- Know your audience.
- Understand the short- and long-term business implications of your work.
- Know, respect and appreciate PR’s ethics code.
- Be an advocate.
- Focus on outcomes, not outputs.
Why Journalists Don't Always Make the Best PR Pros
By Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, PRSA Chair and CEO
Published: Aug. 15, 2011
Having started my career in journalism, I know all too well the love-hate relationship PR professionals and journalists have with one another. We need each other, except when we don’t. It often seems we coexist just to rant about the other’s follies.
This perception prevailed until the Great Recession. Then, something curious happened: a surge of laid-off journalists began careers in public relations. The U.S. public relations industry grew in revenue by 4 percent in 2008 and 3 percent in 2009, while American newsrooms shed 15 percent of their workforce, losing 8,300 reporters and editors, according to ASNE. Suddenly, PR looked like a promising career for someone with great contacts and the ability to tell compelling stories.
Call it the great journalism-to-PR migration.
What could be wrong with that? At the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), we’re honored to have former journalists join our ranks. In fact, this select group makes up one of our fastest growing member sectors.
But where there is prosperity, concerns often can be found lurking in the shadows. Carol Northrup, a PR professional in California, wrote in the PRSA LinkedIn group that she feels journalists come to PR with a “communication culture of false urgency,” and a lack of appreciation for the “depth and reach of what reputation [management] really entails.”
Read the rest of the op-ed at Poynter.org.