Are Journalists Going Over to the ‘Dark Side?’

 Lately, the PR word on the street is that journalists seem to be transitioning over to public relations because of the downward economy cutting away their jobs.

 The sky shuddered and Chicken Little was right… but not quite.

With the Boston Globe contemplating closing its paper edition, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer having already folded their hardcopy and the Miami Herald up for sale, it’s no wonder journalists are seeking alternate forms of employment.

Reporters possess many of the same skills utilized in public relations: excellent communication, strong writing and the ability to meet tight deadlines.

In fact, journalists would make excellent PR professionals. The best of them are savvy, quick thinking, intelligent human machines made for making and breaking stories.

But what everyone seems to be forgetting is the long, slow, and never-ending, feud between “those PR people” and journalists.

With public relations professionals relying heavily on news outlets to distribute their ideas, the PR industry does a poor job of reciprocating “the love.”

A poor, but common practice is: calling journalists, leaving more than one message and emailing them until they respond and agree to run your story.

Never taking into consideration deadlines, field time and “life-happening,” this practice only adds fuel to the fire.

With the current state of our economy, in the United States and around the world, PR firms should be thinking of new ways to attract these bright-eyed, sharp-tongued individuals.

But as it stands, the bait doesn’t seem that delectable.

For a laid-off journalist, to only hound one of their own, letting the jealously creep in, lamenting on a position they wish they still had, the pastures don’t seem that green.

So while, I do think some journalists would consider switching gears to become PR professionals.

It’s just not as probable as it is possible. They’re more likely to end up in publishing houses, magazines and – behold! – AD agencies.

Let’s not pat ourselves on the back …just yet.

Little Pink Book’s Rule of PR #1:
ALWAYS be good to your reporters.
Remember, communication is a two-way street.

Sasha H. Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ and SashaHalimaPR. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations and an M.A. in International Administration. Sasha has been both a journalist and public relations professional. She used to own a real little pink book that helped her organize her work-life going between the two.


Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.


  1. Let’s not forget that by closing hard copies and laying off investigative journalists newspapers are doing the world a disservice.

    We need investigative journalism and smart sharp journalists to crack open and expose what’s going on in the underbelly of society.

    Imagine not knowing about those Catholic priests for example.

  2. I agree. Oddly enough, I was talking about this @journchat last night… the thing w/ newspapers is that they need to adapt to the way people ingest news via the latest technological platforms. Once they do this, an it will take quite a bit of research, they can adapt. It’s one of those easier said than done, type of deals.

    From there — they can keep their papers floating. I personally think the “print” medium CAN and SHOULD survive. It’s a matter of making it work!