From the Newsroom to PR
During my training as a journalist, I was repeatedly told that PR was the ‘the dark side’, so when I decided to make the jump, there was an apprehension on my part that this might be true.
I’d never experienced working in PR before, nor did I know anyone who did but I’d only ever heard colleagues talking about their dealings with PR firms.
Some just didn’t like working alongside PRs, while others did. For me personally, the PRs I did decide to work with were helpful from the moment we set-up a ‘working relationship’.
From these relationships, I helped them, and they helped me. An example of this included setting up interviews with celebrities and sporting stars, which I would never have had without them.
Like any journalist, did I get inundated with press releases and other commentaries via phone and email? Yes. Did this often work? Absolutely not.
The PRs I worked with, sometimes on a weekly basis, took the time to get to know me and understood that I didn’t want to be contacted with every release, comment or oped – it was about being strategic and knowing what I was interested in and what I was interested in and wanted to write about.
But here I am, nearly four years later, an account manager at PRO and on the ‘dark side’. Has working in journalism benefitted my transition? 100 per cent.
Importantly, whilst bringing my journalism skills and newsroom knowledge to the world of PR, I’ve also crucially learnt the importance of the two working in tandem.
So, what have I learnt?
We’re on the same team (sort of!)
I’ve been asked many times by my friends and former colleagues about making the jump into PR and the relationship between journos and PRs. At first it was a difficult one to answer, but after working in the industry for a prolonged period of time, it’s easy: “We benefit each other.”
In all honesty, journalists and PRs aren’t that much different. Both are strategic, critical thinkers, thick-skinned and robust, who have the ability to write quality content, while being concise.
Like most work places, we also share the same pressures that come with working in a high-pressured environment, such as deadlines, demanding workloads, knowing different sectors, working long hours and dealing with (sometimes) difficult people.
It’s important to have more than a digital working relationship
One thing I’ve always said when speaking to other PRs about when I was journalist was: “I always preferred working with journalists who would make them the time to meet me on my terms.”
It’s true and I can’t stress it enough. It wasn’t just the free lunch/drinks (although that was always hard to say no to) with the PRs I worked with, it was the fact that they did it on my time and came prepared with ideas, stories, and information that was useful to them and gave them a head-start in their work.
Of course, journalists must be receptive, it’s a two-way street but I know from experience it’s vital to have a personal relationship with each other – it benefits you both, for different reasons.
I made the right decision
All those reservations I had before starting in the PR world subsided quickly. I was lucky that I had the skills transferable from one to the other. PR, like any fast-paced career, has its stresses but the rewards and job satisfaction are more than worth it. For anyone looking to make the jump, make sure the agency is right for you and if it is, you won’t regret it.