Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

I’m in the gray, working with public relations

I’ve been wanting to write a bit about what I’m doing and where I’m working, but had trouble figuring out how to approach the subject.

You see, I work for a PR company.

I can hear you all gasping. No, I have NOT crossed over to the “dark side.”

PR companies are scrambling like most other institutional businesses to figure out this whole “Internet thing.” My job as “Digital Media Intern” is to move Quinn & Co. forward by teaching how social media works. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, the whole kit and caboodle.

So I’ve been doing lots of research: what’s the best blogging platform for their purposes, how can the company and their clients build loyalty through Twitter and Facebook, how to monitor brands with Google Alerts, optimizing press releases and websites for search engines, and building lists of bloggers and micro-bloggers for Real Estate, Travel and Food, Wine & Spirits.

I’ve also been doing some multimedia work: a video from a media panel, working on an interactive email design.

All of which is very helpful in getting to my goal.

I want to work in news. No question. I don’t care if it’s a newspaper, magazine, radio station, because when you get to the website, it’s all the same.

Ultimately, news outlets have to learn the kinds of things I’m learning now. How do you build niche audiences online? How do you manage an online community? And so on.

While my true love is reporting through multimedia (including data), this is fun, too. I’ve never liked the black hat/white hat metaphor, so I’m working in shades of gray.

  • Hi Megan,
    Congratulations. This sounds like a great opportunity.
    One of the things that has changed in the past few years is that the old black-white divisions in media are fading. Much of the world is gray. And those gray zones may be the most exciting places to be right now.
    For example, the most interesting part of my world (B2B journalism) has become content marketing, where custom publishing meets marketing meets public relations meets journalism. My friend Joe Pulizzi runs a great site dedicated to the subject at Junta42.com.
    I trust that you’ll do good work wherever you may be. I trust too that you will keep the black-white divide intact in the one place it must be preserved: ethics.
    Good luck.
    Paul

  • Hi Megan,
    Congratulations. This sounds like a great opportunity.
    One of the things that has changed in the past few years is that the old black-white divisions in media are fading. Much of the world is gray. And those gray zones may be the most exciting places to be right now.
    For example, the most interesting part of my world (B2B journalism) has become content marketing, where custom publishing meets marketing meets public relations meets journalism. My friend Joe Pulizzi runs a great site dedicated to the subject at Junta42.com.
    I trust that you’ll do good work wherever you may be. I trust too that you will keep the black-white divide intact in the one place it must be preserved: ethics.
    Good luck.
    Paul

  • Thanks Paul. And you can’t steal my posting topics before I even write them! More on that ethics stuff another time.

  • Thanks Paul. And you can’t steal my posting topics before I even write them! More on that ethics stuff another time.

  • I don’t think this is something that you should be ashamed of.

    I’m sure that you tried your hardest to get a journalism job. The sad fact is that our industry is sick, sick, sick. If they were hiring ANYONE, it should definitely be people with your skillset.

    Another fact is that everyone must eat. You have to earn money where you can find it. Once the journalism industry turns up, and they begin hiring again, I’m sure that they’ll understand what happened.

    In the meantime, it sounds like you’re gathering even more marketable skills!

    I don’t think this will hurt you — If anything, it will help.

  • I don’t think this is something that you should be ashamed of.

    I’m sure that you tried your hardest to get a journalism job. The sad fact is that our industry is sick, sick, sick. If they were hiring ANYONE, it should definitely be people with your skillset.

    Another fact is that everyone must eat. You have to earn money where you can find it. Once the journalism industry turns up, and they begin hiring again, I’m sure that they’ll understand what happened.

    In the meantime, it sounds like you’re gathering even more marketable skills!

    I don’t think this will hurt you — If anything, it will help.

  • Thanks, Angela.

  • Thanks, Angela.

  • @Megan,

    Congrats on the job!

    If you do enter back into journalism, I think you’ll find that you learned a lot of valuable lessons at your current job. Moving forward, journalists will need to know how to market themselves and their content. The days of just producing content are over.

    Don’t be ashamed of PR. A lot of journalists call it the dark side for a variety of reasons. Some of it is a coping mechanism. They have to justify their long (often odd) hours, low pay and poor job security with something.

    The thing is PR isn’t all bad and journalism isn’t all good. A lot of what they teach you in j-school about the nobility of journalism is false. Most newspapers, for instance, will not go after a prominent advertiser or they will hedge their coverage and headlines quite a bit.

    My advice would be to enjoy the job you have and look into a variety of freelance opportunities.

  • @Megan,

    Congrats on the job!

    If you do enter back into journalism, I think you’ll find that you learned a lot of valuable lessons at your current job. Moving forward, journalists will need to know how to market themselves and their content. The days of just producing content are over.

    Don’t be ashamed of PR. A lot of journalists call it the dark side for a variety of reasons. Some of it is a coping mechanism. They have to justify their long (often odd) hours, low pay and poor job security with something.

    The thing is PR isn’t all bad and journalism isn’t all good. A lot of what they teach you in j-school about the nobility of journalism is false. Most newspapers, for instance, will not go after a prominent advertiser or they will hedge their coverage and headlines quite a bit.

    My advice would be to enjoy the job you have and look into a variety of freelance opportunities.

  • Patrick,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    It’s not a question of if I get back to journalism, but when. And the answer is ASAP.

    And I like my job. I’m just afraid that journalism employers will paint me with the same black brush PR got stuck with.

    So I’m careful, and I find other opportunities to do journalism – like writing for MediaShift.

  • Patrick,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    It’s not a question of if I get back to journalism, but when. And the answer is ASAP.

    And I like my job. I’m just afraid that journalism employers will paint me with the same black brush PR got stuck with.

    So I’m careful, and I find other opportunities to do journalism – like writing for MediaShift.

  • You might be safer in PR during the recession. Move to news when things start recovering.

  • You might be safer in PR during the recession. Move to news when things start recovering.

  • For thinking about the difference between journalism and public relations, you might ponder the career of Frank Presbrey. He moved rapidly between publishing a public-spirited news weekly, Public Opinion, to being a content marketer for railroads, cruise lines, and other travel businesses.

  • For thinking about the difference between journalism and public relations, you might ponder the career of Frank Presbrey. He moved rapidly between publishing a public-spirited news weekly, Public Opinion, to being a content marketer for railroads, cruise lines, and other travel businesses.

  • This is a good position if your final goal is to be a journalist. Right now you're finding out the best way to reach people, a very important tool to understand.

  • This is a good position if your final goal is to be a journalist. Right now you're finding out the best way to reach people, a very important tool to understand.

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