Trust me, I’m a Journalist!

by

All the Presidents Men

Trust me, I’m a journalist!

Well, I used to be, not so long ago, until I made the not-so-giant leap to the “dark side”.

With one swift sidestep I moved from a deadline-driven, fast-paced environment of harangued editors desperately trying to feed the beast against a backdrop of plunging revenue, head-spinning advancements in technology and a crashing economy into.. well a deadline-driven, fast-paced environment and the rest…

It is a different world, there is no doubt about that, but it is also a very similar beast.

It was once very much frowned upon for a journalist to move into PR. It was considered a sell-out, an easy option. The few who did felt ridiculed and sniggered at.

But over the past number of years there has been a discernible influx of some top class journalists into PR.

So, why is this?

Of course, the newspaper industry is in serious peril, the concept of a full-time job in print now seems prehistoric and sadly every other day you hear about more journalists out of work.

But, is this the only driver behind this sudden transition?

It could be down to the fact that PR itself is no longer considered a dirty word.

In these challenging times of increasingly straitened resources but ever increasing demands, journalists are under more pressure than ever. These days a call from a PR professional with a worthwhile story, far from being considered an unwelcome interruption can actually provide a welcome lifeline.

As a reporter my job was to find interesting and relevant stories which would pique the interest of the most mercurial of newspaper editors and deliver day-in day-out, which is pretty much my current job description.

I made the move to PR two months ago and I haven’t looked back since, partly because I am too busy to do so, but mostly because it is a fun, challenging  job with opportunity and longevity.

It was essential to me to go somewhere, which shared my values and where I would be able to put my skill sets to the best use – Fuzion fit the bill.

I won’t lie, possessing a well-honed, journalistic instinct is a huge advantage – the ability to cast a trained eye through a press release littered with trivia and find the news angle and then sell it to your trusted former colleagues and friends is critical.

The difficult part is trying to convince your clients that the angle they believe to be the most relevant sometimes belongs at the bottom of the release or possibly in the trash!

But I just take a deep breath and tell them “Trust me, I’m a journalist” and thankfully, for the most part, they do..

Edel O’Connell is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion PR working from the Dublin office.

Fuzion are a PR firm in Ireland with offices in Dublin and Cork

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10 Responses to “Trust me, I’m a Journalist!”

  1. nyrickgrant Says:

    Well said and best of luck. I made the move from US-based financial services trade journalism to the “dark side” about 7 years ago. As you pointed out, the job is almost entirely the same. Just reporting to a dozen key editors instead of one or two. To your continued success!

  2. Edel Williams Says:

    Hi Edel,
    In the fast paced world of print journalism, it is always a refreshing and time saving change to receive in from PR companies a well written, well thought out press release. For the journalist on the receiving end, it means most of the work is already done. As a result, those press releases that meet the criteria for ones own magazine/newspaper will be the first to be considered for publication. For me, as a journalist, good press releases are a godsend, saving me precious time, energy and effort. While you view your move as one to ‘the dark side’, I view the releases that PR professionals send me as valuable, crucial and obviously mutually beneficial necessity in these tough times. Couldn’t do my job without really good PR professionals.

  3. Fabio Venturini Says:

    A great post, and it reminds me of an interview I did a while back while I was editor of Irish Printer magazine in which I was asked to give some tips to PR folk approaching a magazine editor:

    Do you have any advice for PRs?
    If you’re going to send me a press release make sure it has a picture with it if possible – and a logo does not count as a picture. Keep the text of a press release simple and to the point. Don’t be afraid to give plenty of detail but don’t pepper it with superlatives and other PR nonsense. If I want to write something flowery, I’ll put it in myself. Oh, and keep the layout of a press release plain and simple. It’s a lot easier on the eyes.

    What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
    A quick introductory email followed by a phone call. Keep in mind when the publication dates of a magazine are and try not to call during the production cycle. We don’t want to be rude but its difficult to be nice the fifth or sixth time you’ve had your concentration broken by someone about something that, right now, is irrelevant to us.

    What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
    Have a good idea of what the magazine you are approaching is interested in. Every day I get emails and phone calls from PRs representing companies who really don’t fall under the umbrella of our magazine’s coverage. The tough thing is, that the PR is generally five minutes into their spiel before I realise that I’m not interested and have to cut them short. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really like having to do that. I’m the sort of person who waits patiently as a door-to door salesman will go through his pitch before apologising for not buying from them and feeling guilty about it.

    The full interview is here: http://www.featuresexec.com/bulletin/interview_article.php?id=3175#.UhtZlvnfAUw

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Thanks Fabio for the great post – how are you keeping?

      • Fabio Venturini Says:

        Great, thanks. Relocated to Budapest recently to work in communications with the School of Public Policy of the Central European University. A nice change from Dublin, but I’m raging that I missed what seems like it’s been a great Irish summer.
        Hope all is well with the Fuzion team.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        All good here Fabio – the summer has been unreal, thankfully. The country needed it! Good luck in Budapest – how long will you be there ?

      • Fabio Venturini Says:

        It’s a two-year contract – which is a pretty rare find these days so I’d say I’ll be here at least that long.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        Enjoy – I’ve been there twice. Interesting city.

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