Job-Hungry Journalists Turning to PR

Last Updated Jun 24, 2008 10:17 AM EDT

There has always been a steady stream of media people making the career transition into PR. But with the serious financial and business model problems plaguing most major media, journalists who once looked down their noses at what they call "the dark side" are starting to think that things might not be so bad over here (btw, I prefer to call it "the beige side").

I was at a PR party recently where there were several mainstream journalists in attendance, and I swear, they all seemed to be scoping out job opportunities. What really struck me was that in place of the usual snickering about PR, they seemed to be on their best and most respectful behavior.

So I was not surprised when I opened the latest issue of PRWeek and found this Page One headline: "An Unstable Media Landscape Has Journalists Seeking PR Positions."
Here's an excerpt:

In the greater Atlanta region, journalists seeking PR jobs are becoming so common that Diane Lore, VP of digital media at GCI Group and former Atlanta Journal-Constitution features project editor, helps to administer a "second life club," producing educational e-mails and organizing regular gatherings to inform ex-reporters, editors, and those who are contemplating a career switch, about the opportunities in PR.

A fourth-generation journalist who jokes about "the stages of grief of leaving journalism," Lore said she was encouraged to leave by her father, a newspaper employee for three decades.

"The money is not there, and because of the constant filing for the online presence now, the pressure is so much higher," she said, adding that 50 to 60 people are on the journalist group's e-mail list and about 20 attend meetings. "No one goes into journalism for the money, but you do expect it to be fun. So if you're not having fun and not making money, then why do it?"


Of the former reporters and editors interviewed, including former member of Hearst's Washington bureau, Eric Rosenberg, now Ogilvy VP and senior media relations strategist, nearly all said that staff layoffs, buyouts, or restructurings weighed considerably on their decision to leave journalism. Many former journalists, including Christa Segalini, SAE at Beckerman PR, formerly of New Jersey's Courier News, also cited better pay, steadier hours, and a more attractive career path, as reasons to seek PR jobs.

I have one question: what good is it to be a "senior media relations strategist" if all the mainstream media people come over to PR. Who will we pitch?
  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.