Perspective From Both Sides of the Aisle
I’ve always loved to write, and I had my sights set on a career in journalism from the time I first saw Cary Grant verbally spar with Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. So that’s what I did: got a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and eventually found a position as an editor at a local paper.
Things have changed a bit since then – namely, I’ve jumped to the other side of the fence to the world of PR. Like anything in life, there are pros and cons to being a polished PR gal versus a deadline-crazed editor. Media outreach is a major part of PR work, and it’s fascinating seeing it from the other side while having an insider perspective of the challenges, constraints, goals and even nuts-and-bolts processes media members deal with. Plus, media outreach is like a treasure hunt – you have to search for the right outlets and the right reporters and reach out to them at the right time. It can be a fun challenge, and there’s always room for honing your skills.
Another benefit of being in PR: the variety of work. I love writing and editing and I hope it will always be a prominent part of my career. That said, after working for hours on a detailed technical article for a client, it’s nice to be able to switch off and tackle another kind of task, whether that’s researching a new client, pitching stories to the media or any of the other countless things PR requires every day. And it’s not just the type of tasks that vary – the clients do, too. At CGPR, our client mix includes everything from higher education and tourism to trade credit insurance and health care. I’m always learning something new, and it’s impossible to become bored.
Finally, being in PR means getting to work on long-range projects requiring careful strategizing and diligent effort. In comparison, media members are often more zeroed in on a singular article or issue, and there’s typically not a whole lot of room to look to the future. It’s rewarding getting to exercise the mental muscle needed to make long-term plans and steadily chip away at a faraway goal. Plus, the tightly knit team structure at Common Ground means we all hold each other accountable, striving to deliver the best possible work to our clients.
So what are the cons to being in PR versus journalism? Being the recipient of free stuff from PR companies, a ploy to get me to cover their client, was undoubtedly nice. But CGPR takes such good care of us I don’t actually miss that at all. The one thing I do miss is interviewing everyday people about their lives and writing about whatever I fancy. But at the end of the day, the work at CGPR often requires talking to people who are at the top of their fields or have something important to share – it’s an honor knowing these individuals entrust their stories to us.