If the media industry and its volatile yet bedazzling way of functioning attracts you, there is a good chance that you would be considering taking up a job in journalism or public relations to become a part of it.
While both, a career in journalism and public relations are indeed great in terms of exposure, glamour, knowledge expansion and are equally lucrative money wise, one could be slightly better than the other for you, depending on your skill set, inherent talents and traits.
So which is a better career for you and how would you know?
Journalism versus Public Relations
- Contrary to what is believed journalism is not simply about writing. It is most certainly about communication but not about writing alone. Hence to land a good journalism jobs in print, television or online mediayou will need many other skills besides writing. Computing, videography, photography and speech presentation are just some of the skills you may need depending on the type and nature of job.
- As a PR Professional, no job will require you to handle the camera either from behind it or in front of it. The focus however will be on other skills like communication, both oral and written and computing considering almost everything is digital now.
- To be a journalist you must possess the exemplary skill of being fearless. Almost everything that you report about is going to directly or indirectly affect somebody’s life. You cannot live in the fear of anybody or anything. Crime and city reporters especially need to be relatively brave.
- PR is more about promotion and marketing. The only reporting involved is when a PR person needs to get stories in the media about his/her client’s reputation or in the case of a crisis involving the company, which is not as often.
- Journalists are accountable for what they communicate as they send out information to the world directly. They are the final link in the media chain, sending information to the public. Unlike PR, the information collected and researched by journalists is accounted to them and their ability to cross check its validity, relevance, originality and factualness.
- PR professionals more often than not simply act as mediators communicating the information provided to them by the client. The reputation at stake is thus the client’s to a greater extent, compared to the PR person’s.
- Journalism is more a field job than a desk job. PR persons on the contrary would be found in the office more than the field, unless attending client events. While both thrive on networking, journalists are expected more to be out and about, collecting information, talking to people, validating their collected information, taking pictures for proof etc. Even the non reporting journalism jobs expect writers to get out a lot more and collect information from tangible sources while writing an article.
- The pay scale of both professions is more or less the same. Although as a fresher you are more likely to do better in PR, journalism pay scales get better as you go higher. When considering a journalism job opening, hence even if the initial pay is less than you expect, make sure to understand the prospects of growing in the long run.
Hence if you are the aggressive go-getter fearless sorts with a fairly presentable personality and an ability to research and report, journalism might be a better bet for you however if networking is your strength and you have an ability to handle people well by being a mediator and have an inherent talent to communicate well, public relations might be a better career alternative.