Monday, December 3, 2018

Newsroom to Agency: A Journalist's Transition into Public Relations

I was rather anxious to step foot into the PR classroom at Mohawk college.  I had just graduated journalism and just started to get my head around fatherhood, so learning a new skill had me quite worried I would not be up to snuff.  I was only just learning how to efficiently change a diaper and care for my new son, how in the heck was I going to handle going into a new program?  The newsroom was a very competitive dog-eat-dog environment at times, so the idea of potentially being around competing egos again was a rather unsettling thought. 

Thankfully, my worries were put aside after the first couple weeks of class.  I was happily surprised to see how much of my knowledge and skills from journalism could transfer over to the world of PR.  From my experience so far, the world of PR seems to revolve around time management, well edited/written copy, the ability to adapt and be creative within the projects you are given, and teamwork.  I've always been comfortable with writing, so that base was covered aside from improving my self editing techniques.  I also love any chance to be creative, so being encouraged to think outside the box on my assignments was quite fine with me.  Time management has always been an issue for me, but having a son has made me improve on my time management skills lately.  The only real curve-ball I had to get my head around was team-work, but that was easy enough after wrapping up our assignment where we had to raise funds for a non-profit organization. 

I enjoy how much of a convergent trade PR can be.  I expected journalism to be related to the skill tree involved in PR, but I did not expect marketing to be thrown in the mix as well.  For example, just last week we presented Interactive Marketing Communication plans (IMC for short) and it was a fun and educational process.  Through the presentation, I found out that marketing tactics can actually be employed in the PR world and not just in marketing.  We were told to come up with an IMC plan for a fictional product, or a real-world one.  Considering I love being creative, I went the fictional route with mine and designed a plan for a TV/Computer store that wanted to add a repair center to their business.  In the tactics section of my plan, I jotted down that promo vouchers and sale incentives could be used to create a more lasting impression with customers checking out the new repair center.  I found out that those are typically marketing tactics, but since this was a form of marketing plan it was completely applicable to that scenario and therefore relevant to PR work.

In conclusion,  I can say that the transition has been a surprising one, but a welcome surprise at that.  The program has made me excited to see where the field could take me, and how connections made in the classroom could factor in down the road.  It's a broad new horizon for me, and I couldn't be more excited about it.

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