Why Journalists Need PR People

In these days of shrinking newsrooms, there is an increasing overlap between the worlds of PR and journalism. And old PR joke is reporters always hate PR professionals, until they need a job.

I have noticed that as journalism jobs are eroding, many reporters are turning to PR and public affairs positions with mixed results. There are so many unemployed PR practioners on the market, that there is fierce competition for these jobs. PR agencies are now looking for applicants who can do more than write well. They also have to be able to pitch, take pictures, do social media, and shoot and edit video. The video after the jump sums up my thoughts.

Manny Otiko, vice president of social and new media at Desmond & Louis, has worked in the public relations and journalism field for about 15 years as a journalist and a media relations specialist. His experience includes stints as a reporter at a daily newspaper, serving as a media relations specialist for a state agency and working for Southern California public relations agencies, Dameron Communications, Tobin and Associates and WunderMarx PR.

Manny has worked with clients in the public affairs, technology, education and economic development fields. He has secured coverage in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, CNN.com and Men’s Health.

Manny has been published in The Riverside Press Enterprise, The LA Sentinel, The LA Wave, The Washington Afro-Am, IE Weekly and Our Weekly. He is an active member of the Orange County chapter of PRSA, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Journalists’ Association of Southern California.

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  • Couldn’t agree more! There are four PR people for every journalist. This makes our job very difficult, especially because there are really only a handful of quality writers at each
    publication that you really want to get in touch with. I want to make it clear though that it’s not their fault for this precarious position; it’s their companies broken business models that force them into this content farm mentality for ads.

    PR professionals are moving more into the content creation space with the advent of social media and community management. I see us writing more news release types stories and the actual story that we want written about us because it most likely won’t
    happen. And if journalists are getting into PR, it’s a perfect time to start this.

    The next major evolution of the press release will be writing the actual story you want your readers to enjoy so that you rely less on the fragmented media and their broken business models. The new age of PR Journalism.

  • I agree Trace. I have noticed that with media sources drying up, increasingly PR people have to create their own content. I do a lot of writing for clients and its not just press releases, it’s columns and feature stories. 

  • You hit the nail on the head. A fellow classmate and I were just talking the other day about how important it is for us to gain as much experience as possible before leaving college because as budget cuts ensue, companies need one person who can handle writing press releases, designing brochures, creating social media campaigns, and much more. When I entered college, I wondered why Journalism and Public Relations are paired together as one major. Now I understand the relationship between them and the importance of that relationship.

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  • having managed online  and multimedia news content for various newsrooms before going into PR, that experience has taught me to often write press releases as articles. Having seen firsthand the ‘cut and paste’   method mentioned in the clip, i know making the journo’s job easier (by almost doing it for them) is a strong basis for a good relationship down the line.

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