Helen Gurley Brown, former Editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, announced last month that she is donating $30 million to Columbia University and Stanford University in memory of her late husband, David Brown. What do two schools with two of the top ten endowments in the country need this type of money for, you ask? The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation.
According to Columbia and Stanford, the institute “will encourage new media, promote innovation and prototypes, and recognize the increasingly important connection between journalism and technology.” In an industry that continues to evolve in direct correlation with the digital space, this is a huge step forward in educating future media professionals. But what if your university doesn’t have a media institute? Here are DGC’s top three tips for pursuing a career in media/communications…no matter where you go to school:
- Intern. You may learn some of the basic concepts behind media/communications in your Marketing 101 class, but nothing you learn in the classroom will prepare you for your first job. Try to pursue as much internship experience as possible. Not only will it give you better insight into your future career, but it will also help you determine if the field is right for you.
- Read the news. Half the battle of the media/communications industry is keeping up with what’s happening. If you are well-versed on current events, you’ll be setting yourself up to win.
- Network. The job market remains tough to navigate. Make sure you are reaching out to your contacts on a regular basis so you are not missing any opportunities. And this doesn’t just mean via email. Recruiters are finding candidates through all manner of social networks these days, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, and hiring those who show savvy and persistence online.
Are you one of those people who kick-started your career via social media? Tell us how! Are you looking for a job in the communications industry? Reach out to us in the comments section below!
Janice Min, Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter, gave a refreshing and candid interview recently in which she talked about the challenges of hiring staff in Los Angeles, her base of operations since 2010. Among the nuggets of wisdom, Min hit on a few keys to being not just a media relations expert, but a journalist’s ally. We live and breathe these every day – but sometimes it never hurts to state and be reminded of the obvious. Again. (And reporters will love us for it).
1) Be the person who solves problems. Not one who only points them out. Whether working with reporters on a story or counseling clients, PR professionals are in charge of delivering news – but sometimes reporters and clients have different ideas of what makes news news. Our job is to find a common understanding. As Min says “Someone is always looking for a problem to be solved, so be the person to solve the problem.” Engage in a dialogue with the media and clients, offer some ideas and alternative angles on what will make their information more newsworthy – then gather the proof points and assets needed to help build the story.
2) Close the loop. Min marveled at job candidates from whom she tried to elicit written critiques of the magazine as part of the interview process. Several never got back to her with ideas or even to let her know that they decided to pass on the project and the position. PR professionals must be cognizant of tying up loose ends with reporters. Let them know what happened with the interview request, scheduling, asset requests, etc. If you’ve promised to deliver someone for comment or to get more information, let them know if you’re not going to be able to get it to them by deadline and why. Preferably let them know before the deadline arrives. Don’t go radio silent. Keep them in the loop and close the loop.
3) Respect the deadline. Min commented that some job candidates, who did offer a critique of the magazine, didn’t send it to her by the agreed deadline. Reporters get fired if they don’t meet deadlines. PR professionals who regularly assist reporters by delivering relevant information and sources by deadline are invaluable. To help ensure deadlines are met, be clear about timing with clients and reporters: when putting a media opportunity in front of a client, always make clear what the reporter’s deadline is for receiving a response and let the client know that missing the deadline could mean missing the opportunity. Transparency and follow-through will go a long way to achieving a beautiful placement.
Do you have other tips for media relations and account management? Don’t be shy. Leave a comment.
Recent reports show that being a public relations professional is the seventh most stressful job in America. It makes a lot of sense. We are connected to our mobile phones 24/7, we have to be prepared to handle all possible interpretations of every word that leaves our mouths and no day is the same as the one before.
PR attracts people who thrive on being busy, but it also attracts professionals who fit in time for things that make the job seem less stressful—even when it is not. For anyone with stressful days, you may find these DGC de-stressing tips helpful:
- Make a to-do list. It can be daunting, but crossing stuff off your list let’s you see the fruits of your labor…even when that list keeps growing.
- Take lunch. If you run out to pick up lunch, eat it there and enjoy your break. Or if you bring your lunch to the office, make it a point to step away from your desk to eat and disconnect. Your work will still be waiting for you when you get back.
- Laugh out loud. Ever seen “The Office?” They have workplace humor down to a science.
- Listen to music. Having a tough day? Put on your favorite song and see how much more productive you become.
- Go for a quick walk. Getting up and moving around will break up your day and give you more energy.
- Get a massage. Long or short, full body or shoulders, it’s sure to give you a few moments of stressless bliss.
- Make plans for later. If you know you want to meet a friend for dinner, you’re more likely to manage your time effectively throughout the day to make it happen.
- Drink (in moderation, of course). At DGC we unwind from the week by having a glass of wine together. We like to call it “Wino Friday.”
- Keep chocolate handy. Enough said.
- Set long-term goals. Having something to strive for at work gives you a way to channel your stress and makes you more likely to stay motivated over time.
Do you have other tips for de-stressing in this stressful world? Share them in the comments section below!