Newsletter PR: The Good, Bad and Ugly
From News To PR
by Amy Davis on 07/12/2012
When I was a ragged, rushed, local TV news reporter, I would often meet some perky PR girl anxious to get me an interview, or corral all the media to one spot. She was always well-groomed, all smiles, and ambitious to the point of obnoxious. My fellow TV cronies and I would often scoff at public relations as “not a real job,” or say things like “PR people have to justify their existence.” We would be annoyed at their guarded on-camera answers, and opinions about how to shape our stories.
Make no mistake – we would kiss the feet of PR reps who got us fast interviews. Then, one by one, I watched colleagues leave news for the better hours and stability of public relations. Secretly, we thought, “Hmmm. They do seem happier. How can I get in on that?!”
Making the Transition
When I met MMI’s CEO Patty Briguglio this January, I was in a huge hurry. I needed to interview a Triangle small business owner for a story quickly. Fortunately, I was at an event hosted by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and they knew just the lady who would be camera ready.
After Patty’s interview, wherein I asked her predictions for the local economy in 2012, I said off the cuff, “You must have a lot of reporters come over to PR.” Without hesitation she said, “No, they can’t seem to set aside the objectivity of journalism. They can’t sell a story.” After assuring her that I could sell, and she saw the camera I was using she said, “I may have a place for you. Call me.”
A month later, I ended my TV career and started at MMI.
I’m so glad I did. I should have done it ages ago. Not just because I no longer have to stand in hurricane force winds at 5 a.m., or chase reluctant politicians with a microphone in 100-degree heat, but because this is a good fit for me.
The Realities of What PR Does
Gone are the days of “love ‘em and leave ‘em” after getting an interview. Being a public relations professional is about establishing relationships. The biggest change has been working for someone else to tell their side of the story. Through our work for clients, we do everything we can to relay their message. We are their ally and cheerleader. I like that.
I get to craft creative videos, like the one I made for Douglas Carroll Salon. Douglas David has been in business in the Triangle for 26 years, and I had the privilege of visually telling the highs and lows of his journey.
While client videos are my main job at MMI, I have loved sharing with clients what I learned while working in the media. MMI has developed an extensive media training course. I have found it is the perfect blend of my past and present careers.
What I Have Learned Most Importantly
The biggest thing I have learned is everyone needs good PR. I was wrong to think that public relations was somehow “soft” or unnecessary. It is hard to create and maintain a good public image. That’s what makes PR challenging. I had no idea. My new career is also deadline driven and keeps me busy, but I get to focus on relationships. That works for me.
I look forward to seeing my former news colleagues at events. I’ll be the well-groomed girl who’s all-smiles, and ambitious to the point of obnoxious.