A post that ran last week on Ragan.com (“What makes a good PR pro: A degree or a journalism background?“) asks a question most PR practitioners who have been around the field for some time are acquainted with: Just how crucial is newsroom experience for a successful transition to public relations?
Just because the question surfaces regularly doesn’t mean it’s a good one to get in the habit of asking. Journalism and public relations have so much in common, they’re practically indistinguishable. Both are essential elements of the news cycle. Both, when performed well, add context—either fact or opinion—to what is happening in the world. Both provide clarity instead of noise. And both are fairly thankless crafts when considering their rotten reputations with the proverbial end user: readers and viewers.
The writer asks whether journalism experience trumps a degree in public relations, then concludes that it does. Here are three reasons why that’s the wrong question to ask.
There are, however, some specific PR functions journalists are particularly well suited for: creating and aggregating content on behalf of clients.