Media Relations

Toward the beginning of last semester, we were having a typical Thursday morning student-run firm meeting. One of the professors in our department, the primary journalism professor, had come in to speak to us before the meeting officially began. He told us he had some exciting news: our department would be adding a journalism minor for anyone interested.

Right then, something clicked for me. I looked at the other professor in the room, whom I was sitting next to, and mouthed, “I wanna do that!” She nodded excitedly, having experience in not only the public relations realm but the journalism field as well.

My first thought was, “I love public relations, and now I love journalism, so this just makes sense.” My subsequent thought was, “Maybe now I should look further into a media relations career.”

Most of us as public relations students have heard the term “media relations,” but not all know what it actually entails. While public relations focuses on an organization’s open and transparent communication with the public, media relations deals with a company’s relationships with the journalists who may be interested in covering them.

For example, in the Pittsburgh market, a company’s media relations person or department would focus on building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with journalists from the Post-Gazette, the Trib, Pittsburgh Magazine and more. That way, when an organization does something noteworthy or important, the media relations person can contact those journalists personally and share with them what’s going on at the company, instead of just sending a general news release to a broad audience.

You may be wondering, what skills does media relations require? The most important one is writing; followed by that, the ability to clearly communicate verbally and build professional relationships with area journalists. One must be willing to work late into the night and early in the morning to help those journalists meet their deadlines and in turn, get their own company’s information distributed in a timely fashion.

Those with backgrounds in public relations, journalism or communication in general would be well-suited for a media relations career. However, a combination of public relations and journalism seems to be a favorable fit.

Think media relations sounds right for you? The Public Relations Society of America’s JobCenter website spells it out for you: “Do you have what it takes to connect with the media daily to promote your company? Does organizing media events and coordinating press conferences sound like an interesting day-to-day job? If so then a job in media relations could be right for you.”

Information curated from:

Maura Fenske is a sophomore public relations major. She serves as the social media coordinator for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter, executive editor of the Mad Anthony Yearbook and an account executive for Red Brick Communications. Maura hopes to combine her passion for public relations, writing and sports in her future career.


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