Have you finished your journalism degree but want to branch into a different career path?
Journalism graduates are equipped with a range of impressive skills to thrive in many career options.
A degree in Journalism sets graduates up with a lifetime of endless skills including writing, communication and creativity.
But what if after three years of hard work and sleepless nights, you want to pursue a different path?
Vicky, a BA Journalism graduate from the University of Sheffield, discusses the transition into public relations and how her degree helped her ace the digital PR industry.
When I got my offer to study Journalism at the University of Sheffield I was ecstatic.
I know it’s a big no-no to say on a personal statement, but I had always loved to write and was always sure I wanted to be a journalist.
Throughout my degree, I learned how to report from a courtroom, work in a newsroom and immerse myself in all things TV, Radio and Magazine production.
I enjoyed long nights of studying in the library fuelled by caffeine, memorising the extensive laws and ethics in journalism and then putting it into practice.
The degree pushed me out of my comfort zone as I gathered video, audio and interviews from strangers and pushed myself to investigate stories that would make a difference.
When I graduated, I had a new strong set of skills under my belt- communication, research, perseverance and confidence, to name a few.
Degree achieved, now what?
I was in the 2018 cohort which was largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was well aware of the problems graduates were facing when applying for industry jobs.
Luckily, I had managed to land myself a Journalism internship in Prague and jet off to begin my new journey.
While out there, I had the opportunity to work directly with a lot of local businesses and get them featured in the press.
From language schools to bars and restaurants, I enjoyed the PR element of personalising a brand, building a positive reputation and coming up with engaging content to drive growth.
By the time I had landed back in the UK after three months, the existential crisis had begun.
My time away opened my eyes to a range of new possibilities, and after extensive research, the idea of marketing and PR was increasingly appealing to me.
However, I still questioned if I could land a fulfilling job in an industry other than journalism after all the work I had put in over the years.
The next chapter: PR
Journalism graduates may be surprised to know we make the perfect PR candidates because we know the news agenda and are pros at communication.
After extensive research into other industries where I felt I had the right transferable skills, I decided that PR was, to put it simply, right up my street.
An excellent writing ability, communication skills, and creativity were at the top of all the job descriptions, so I decided to get applying.
After exploring reputable agencies in my area, I eventually managed to land a role as a PR Account Executive at Motive PR.
Life as a PR Executive after a journalism degree
Any doubt I had about changing the trajectory of my career since leaving university has been long forgotten- because I get the best of both worlds in my role.
My job is essentially two sides of the same coin, I work with businesses to relay information to the public through creative and newsworthy storytelling.
We work alongside journalists to raise the profile of clients through the creation of high-quality content to get them featured on the news agenda.
Finding a line to appeal to the press is exciting, and the buzz from seeing coverage for a client in their dream targets is extremely fulfilling.
Working in a fast-paced environment with a variety of clients to stay ahead of current trends and on the news agenda means there is never a dull moment.
What skills can Journalism graduates bring to a PR Role?
- Journalistic intuition
You will have the natural intuition to understand newsworthy content journalists are looking to cover and the ability to find a hard line in a fluffy idea.
PRs will often need to interview case studies to find a better news hook for a press release.
Journalists are looking for tight, clean news copy with a compelling headline that people will want to click on, and graduates will have insider knowledge of how to effectively do this.
Journalism graduates will know how to capture attention and turn it into a great story. PRs also need good communication skills to liaise with clients, and journalists, and effectively manage the flow of information from stakeholders to the public sphere.
Research abilities are fundamental for PR pros, from finding out what is happening in the news agenda that could inspire a new campaign, to identifying target audiences and publications.
Why journalism graduates are feeling the pressure more than ever before
Huge news publications have announced closures and significant cuts to jobs, from local titles to major national outlets.
Getting a job in journalism is harder than ever, and there’s no sign of that changing, making it harder for graduates to find their feet.
PR and journalism work hand in hand, and with all the cuts in newsrooms, PR is becoming more dominant than ever and is a route graduates should consider.
My advice to journalism graduates
It’s completely normal to feel confused when graduating, especially with all the uncertainty in the Journalism world.
Be proud of what you have achieved, and never regret the degree you have taken, because your skills will be valued wherever you end up.
Despite not ending up in a traditional journalism job, the skillset acquired from my degree has enabled me to flourish in a PR career that I love.
Whether you end up as a reporter, magazine editor, marketing manager or PR professional, the world is your oyster.
If you are interested in starting your career in PR, visit: https://www.motivepr.co.uk/careers