Bridging the Gap from PR to Journalism
After grad school, I packed all my belongings (okay, mostly shoes) into a Budget moving van and drove off to Utica, New York where I landed my first TV job at an NBC affiliate station. As I drove, I was excited and couldn’t wait to start the most glamorous job in the world [insert sarcasm] where I would report on live TV and produce the two-hour morning show.
But, as “they” say, things don’t always go as planned. I did drive off to Utica, but the job wasn’t at all glamorous. I worked overnights (11pm until about 8am,) drove around to cover the weather in some of the biggest snow storms I’d ever seen and worked every holiday and most weekends.
A year later, I moved from Utica and made the market jump to a Connecticut station where I helped cover stories that made national headlines including the murder of a Yale graduate student and an explosion at a Middletown plant that killed five people.
After working in TV for two and a half years, and juggling a bunch of balls in the air at both the assignment desk and in the control room, I decided I wanted to switch to PR to be able to use my writing skills, my creative skills and honestly, I wanted to work more normal hours. Basically, I suffered from the “grass is greener on the other side,” syndrome.
Now that I’m working in PR/media relations, I do have a clearer picture from the other side of the table…And for the record, the grass is NOT always greener. Even though I’m not living the glamour job this time around, I better understand what PR people do, and have a better perspective on the client’s side of things.
Having a client’s perspective along with the media perspective has helped me bridge the gap between the two professions. I now understand the need for relationships between PR people and journalists, and understand how to start making them. i.e. writing my e-mails to journalists so they are short and sweet, and making my calls at a convenient time for them, because from my experience, news waits for no one.
I now work with a lot of creative and intelligent people, many of who went to school for PR or communications where as I didn’t. But even though my background differs from my colleagues, I wouldn’t have changed the way I did things, because my backgrounds allow me to see how the marriage works between the professions.
I can now understand the mindset behind a brand’s PR initiatives, but I also understand how to formulate those into a news story. In essence, my experience in the newsroom has laid the tracks for my career in PR/media relations and I hope that my knowledge in both avenues will allow me to bring a dual perspective to every project.