Why making the move from journalism to PR isn't so daunting
Consumer’s Senior Account Manager Rebecca Calderwood shares her experience of moving to PR, and why the transition from journalism isn’t as daunting as it seems…
Change can be intimidating, especially when it involves shifting careers. As an entertainment journalist, I had always been passionate about telling stories and keeping up with the latest trends and gossip. I’d been working as a journalist since leaving university, originally starting out as an editorial assistant, before working myself up to a writer, then eventually going freelance for the likes of The Sun, Woman & Home, Cosmopolitan, Daily Star and The Mirror. However, after becoming tired of constant article churning and sensationalising the smallest of news stories, I decided to take the leap into the world of PR.
Admittedly, starting off at Press Box with no experience was pretty nerve-wracking. I had spent years honing my skills as a showbiz journalist, building relationships with industry professionals, and gaining a deep understanding of the entertainment industry. Having moved from Liverpool to London after university, tackling new challenges is something I was used to so I felt ready to make the jump and progress my career into PR. Nevertheless, the thought of stepping away from my comfort zone and taking on a role that required a different skill set was initially intimidating. But no sooner had I started that my nerves turned to excitement - realising there were plenty of journalistic skills that are just as important in PR and it was exactly the role I was searching for.
No sooner had I started that my nerves turned to excitement
As a journalist, I had time to refine the art of finding interesting angles, presenting narratives, and captivating an audience through articles, both online and in print. As an account manager, I’ve still been able to apply these skills to shape a brand's narrative and create attention-grabbing campaigns.
Networking and building relationships is another integral skill in the world of PR. As a celebrity journalist, I was often interacting with celebrities, publicists, and industry professionals. Now, these connections have proven to be just as valuable during my transition, as I already had a foundation for building relationships with media outlets, celebrity talent, and stakeholders. I’ve also found that PR has enabled me to explore different avenues of content creation in order to come up with new projects and plans. From interviewing royal experts, sitting down with I’m a Celebrity stars to constructing surveys, I’ve been able to experiment with different formats and mediums to help engage audiences - all while securing targets for a client each month.
That’s not to say I had no concerns before taking on this role, or that I haven't found some aspects difficult. Firstly, the fear of pestering journalists with constant PR emails; as a journalist, I would often receive endless emails, and admittedly, ignoring the majority of them. Then there was missing the buzz of the busy newsroom environment, being the first to hear about showbiz gossip and reporting on the biggest events.
As an ex-journalist, you know what journalists and editors want
If any of these doubts about leaving journalism sound familiar, or if you’re questioning whether making the move to PR is for you, remind yourself of this - as an ex-journalist you know what journalists and editors want; therefore you know first-hand what stands out in their inbox. Plus, you’re still very much in the loop with gossip and events, without the stress of being the one to break it.
While the transition may require adapting to new practices and developing a deeper understanding of PR, since joining Press Box back in September I can safely say it’s been the best decision I’ve made for my career so far. As well as being an opportunity to make a positive impact, I’ve worked on events, interviewed a string of experts and talent, and contributed to the success of clients and brands while enjoying a new and fulfilling career path. So if you’re feeling ready to try a new opportunity in PR, don't be afraid to take the leap yourself!
Feeling inspired, We’re hiring at Press Box, you can find the full list of vacancies we have available here.