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Behind the Scenes: Head of Press

Today's Glen Webb spoke with Maryna Skomorokhova, who is from Ukraine and has been working very closely with Ukrainian representative Ani Lorak. Maryna gives us a comprehensive insight in to the role of a Head of Press both before and during the Eurovision Song Contest. What exactly does the Head of Press role involve? Can you outline the kind of work you have been doing with Ani Lorak and the Ukrainian delegation?

Maryna: "First of all, i'd like to say that the Eurovision Song Contest is a fantastic event, a great happening once a year which unites countries together, their musicians, spirits and culture. My job is PR manager for the CFC Entertainment Company. They have been working in Ukraine on the Eurovision Song Contest since 2002 when Ukraine first registered to take part. I work with the media, first locally with the national selection. Then when we have a winner, we must decide if there is to be a promo tour, if there is time to do it, if we have the financial resources and energy to do it. With Ani this year, we visited 14 or 15 countries where we went to the main television stations, radio stations, gave concerts in the respective countries. It is a tough time, as you are flying almost every day, with little sleep and not much food!. Ani felt it was important to meet people from the other countries, to gain an idea what they thought of her song and performance." Upon arrival in Belgrade, did your role here differ very much from the work you already did at home and on the promo tour?

Maryna: "At the Eurovision Song Contest, as Press Officer I have constant communication with the media. There are even more members of the press here than ever before. I organise interviews for the artists, with television and media. We put out press releases, there is a huge database where we can share information with people what's happening. Ani is also involved a lot as a Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, and we also took the opportunity to use this platform here to spread the word about the work she is doing in that respect. I think it's quite a noble thing to do. Towards the end of the Eurovision Song Contest week, when the schedules get a bit tighter, I have to make sure that the interviews are restricted to a certain time window, find time to make sure Ani is able to rest." The company you are working for here, CFC Entertainment already has an established track record in coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest. When did this start?

Maryna: "It was the director of CFC who initiated Ukraine to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. I wasn't working for the company when Ukraine made their debut in 2003. In 2004 CFC created a strategy for Ruslana, a full plan and schedule of a promotional tour, including countries that nobody every visits on a promo tour, like Iceland for example. Everything that was done there was very successful, and ultimately the result saw the contest come to Kyiv in 2005. CFC was the official PR partner of the Eurovision Song Contest, and also organised cultural programmes, such as a huge monument of a singing microphone outside of the Palatu Sports venue. Last year, CFC worked with Sopho, the first ever Georgian Eurovision Song Contest entrant. We helped them a lot as they had no experience at all." Which was the first Eurovision Song Contest you were working on? 

Maryna: "That was with Georgia in Helsinki last year, I was the main focus point for interviews, It was an interesting job, we also helped Georgia with their promotional materials, the CD production, we created a Georgian party which involved Georgian wine and food. It was a great event, and the feedback we had from the attendees was very positive, they said it was the best food they enjoyed in Helsinki!. This year, it's even more special as we are representing our own country, Ukraine." What other projects are you personally working on for CFC Entertainment during the rest of the year?

Maryna: "The main two events we cover are the Eurovision Song Contest, and the World Music Awards Eastern European coverage. We go there annually also, providing international coverage for the Eastern European countries. We have already made two short films, showing what happens backstage, and behind the scenes. This year the World Music Awards are supporting the Crisis in Darfur appeal. They are trying to raise funds to help the humanitarian crisis there. We have worked with artists such as Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne and Usher on this project. The idea is that although the World Music Awards is a glamorous show, the Darfur situation shows the side of life which is not so glamorous. That project is on the shelf and ready to start after the Eurovision Song Contest." Finally Maryna, speaking as a Press Officer for Ukraine, how have you found the organisation to be in Belgrade? How easy has it been to be able to do your job?

Maryna: "Every year, I have been impressed with the facilities of the organisation. Here it has been fantastic, we arrived here the day before our delegation, so that we could check things out and familiarise ourselves with the layout. I have been very impressed, and they are not just words. For example, during our press conferences, the volunteers have done a terrific job, there were 25 of them but they acted like one person, and if lower level management is doing a fantastic job like that, then everyone is. The facilities to work here are excellent, so many computers, plenty of space, restaurants, bank, phones, and most of all the general spirit has been wonderful." would like to thank Maryna for spending time on the interview and enhancing our knowledge of the Head of Press role. 

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