From newspapers to public relations

West Virginia University School of Journalism Student Services Coordinator Jason Broadwater has always stressed the need for a writing foundation in any field dealing with journalism.

It seems that simple fact rings true especially in public relations.

The career is embodied by writing press releases, blogs even twitter updates that all need to be well crafted in order to send a message. It’s message needs to be clear to reach an audience. It won’t be understood if the person behind it simply doesn’t know how to write. Many PR practitioners, or those involved with agencies, have once worked in the newspaper business developing their writing and reporting skills.

A friend of mine, Edmund Coletta, Public Affairs Director for the Department of Environmental Protection in Massachusetts, actually got his start writing for a newspaper. Now, as a Press Secretary he writes the releases and statements flowing out of his busy Boston office.

Recently, ex-publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Brian Tierney put together a new phase of his career. A former PR strategist, Tierney took his experience from working in both industries to expand the forefront of a growing digital industry. He, along with a group of investors, purchased Realtime Media.

The article can be found here.

Tierney has been around the block and with this move can become one of the most powerful names in online media.

Now the talk of newspapers in the current era is a slippery slope.

With the evident switch to the internet, news and information services can be updated rapidly through the use of the online resource.

Daily newspapers don’t have that luxury.

Coletta himself, a newspaper man at heart, admits that it is a dying breed and will fade from everyday use eventually. There is just no beating the convience of news at your finger tips on a website. However, The Daily Athenaeum, student newspaper at WVU, recently released an ad hyping up not just its publication, but all newspapers. The DA cited 35 million daily subscribers to newspapers nationwide.

Basically, they are saying if its out there, people will read it.

The same goes for public relations. Just because it is not as prominent of a news source than in its glory days, newspapers are still viable mediums of information. The history prominent PR people have with the newspaper industry may cause some jolts of revivement. The working relationship and dual partnership both share could make it easier for communication because the writer and practitioner both somewhat have a mutual understanding of what the other goes through in his or her profession.

That being said, to get into public relations, writing is the key. Any experience, any method of skills is not only reccomended, it’s required.


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