Why PR is an Art, Not a Dark Art

  • PR

I recently attended a careers speed dating event at Leeds Metropolitan University, where journalism students were invited to chat to representatives working with the media. The guest list included a wide mix of journalists, social media editors, copywriters and PRs.

Firstly, I think this sort of event is a great idea for students. What better way to find out more about your desired career than to speak to the people doing that job? It’s also a great way of making those valuable contacts that you’ll need in the post-graduation scuffle to secure that all important first job.

One thing I certainly wasn’t expecting, though, was the amount of students that told me that they had always thought of PR as a ‘dark art’. One young student even asked me how I coped when sending out a press release for something I didn’t believe in, or that was untrue (which, of course, any PR worth their salt would never do).

It alarmed me that the industry has been positioned in a way that many talented journalism undergraduates are, at this early stage in their careers, having this archaic, negative perception of PR reinforced.

There are two main problems with this widespread misconception that I can foresee:

1. Journalists of the future have already formed a negative perception of their PR equivalents that will ultimately be providing them with the content that fills 50% of their newspapers

2. The PR industry is going to be denied of these talented young graduates applying for entry level roles

I have a journalism degree and find it hard to believe that anyone with a modicum of experience working in a newsroom can argue that PR is any more salacious or misleading than journalism itself.

Thankfully, speaking to these students about the truth about working in a PR and social media agency meant that I was able to change the perceptions of most who expressed a negative view. However, the problem still stands; how many more thousands of students are being told that a career in PR is not something to aim for and to be passionate about?

So here is my final message to students thinking about their future careers:

PR is an art, but it’s not a dark art.

Do you agree with me? Tweet me @amyinleeds