Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The difference between journalism and PR

This year I started an internship at the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University.  I was hired for skills I hadn’t learned yet, having only been in the PR program at Mohawk for about a month, and for skills I’d learned in a field that, while also in the range of communications, was completely different. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself in to.

I learned while studying journalism and at my internship with a local news website, that PR is the “dark side”. We were taught that people who work in PR are always trying to ‘spin’ a story a certain way. I’m learning how wrong that is.

At Mac, I’m working on a video project chronicling the history of the department, from its foundation all the way up to its current teaching methods.  I’m using my journalism skills for something positive. I’m interviewing subjects, researching, filming, taking photos, contributing to the latest annual report, and helping to update the department websites.

One of the photos I took that might be used in the annual report. 
I think the best part is all of the positive, encouraging people I get to meet each time I go to work. Everyone I talk to is very happy to help, and interested in seeing the final project when it is completed.  My work will be used in a variety of different ways in order to help the university and the department gain funding and attract new researchers and students. I love that I get to help tell a positive story about an amazing institution and the wonderful people who work there.  

While I’m grateful for all of the skills I learned while studying journalism, they did help me get this job, I’m glad I made the choice to switch to public relations.

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