Public relations workers are undercover journalists

Are the terms 'public relations' and 'journalism' synonymous? Source: The Vermilion

Are the terms ‘public relations’ and ‘journalism’ synonymous?
Source: The Vermilion

People working in public relations are journalists in every sense of the word.  Bowles indicates that public relations professionals consider strong writing skills the most desirable quality of job candidates, as these people will be responsible for writing-intensive tasks, such as composing press releases and newsletters.  These media sources serve to spread information, comparable to the work of journalists through media sources such as newspaper articles.  Along with writing, strong editing skills are vital in both professions, as both news stories and press releases must be edited for conciseness and grammaticality.  Bowles states that “just as novice journalists don’t jump from classrooms to editor-in-chief spots, public relations graduates should expect to start their careers in entry-level positions” that “require writing and editing skills.”  In addition, Bowles makes clear that “just as many newspaper editors discover that they love reporting or copy editing, aspiring PR strategic planners often fall in love with writing and editing public relations materials and decide to make a career of it.”

For journalists, leads are perhaps the most important components of stories, as they must draw the reader in and eventually reveal what the story is about.  Similarly, Bowles says that “for public relations practitioners, the lead on a press release is so crucial that it alone may determine whether the event or product receives the desired attention,” as if editors do not realize the importance of a press release, they will deem it unimportant.  This demonstrates how the objectives of journalists and public relations workers are extremely similar, as whether composing a press release or a news story, the writer must be sure to draw the readers and editors in from the very beginning by creating an engaging lead.

Public relations workers and journalists both use their strong writing skills to spread messages to their target publics.  Conciseness, simplicity and a captivating lead are all vital in both press releases and news stories, emphasizing the importance of editors in both fields.  Clearly, based on the many examples cited in the Bowles text, people working in public relations are journalists in every sense of the word.

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