Inside the Inbox of… Kirsten Andrews

29/Dec/2014 · 3 MINS READ

In a series we’re calling ‘Inside the Inbox of…’ we’re asking industry leaders to let us delve into their most private of places… their emails!

Today we’re exploring the inbox of Kirsten Andrews, head of Media and PR at Sydney University.


0 unread – I do a quick glance of them all right away.
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0 flagged

1) Which email conversation has sparked your interest recently? 

A friend and I have been trying to work out how to describe the jobs we will be doing two years from now even in the same organisations. A challenge to get it all down clearly, but an exciting exchange of ideas!

2) What’s the top priority in your inbox at the moment?

I have been sick this week so a little scared to get my head around what’s in there! I have 120 emails which is a lot for me – I am an ‘in and out same day turnaround’ person with email. Many of my emails are media queries or something I can ask the team to follow up, so I leave the more substantive ones until my allocated ‘email hour’ which I schedule at some stage for each day.

3) Who are you emailing that inspires you?

I love sending emails to my colleagues celebrating a team win. For example today I had the pleasure of sending to our top international spokespeople a media report which said our international media presence was all in key countries of strategic importance to the University and in media outlets that matter to our key audiences – a nice way to end the week.

4) What newsletters are you signed up to?

The usual industry ones – Mumbrella, Crikey and I like the news summaries – I get The Australian Higher Education, Media and general news and the Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian news updates. I also get The Advertiser mid-afternoon updates to keep across what’s happening in my home town! I get a daily update from The New York Times as well and all of the University of Sydney emails – staff, students, alumni as well as one for researchers and the latest performances at our Conservatorium of Music. On a personal note I receive email updates at work from The Opera House and the Seymour Centre, as well as Temple and Webster for homewares. Most other emails go to my personal account.

5) Which kind of emails gets instantly deleted?

I sign up to lots of news updates on email which I read while at my desk but delete en masse if I get to them too late. I get a lot of spam because my email address has to be publicly available so set up filters for those.

6) Which kinds of email do you most love to receive?

Anything which makes clear in the subject line what it wants me to do with it: an interview request, pitch for business, approval of a statement from my own team, read for information.

7) What do you think you’ll be discussing over email in six month’s time? 

For us, the ongoing challenge is how to make sure our skills remain useful! I think the ability to spot, write and sell a story will always be in demand, but writing in an SEO friendly manner, in shorter and different formats and pitching to authors and editors who aren’t traditional journalists is where we all need to learn more.

8) How long does it usually take you to respond?

I use my email like a filing system so prefer a quick turnaround, but I do get a lot of in house emails that require careful consideration before replying. More than 20 emails in my inbox when I leave and I haven’t kept up for the day; more than 50 and I feel out of control. So if I am sitting on your email for more than three days, there’s either a problem or I have read it as not requiring a reply.

9) When do you stop replying to emails?

I read but do not reply to non-urgent emails after hours. I have found it encourages long email exchanges late at night that are simply not needed.

10) Finally, you have a chance to change the world with just one email – who’s that getting sent to and why?

I love an email that motivates people to donate to a charity, attend an event or participate in a cause of some kind. So I guess any email that turns slacktivism into activism works for me.