef onboard HMS DIAMOND when they were filming a mass cook episode for a Trafalgar night dinner.

“I really enjoy seeing the work behind the scenes to make a few hours of TV magic, it’s fascinating and gives you a new appreciation of the effort that goes in.”

Her job is hugely important for getting the Armed Forces’ work out into the world.

“I see myself very much as a vessel to ‘storytell’ the amazing work Armed Forces personnel do in support of the Nation, and to do it in a way that people find relatable — we are all just ordinary people doing what can sometimes be an extraordinary job, but we have loved ones and lives outside of work we care about, just like anyone else.”

Lt Amy Blake started her career with 4 years in the Regular Navy before joining the Reserves. She worked around the country on the Royal Navy presentation team and also included co-ordinating conferences for the First Sea Lord.

When asked what she likes most about her job, she says:

“The diversity of the role I do. I see so much of not only the Navy, but the Armed Forces [I am currently working for a joint command helping personnel from not only the Navy but the Army and RAF] and I learn so much about how it works and its history.”

Read more about Military Aid to Civil Authorities and the COVID-19 response here:

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:

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