A two-year vacancy is filled
Veteran journalist Costa Maragos has been hired by the University of Regina.
Maragos will begin work as the University spokesperson and community affairs advisor, a new position in external relations. The position is a response to the now defunct vice-president of external relations (VP-ER), previously held by Barbra Pollock. Pollock held the position for a decade only to quit abruptly in 2010 amidst concerns over administrative spending.
The position of VP-ER was not filled in Pollock’s absence. The responsibilities of her position fell to the other deans and vice-presidents at the U of R.
For two years, there existed no VP-ER. The University budget, released in May of 2014, addressed the vacancy in external relations and created the spokesperson position.
At the time, speculation swirled over whether or not Pollock had been asked to resign by the administration. The dismissal was a said to have been a budgetary concern at the time and given that the spokesperson position does not come with the same salary of a VP-ER, it would seem this is still a concern for the administration.
Maragos will bring over three decades of CBC experience to the position, having been the anchor of the six o’clock news for 23 years. And, in this time, just as journalism has changed, so has communications.
“How’s this changing media landscape affecting the communications side? You can’t just, I don’t think, put out a media release to all media, which you can do but you also have to consider social media,” said Maragos.
When asked how he would adapt from being a journalist to being in external relations, Maragos said, “well, there’s going to be a learning curve that’s for sure.”
“Oh, I think it’s a brilliant move; everybody in Regina and southern Saskatchewan knows who he is,” said John Murney, a former journalist and Green Party member and U of R alumnus.
Given that the position has been vacant, Maragos and his local fame will likely bring positive attention to university and it’s community engagement.
“I think that when he speaks, people will automatically know who he is. I think it was a very good move on the part of the university to hire him,” said Murney.
Despite now working for communications, Maragos still holds close ties and sentiments for journalism.
“Looking at the bigger picture, you want a media that asks the right questions, the hard questions that hold all institutions accountable.” One such institution Maragos will now represent.
“I hurt when I see what’s happening with media outlets and the problems they’re having financially. I don’t think that’s good for anybody.”