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July 15, 2011
Brits Noting that PR and Journalism Aren't Interchangeable
 
Suddenly Great Britain has a glut of journalists on its public relations job market. The Drum notes that 200 staffers from Rupert Murdoch's shuttered News of the World and 90 more from Trinity Mirror's Scottish division are jobless and possibly interested in PR positions, providing an unhappy setting in which to discuss the differences between work in journalism and PR. Just as marketing people may not be fully fledged in PR disciplines, journalists may not either.  Sad, but important, to note.

Phil Morgan, director of policy and communications at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the UK's professional society, says journalists need to be aware that PR is "a highly skilled and qualified discipline" in its own right.

“Journalism," he goes on to explain, "has many transferable skills that will be well employed within PR, but the profession demands a far wider range of communications management skills. In recognition of this, the CIPR offers a conversion course that helps journalists get to grips with the standards required in PR. Research, planning and measurement are critical skills in this respect, as is broad-based management of public relations and the question of ethical practice — all of which are covered within the CIPR’s industry-approved qualifications and code of conduct.”

Ah yes, research, planning, and measurement...we might also add process disciplines. Such skills are too often neglected, in the U.S. as well, to the detriment of relational effectiveness. Ask the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) about that.

(It's interesting to note Neville Hobson in the UK crediting Edelman, Rupert Murdoch's newly hired PR firm, at least in part with the resignation of News International's CEO Rebakah Brooks, to "near-universal applause on Twitter. This after Murdoch said in an interview in The Wall Street Journal yesterday that "News Corp. has handled the crisis 'extremely well in every way possible,' making just 'minor mistakes.'" )

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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