Most college students come to a crossroads while at school and debate if the major they are choosing is really what they want to pursue as a career. I was one of those college students. I can still remember sitting in the library anxiously scrolling through the list of major programs that JMU offers. As a sophomore, I had already chosen to study Journalism, but the way that the journalism industry was evolving left me uneasy. I needed a back up plan. Unfortunately, I feel like that is the process of how most students end up majoring in Communications. I had an extra push though from my Introduction to Public Relations class. I loved the strategic planning and research that went into securing media coverage for clients and campaigns. I knew Public Relations was for me, but I could not fathom parting ways with my Journalism program so I decided to double major.
Two years later, I have learned to appreciate both Public Relations and Journalism. I never would have thought that my Journalism major would provide so much insight into the world of public relations. Here are three things I have learned:
1. Public relations professionals and journalists both tell stories
While journalists have a more diverse writing portfolio, relaying stories is still an essential skill for public relations professionals. The difference is that one is writing with a client in mind, while the other is strictly reporting unbiased facts and information.
2. Public relations professionals and journalists are codependent
Without journalists, public relations professionals would have to independently publish press releases, feature stories, etc. Without public relations professionals, journalists would not have access to as much information or sources.
3. Public relations professionals and journalist both build trust
A similar goal these two share is building trust with the public. Public relations professionals do this to establish a relationship with clients and a target audience. Journalists do this to establish credibility with the public.