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Career choice: PR or Journalism

Posted by putsimply on 27th June 2008

Before Darren Willsher joined EML, he had been studying and working as a journalist. Here he tells us what made him cross over from the ‘dark side’ and why PR is so much better:

“I studied for my journalism degree at Staffordshire University and the course required that I spend time in the industry, so I completed internships with three local newspapers in the UK, getting experience on the news desk, writing up stories and shadowing the journalists. After my degree I went traveling and also found myself on a work placement with Australia’s only National broadsheet for a while. Working in the press was a great experience, even as a junior – especially as I didn’t have to make a single cup of tea!

When I came back from my travels and had to find a ‘proper’ job, I looked around at both PR and journalism, but after weighing up the pros and cons, I decided to follow a career in PR (not least because it pays so much better) and came to EML.

I love writing and the idea of being given a blank sheet with a brief to find an interesting angle for a story and both PR and journalism let me do that. The main difference is that PR moves at a slower pace (no, really it does). If you’re working on a daily newspaper, or with an online publication, you may have a matter of hours to research and write a story and get copy approval. One of the best things about PR is that you get to see a product launch developing months before a journalist even gets to hear about it – you can see how it takes shape and develops. It’s also then really interesting to see how each publication or journalist you brief on a single story interprets it and finds their own angle to print.

I’d definitely recommend a journalism degree for anyone thinking about getting into PR. It’s such a valuable experience to work on the ‘other side’, to get an understanding of the way journalism works and the pressures the editors are under. I think most journalists appreciate a good relationship with PR representatives. I don’t think modern journalism could work without PR because a lot of magazines and papers are short staffed and under pressure to deliver. If a PR person can provide a regular source of relevant, high quality, accurate and well written material, journalists are always happy to receive that.

The other thing I love about both PR and Journalism is that I get to be the one telling the news – not waiting to hear it from someone else!”

EML is glad Darren crossed over to join us and swell the PR ranks. Strong in the force, he is. Next time I’ll be talking to EML’s Sales and Marketing Director to get an update on what new clients she’s going to be bringing our way.

Let us know how you got onto your career path. Does it have any relation to your degree or studies, or did you study baking in order to end up as a tailor? (Yes, I know, another food reference. We’re obsessed).