Act Like a PR Professional, Think Like a Journalist

Rachel Yang journalist

By Rachel Yang, Account Executive

Journalists inform, educate, expose, and find stories out of the ordinary — it’s not hard to put into words what I did when I worked as a reporter. Public relations (PR), on the other hand, takes a little more explaining. A couple of weeks ago, the topic of PR came up during a family dinner as I updated them on my latest internship at The Hoffman Agency. The question “what do you do and what do you like about it?” caught me off guard, even as a natural questioner myself.

When I pivoted to PR, I thought I had a clear view of the practical application and could easily put into words what drew me into the industry. However, I was wrong.

As a Strategic Communication master’s graduate, I have spent two years learning and studying what PR professionals do — essentially, to encompass creativity, solve problems and develop strategic thinking. But it was not until recently that I got a taste of the dedication and planning that goes on behind closed doors.

Like many, my family thought PR meant crisis management. While that association is not wrong, it is just one facet of the profession. “Our job is to protect clients and build reputations through the media, and my experience as a former journalist comes in handy,” I responded.

What we do, of course, is much more than the high-level explanation I provided to my family. Over the past three months, I watched a team of dedicated communicators strive to create strategic plans by analyzing our clients, humanizing their stories, setting goals and objectives, crafting narratives, and executing ideas. The experience taught me to see things through the lens of PR while thinking like a journalist.

So, I guess my answer to the question “what do you like about PR?” is all of the above: being able to connect with our clients, finding the message and translating it into a story that will command the attention of journalists — and being a part of an agency that places work-life balance and diversity as a priority.

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