PR and journalism – are they really so different?

Shorthand web

Last week we welcomed work experience student Jacob Jarvis who is a journalism undergraduate at De Montfort University in Leicester. During his week at Shooting Star PR Jacob wrote an interesting blog post looking at the differences between PR and journalism.

With graduate job opportunities few and far between at the moment it is more important than ever for students to try and broaden their skill set as much as possible.

As a journalism undergraduate, a career path in PR seemed like a clear alternative and although the relationship between PR people and reporters can be uneasy at times, the jobs are much more similar than most people realise.

To work in either industry you must be able to communicate and write effectively, have good research skills, a ‘nose’ for a news story and meet strict deadlines.

Journalists gather information from a wide range of people and then convey it through their news platform. Similarly, PRs gather information from their clients, often in a range of different industries, and then disseminate newsworthy stories to their chosen media outlets.

When you look at it in terms as simple as these, the two jobs share many similarities.

The major difference is that PR companies are funded by the news source whereas media outlets generate their funds from the consumers of news. This means that PR professionals must work in the best possible of interest of their client while journalists should put public interest first.

In PR the target is to sell a product, service or organisation and it is rare that objectivity is a priority when it comes to sales.

A journalist’s focus , however, should be on objectivity although in these tough economic times this can be compromised by the need to sell advertising and remain profitable.

So it seems with increased levels of subjectivity on both sides, the line between PR and journalism is becoming more blurred than ever before. JJ