Jumping the journalism ship for PR – 3 tips to adjust quickly


Thinking of shifting from journalism to PR? Here are three tips that will help reporters adjust to their new role as PR pros.

Former journalists are valuable to PR agencies. Their writing skills are excellent, they have a nose for news and know what makes a good story, and they understand the culture of a newsroom.

Learning to think like a reporter is a vital skill in PR, but the transition from journalism isn’t always easy.

There is more to PR than just media relations

The main skill required for both PR and journalism is good communication. In a journalistic role, you are expected to make a story understandable and entertaining for your audience, no matter how complex the issue. You look for the facts in a story.

In PR, you serve as a bridge between your client’s marketing aims, their consumer audience and the media’s need for news. You are looking to persuade, rather than strictly inform.

Many journalists consider PR as the “dark side” of media — it comes with the scepticism required for reporting — but you still have to tell stories with authenticity.


Equip yourself with marketing lingo

What is categorised as “jargon” in journalism is now part of the way you communicate with clients.

You have to develop a strong understanding of branding, which you should already have a sense of if you have covered business stories as a reporter.

Your job is to no longer to grill CEOs, but rather counsel them. This is especially true when you are dealing with a crisis situation.

You are shifting from a buyer to a seller when it comes to pitching as well, which can be difficult for journalists that haven’t worked as freelancers for a while.

3 pitching tips from Róisín Ingle & John Meagher


Your clients are your new bosses

You don’t just have to answer to your section editor — you have to keep a whole list of clients happy.

Your time is managed differently, and you have to account for it in a more structured way than in a newsroom.

Whether the move is long-term or not is not important. It is good to make moves across communication roles because it equips you with a wider range of perspectives.

Imagine if every journalist spent a year working in PR (and vice versa)?

Have you jumped from journalism to PR? What did you wish you’d known beforehand? Tweet your tips to @mediahqnews.