Philippa Budgen

It can be daunting talking to journalists. Telling them about the causes and people that matter to you. Trying to convince others why they should care as much as you do. If you want to have an impact and make a difference, your public voice is so important for effectiveness and influence.

As a former BBC journalist I have deep knowledge of the press landscape and the criminal justice system. Through my network of media contacts in respected publications and broadcast media I help organisations to create a clear message and get their voices heard. I offer everything from media strategy to interview training and hands-on, continuing communications support.

My consultancy briefs range from court innovation; access to justice; forced marriage legislation; teenagers and the law. I work with lawyers, think tanks, charities and campaign groups. I particularly enjoy supporting organisations which are new – and sometimes wary – of press exposure.

How do I work? I take time to get under the skin of every organisation in order to build understanding and trust. To every project and client I bring integrity, straight-talking and an absolute commitment to communicate complex ideas effectively.

Philippa mastered her brief … to full effect. This successful campaign (legal aid access to justice) wouldn’t have made the mainstream media without her help and guidance.

Jonathan Black, past President of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, partner BSB Solicitors

Philippa’s unique combination of journalistic know-how and mentoring has been invaluable in raising the Centre’s profile and our capability.

Phil Bowen, Director of Centre for Justice Innovationquote-close

How I can help:

Typically I offer:

  • Media strategy advice. So you know you need to raise your organisation’s profile? Here’s how you can do it. This blueprint establishes your overall media goal; what parts of your project or campaign are likely to work in the press, what won’t.
  • Media training. You have a couple of spokespeople who need to brush up on their interview skills prior to a launch.
  • Messaging workshops. Jargon-busting facilitated practice at making your message clear and effective for a wider audience.
  • On-going support: preparing a campaign, report or new project to be fit for the media- from idea through to press launch.
  • Broadcast content for websites.


  • It’s all bespoke. I tailor my support according to your needs. So if you think I can help but I haven’t mentioned your specific requirement, let’s talk.

About me:

I provide a bridge over a cultural gap – between the criminal justice sector and the journalistic world. Journalists are demanding. They want a story. They want a headline, they need a case study. And they want it NOW!

Those working in the criminal justice world don’t view their cause as a ‘story’, nor do they regard the people they support as ‘case studies’. Yet the two worlds can and must meet for an organisation to achieve a strong authentic voice and to influence opinion and policy. As an independent media consultant I guide criminal justice organisations through the media maze and help bridge the gap.

How am I qualified?

  • BBC reporter for more than 15 years. Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, You and Yours and documentaries. The World Service and Radio 5 Live.
I know from the inside how stories and journalists work. Much of my journalism covered prisons – both in the UK and abroad; families of people in prison; restorative justice and domestic violence programmes.
  • MA (Distinction) in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. My dissertation researched the role of the victim in youth referral orders.
  • Prison visitor for more than ten years in a women’s jail.
  • Media training. Throughout my journalistic career I have media trained spokespeople from a variety of disciplines: legal and justice professionals; dentists, social scientists and academics.

The best way to find out how I can help… get in touch.

New Blog

This is my new blog. Come back soon as there will be many more posts to come…

When BBC TV’s The Choir went to prison

January 13th, 2020|Music and Justice|

If you want to know what prisons are really like, watch The Choir….. ‘Have you seen that TV programme about a prison? What did you think?’ I’ve lost count how often people have asked me about the unexpected TV hit of January 2020. Not just media types (BBC presenters raving on 5 Live’s Breakfast programme) or colleagues in the justice world but also friends who don’t think about prisons from one day to the next, even my mum. I’m talking about The Choir on BBC Two which, in case you haven’t caught it yet, went to prison last week. The TV musician Gareth Malone worked with young men inside Aylesbury [...]

A quiet revolution

April 24th, 2019|Real People|

A quiet revolution: from case study to person with real life expertise ‘We need a real person.’ The daily cry of newsroom editors. You name it: adoption, prisons, A + E waiting times, skateboarding dog. Whatever the story, like it or not, journalism has always relied on case studies. ‘News is people’, we learnt at journalism college. The journalese term ‘case study’ for a real person in a story sums up the distancing and objectification of news – such as the mum whose child has been taken away for adoption, the teenager whose dad is in prison or the grandparent lying on a trolley in a hospital corridor. When I reported [...]

Did it need to be said? 10 tweets tackle sexism at the bar

February 26th, 2019|Listening|

Did it need to be said? Ten tweet intervention tackling sexism at the bar. Don’t act like you’re on a stag do and stop making jokes about breasts and skirts…. This was front page of the Evening Standard earlier this week. Not just the Standard. The story of sexism at the bar made headlines in the Daily Mail (in a good way!), the Times and a BBC Radio 4, Womans Hour discussion with Jenni Murray. It all happened thanks to barrister Joanna Hardy who spontaneously took to Twitter offering her remedy for poor treatment and attitudes towards women barristers in courts and chambers. [...]

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