I knew from the moment I graduated I was going to embark in the PR/marketing industry, so I never really expected my journalism degree would have a huge impact on my career. However, working at Longview Strategies, I realize just how much the skills I learned in college would affect my path.
Here are three skills I gained from journalism that are helping me excel in the PR field:
I deal with reporters on a daily basis, and knowing how to relate is half the battle of media relations. Having the journalism background helps me flush out story ideas and understand what a reporter’s mind is likely to be focused on.While studying journalism, having a “reporter brain” changed my thinking process: it helped me connect the dots on relevant story angles to pitch and create meaningful relationships with reporters. I’m constantly evaluating the newsworthy story angles of pitches and thinking about how reporters might respond to them.
On the other side of the equation, once a reporter is interested in speaking with a client, it’s my job to create a media briefing document to prepare the spokesperson for an interview. When creating a media brief, I have to write down everything I feel is important: details our client needs to know about the reporter, the publication, and the subject matter to ensure they are as prepared as they could possibly be. Harnessing my “reporter brain” comes in handy when creating these documents and prepping the client.
Journalists’ work revolves around hard deadlines – so ours does, too. If I fail to give a reporter the information they need in order to write a story before the deadline, that’s it; our client loses out on being featured in third party content and I raise the risk of being considered “the one that’s always late.”
As an avid writer, I’m used to crafting stories. Whether it’s for blog posts, bylines, pitches, press releases, or social media content, AP style formatting comes in handy when dealing with news publications (because that’s mainly the format they use). Journalists know how to structure content in order to meet the requirements of their editors. It’s a skill that’s almost second nature to me and is a helpful tool when writing any type of content for our clients.
Quality writing isn’t solely about bylines and blog posts. Email communication was one of the hardest aspects of the job to adjust to. Giving clear and precise direction to a client can be a difficult skill to master. Rarely did we have to email professionals when in college; it was mostly professors or other students. However, because journalism is focused on writing skills, the habit of delivering clear and concise messages is always top of mind.
University professors always tell you that the skills you learn in college will ultimately help you when you embark in the “real world” (AKA, life after school). I didn’t go into the traditional journalism field, but the skills I learned while taking journalism courses made me a better PR professional at Longview Strategies.