Journalism to PR: No substitute for passion (part 3 of 3)

Michael Perry
By Michael Perry
January 30th, 2016

Please be sure to see Journalism to PR: Transferable skills (part 1) and Journalism to PR: Useful skills to have. 

By day, I work at a successful strategic communications agency. At night, once a week, I teach journalism to college students.

By day, I may help clients with how to carefully, and sometimes generically, respond to the media. At night, I teach students how to not settle for questions answered carefully and generically.

The truth is, though, journalism and public relations intersect quite a bit.

This is the third in a series of blog posts about the transition from journalist to PR professional. We talked about transferable skills and then some new skills.

Today I plan to focus on some commonalities that can make you successful in either world:

Reputation: Here’s the deal – if you are a rude reporter, or an editor or producer who never returns calls or emails, and then you want to go into PR with the very people you blew off or treated rudely, you’re in for a tough time. If you are known for being careless with facts, lazy in your work ethic and always taking the easy way to a lesser outcome, you’re in for a tough time. If you are a bully as a journalist or PR person, you’re in for a tough time. Conversely, it doesn’t cost anything to treat people well and develop a strong reputation as a decent person. This will always serve you well.

Respect: There is no need for having an antagonistic relationship with a journalist or a PR person. Everyone has a job to do. Everyone is trying to do it well. Everyone is trying to excel at his or her chosen professional path so he or she may live well and prosper. Nothing wrong with that. You can respectfully ask a tough question – just as someone can respectfully choose not to answer the question you’ve asked.

Make each other’s job easy:
Journalism and PR are both changing. There are different roles being played, different challenges, different tools and tactics. Take the time to learn how to help each other. How can journalists best work with PR folks to get what they need? How can PR folks best work with journalists to get what they need? There are ways to help each other in a time when everyone is asked to do more with less and play roles for which they are not trained.

Win-win: There really is such a thing as an outcome that is mutually beneficial. It’s not always possible, but in the public relations world, it’s worth searching for. This goes to the heart of reputation and respect (Nos. 1 and 2 on this list).

Passion: Succeeding in these professions requires a certain degree of passion, something that can’t necessarily be taught. When involved in an interview process in my new life (PR) or my previous life (journalism), this was the one character trait I looked for. Passion will make you successful because you won’t stop learning/working/improving until you succeed. You will adapt to change and new ways of conducting business. And you will enjoy the process.

Perry spent 25 years at Gannett as a reporter, editor and managing editor, has launched new products (print and online), been a magazine editor and written, edited and published books.


By | 2017-03-12T18:54:08+00:00 January 30th, 2016|Marketing Communications, Uncategorized, Vr3|Comments Off on Journalism to PR: No substitute for passion (part 3 of 3)

About the Author:

Michael Perry
Michael is an award-winning writer and editor with a unique combination of creativity, business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit that serves clients well. He has successfully managed information, projects and teams – always with the audience in mind. A University of Cincinnati graduate, Michael has been involved with the launching of new businesses using traditional and new media strategies. He spent 25 years in journalism as a newspaper reporter, editor and managing editor and has been a magazine and book editor. Michael is an adjunct journalism professor at UC. He served as director of marketing and promotions for the 2012 World Choir Games and is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati Class 36.