By Jennifer Parks
Rose+Allyn Public and Online Relations
For years it’s been called the “Dark Side.” At least that’s what hard working journalists often call the world of PR. I too admit I might have made a joke or two over the years about PR folks – it was easy, why not? But after 15 years in TV news the force of that “Dark Side” was so strong I succumbed to it. Not for any sad or depressing reasons, but simply because it was time to try life on the other side. Ok, the money may have helped influence the decision.
Now after five months on the job, I can honestly say no regrets. PR is similar to journalism in that there’s always that pursuit of a great story. My job now is not to report it, but rather to help find those great stories from my clients and then pitch it to the right news outlets. Getting those outlets to bite is a similar high to when I scored that “exclusive” interview as a reporter. Only now it feels even sweeter knowing you helped a client get more exposure for their business, cause or campaign.
The transition from news to PR for me has been seamless. Working all those years in newsrooms around the country and Phoenix has only made me a better PR person. Knowing what’s a story, who to call, how and when to pitch a story has been a great asset for me. There’s no classroom that will teach those real-life experiences. Personally knowing reporters, assignment editors, producers, newsroom managers and photographers is priceless. You know what they want – and what they’ll ask for even before they say it.
This is key in crisis communication. When a crisis occurs, I know exactly what the media will do because I’ve been there; knocking on the doors, asking the uncomfortable questions and doing those ambush interviews we all love to watch.
As a reporter, every day was different. In fact, most days when I came to work I didn’t know what I’d be covering or who I’d be interviewing until the story was decided. PR is very similar. Only now I have a vested interest. Getting my clients maximum positive exposure, protecting their reputation and coming up with creative marketing ideas for our businesses or campaigns is my personal mission. In PR we have to work diligently every day for a client to justify our existence. Instead of just working on one story – I work on dozens. I like to say “what have I done for this client today.” It’s a never-ending process with often very positive results. And for me it can be just as exhilarating as any exclusive interview.
In the end I only have television news to thank for not only giving me the most valuable Public Relations skill set, but for helping me land my greatest job yet.