The two PR pros who tried to seed negative stories about Google on behalf of a not-so-secret client (Facebook) were former reporters who had only recently moved to the dark side.
Some expressed surprise that ex-journalists weren’t more skillful in their media relations, while others chalked it up to different sensibilities. But our industry is growing, and a portion of our swelling numbers is coming from former media types.
So, do journalists really make the best PR people?
Certainly, someone with deep experience spotting news, shaping a story, and writing against often-hellish deadlines has valuable skills that are in hot demand for publicity generation.
Ex-journalists impress clients, too. In my large-agency career, some were invited to the big pitch in order to opine on story potential, drop names, and wow the prospect, never to be heard from again. Others were installed in editorial spots where they could wield a blue pencil but otherwise stay out of the fray.
I’ve seen some adjust with ease, while others—even when extremely talented—struggle with the transition, especially to an agency.
Here’s what you need to think about if you’re considering a switch—or looking to hire an ex-reporter for an account or media relations spot.