The difference between journalism and PR

When I was studying for my journalism degree, the lecturers liked to make fun of PR and joke that we would ‘all find ourselves working in PR in the end anyway’… as if it was an undesirable end to our careers. Luckily, I had some knowledge and experience of the world of PR, so I knew that their quips were merely a product of the long running tension between both professions.

However, it was really interesting to me that the third year PR module was actually the most popular of all of the optional subjects. Either these budding young journalists accepted their ‘fate’ or they understood the potential of PR and thought it might be a useful string to their bow.

Whether both sides like it or not, PR and journalism are highly interlinked, and more often than not, they complement each other very well.

As a journalist who has had experience of working in PR with Approach, I have seen both sides, and how all of my transferrable skills align! I think one of the most important parts of both roles, and the very, very bottom line is that we’re all storytellers, one way or another. Often good PR will produce print-ready copy and save the journalist a lot of time and the leg work of trying to understand a complex businesses or product. 

The strange thing about having experienced PR and journalism is being on both sides of the coin. When I was a student journalist, I was often in desperate need for stories, so was over the moon with any press release sent to me, and I often reached out to PR consultants for new stories. On my placement with Approach, I have had the chance to be on the other end of the phone – calling journalists to pitch my story and convince them why it would be of interest to them!

Being patient is so important for both professions. You can be left chasing people up for weeks – whether it be a source who is still saying ‘maybe’ to an interview, or a journalist who hasn’t yet responded to your bespoke press release. Not being scared to call and have a real life (as opposed to virtual!) conversation is vital!

My biggest take away from working in both areas is that there are a lot of similarities across the two. I don’t think any journalism students should be put off a career in PR, and vice versa! They are not as different as the other likes to think…  In fact, you could say that they’re practically the same, with both spending around 90% of their time responding to emails!! There are So. Many. Emails.

If you are interested in learning more about PR, I would highly recommend checking out the Approachability training page, to see how the team can assist you, or if you’re looking for a PR career, call the team here. They’ve lots of useful advice to give!

Written by Anna Greenwood, who spent a week on placement with us at Approach Towers.

Images sourced from Pixabay.