PR advice from a recovering journalist

Public relations practitioners and journalists need each other to survive. Why not be friendly about it?

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Many journalists switch over to public relations; this, of course, is not breaking news.

After a long career fighting the good fight, many journalists find a job in public relations—perhaps advocating for a cause they have learned to love over the years—mighty tempting. Me? Well, I simply made the switch about 30 years sooner than most.

After a successful journalism career in college and about a year after, I joined The Black Sheep Agency. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I still love the news biz, but it was the right move for me.

My new position has been a crash course in PR. I’ve learned about how journalism and PR intersect, the relationship between PR folks and reporters, and how to navigate this murky, complicated partnership. Being on both sides has given me a perspective that I hope will help us understand each other better.

Here are a few tips I’ve uncovered:

1. Keep pitches simple.

I’ve seen my fair share of pitches, and I’m on the way to writing just as many. I’m actually still on a national PR database as a reporter, so I get dozens of pitches sent to my email daily, most of which I direct to my spam box. Don’t tell anyone, but every now and then I’ll read a few pitches and laugh at how horrible they are.

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