Journalism VS PR: Tips School Won't Teach You
As a Masters graduate of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University with my degree in Broadcast Journalism and ten years in the industry, most of which were spend at CNN - I know a thing or two about communications and I must say that PR and Journalism are completely separate beasts.
In a nutshell, Journalism serves the public while PR serves the client.
Once you've walked a mile (or a few hundred miles) in a journalists shoes you know how to empathize with them. Here's my top ways to understand where they are coming from:
DO: Be genuine. Be friendly. Give good information. Be on-time and available
DON'T: Don't call too many times. Don’t send story ideas off their beat. Don’t send press releases
Remember, they are stressed out and poor. Be nice to them and give them their space.
How to contact a journalist: Call, email or DM - find their fave way but don’t be too aggressive!
The number one question I get is "do press releases work?". In my experience as a 10-year journalism vet and a 3-year PR Pro, Press Releases are affective for overall public trust, backlinks, PR reports, investor interest, hype - not organic news coverage
Nowadays, companies large and small are becoming more impatient. Results that once took 3 years of cooperation and campaigns to accomplish are now expected in a matter of weeks...months if you're lucky.
When working with a client, go with the flow, hear them out. They want to maintain control of their brand, after all, it's their baby. Once you earn their trust, don't be afraid to make waves - and make the news with your PR strategy.
Take a look around you and ask yourself what ads, articles, strategies are working for other successful companies when it comes to PR and news coverage? Learn everything and take the best from each. I call it the Singapore strategy.
Finally, you may feel like your attention is being pulled in a million different directions but the NUMBER ONE piece of advice I can give to you is to keep your integrity. I successfully transitioned from journalism to PR and I've kept all my connections intact because of this rule.
BTW, please remember don't bully yourself. Failures are great! It means your learning and growing. So be kind to yourself. #treatyoself