January 09th 2012 was an extremely important date in my life. It was on this day that I went against everything my mentors had instilled in me about the perceived ‘Dark Side’ that is Public Relations.
In the Journalism world the word PR is passionately frowned upon. For most, it’s where aged journos eventually end up when they’ve retired in hope of salvaging the ‘tacky’ profession. Here I am aged 26, hardly at the peak of my Journalism career, so much potential to transform me into the next Pulitzer winner (haha) and after 4 years of grooming I decide to jump ship.
Much to their dismay I’ve never felt this fitted to a profession than I have with PR. In fact, I’ve discovered that there’s nothing to justify the superior attitude displayed by some journalists towards PR people.
All this left me wondering, is this acrimony between the two professions really necessary. The reality is both professions have plenty of room to co-exist and complement each other without the cattiness. PRs go out of their way to source content from their clients; clients who don’t necessarily understand newsworthiness required for a piece to make it in tier 1 media. There’s pressure from all angles, clients demanding publicity, and journalists who are just get annoyed because they received a release from a PR person who then dared followed up with a call. Regardless of whether the piece is brilliant, has all the information necessary, because it’s from a PR person, it’s deemed not good enough.
PR is not promotional work done by ‘poppies’ who have no clue what’s going on in the world around them. They are in a business of managing reputations, building value and relationships with their audiences.
Fortunately this disease does not affect all hacks. Many have long since recognised the value of PR and are reaping the rewards to the mutual benefit of both crafts.
On the 09 January 2012 I joined Fleishman-Hillard SA as an Account Manager aka “PR Poppy” for the Sustainability portfolio. The PR poppy in me is fully immersed in her a new title and has never received the pleasure from a work environment than what she’s felt in the PR world.