August 16, 2017
Public Relations professionals get a bad rap. No matter where it began, the misconception of PR people as “spinners” is out there, and has been furthered by stereotypes, assumptions, and narrow perspective. Why should you trust me, a PR professional? Because I only recently stepped onto the public relations side from the other side of the aisle. Just a couple years ago, I was a full-fledged journalist.
As a journalist, I would constantly receive pitches from PR professionals. Sure, sometimes the pitches were off-base — an event outside of my coverage zone, a product outside my beat, etc. — and those emails landed in the trash. Conversely, I also received pitches and press releases full of valuable information, providing me with a fresh lead or new subject for my next round of assignments. Without those pitches, my work as a journalist would have been much more challenging. I would have spent more time on the legwork of uncovering the stories, with less time to actually interview and report on the things that matter.
Truthfully, I believed as a journalist I was somehow “above” the PR world. “I am telling the stories that need telling,” I would think from my editorial throne. But now, as a PR professional, I am doing the same thing. I work with my healthcare clients to highlight their stories, and then share those stories with the media in order to reach a larger audience within the healthcare industry. I have found my journalistic instincts and intimate understanding of the media to be invaluable assets, and I use them every day to make my public relations work both effective and enjoyable.
What unites PR and journalism is storytelling, whether you are a PR person crafting the story on behalf of a client, or a journalist sharing the story with the world. Stories — like those behind a new piece of technology, an executive’s journey to the C-suite, or a company’s humble beginnings — make readers care and relate, and often inspire them to take action. Where there are stories to be told, there are talented PR professionals eager to tease out the most compelling details and launch these valuable narratives into the spotlight.