Why Do Journalists Make Good PR People?
A prospective client recently asked why we pride ourselves on being former journalists. Our network includes two former journalists, both of whom left the business several years ago and have spent the intervening years mastering the skills of communicating beyond the pages of a newspaper. The experience we have gained since leaving the news business is invaluable. Still, we see reasons to be proud about our background as journalists. Among these are the following:
- Former journalists are the best-trained writers: As journalists, we wrote hundreds of stories every year and learned how to improve our writing from the excellent editing we received from many great editors. Journalists don’t fully appreciate the training they get with the many layers of editors that review every bit of content they produce. People who have never been in journalism cannot replicate that experience and training.
- Former journalists know how to make complex topics interesting: Clients and other PR firms have valued our ability to take complex topics and turn them into understandable content for publications, infographics, videos, press releases, websites or blog posts. We are great at developing messages because we know how to research and synthesize data to develop and support each message point.
- Former journalists make a client’s job easier: We have had clients comment on how they routinely received content from other firms that fell short of what they needed and had spelling and grammatical errors. They were frustrated that they had to spend hours of their time fixing the work of well-compensated consultants, and they appreciated that we provided them with content that required little work on their part. Our job as consultants is to make the client’s job easier. Consultants who aren’t skilled writers do just the opposite.
- Former journalists are a better investment for content creation: Years of working on extremely tight daily newspaper deadlines make former journalists better investments. They are faster and more efficient in their work. While others may devote half a day or more to one press release, most journalists can turn out that press release in a couple of hours, at most. Their news judgment and skills also will serve the client well in helping to determine what might interest the media. They won’t waste a client’s time and money researching information that is unhelpful. They know how to focus their search for what they need and how to quickly turn it into usable content.
- Former journalists are natural storytellers: As numerous studies have shown, facts only tell. Stories sell. Former journalists are storytellers, and they know how to tell a client’s story in a memorable and meaningful fashion. Using a story to convey the facts about a client’s product, services or organization is the best way to ensure the audience gets the facts the client wishes conveyed.
These are just a few of the benefits of having a background in journalism. We’re sure other former journalists can name even more. Please let us know!