As part of an university assessment, we were asked to produce a reflexive diary covering an area of media employment which interests us, along with an outline of what our pursuing job entails.
The area of media employment I have chosen to select for this assignment is a Public Relations officer, often referred to as a PR officer. I have chosen to study this area of media employment as it interest me greatly, also I feel that my skills in organisation would be a invaluable in the profession.
A public relations officer can work in both private and public sectors, along with in-house employment. Other job possibilities include freelance agency, and self-employment, however most job prospects exist in large professional businesses, often in London as it is seen to be the centre of media employment. No set of qualifications are needed to pursue this aspired job, however as research has proven, most applicants tend to have a degree or HND in a helpful subject for PR, for example; Communication and Media studies, English and Literary Studies, Business management or marketing. Other beneficial ways to enhance a CV (Curriculum Vitae) for Public relations are to volunteer, gaining experience. Often by helping local charities can give exposure when planning events by contracting media outlets and writing press releases and articles. It is also important to keep a record of any organised events planned yourself or writing as a portfolio when applying for new jobs. Starting points for a PR officer may include; joining a consultancy, inter-ships, joining an in-house PR department in a junior role for example a PR assistant.
It is important for a PR officer to attend networking events, media events, attend meetings with clients, suppliers, partner organisations and managers. Work hours for a PR agent are usually 9-5, however can increase depending on workload, often becoming unsociable hours. Also officers must be available for on-call duties as aspects of a PR crisis may occur. A PR officer aims to influence the media, to gain understanding and support for clients, by using all different forms of media and communication, which aims to build, maintain and manage the reputation of their clients. Public relations officers monitor publicity and conduct research to find out the concerns and expectations of an organisation’s stakeholder, then to report and explain findings to their management. Simply meaning their job is to conduct research to specify trends in markets which enables PR officers to fully manage their clients, and to attract a target audience by influencing their opinions and behaviour.
PR officers forms of media communication to create and sell an idea/lifestyle or commodity, below is an image of a PR stunt.
Typical work activities undertaken by a public relations officers include;
- Planning, Developing and implementing Public Relations strategies
- Researching, writing or distributing press releases to target audiences
- Collating and analysing media coverage
- Commissioning market research
- Fostering community relations through events, such as open days, through involvement in community initiatives
However more important aspects of work undertaken by public relations officers include;
- Liaising with colleagues and key spokespeople
- Answering enquires from media, individuals and other organisations (often via telephones, emails)
- Devising and coordinating photo opportunities
- Supervising the production of promotional videos, photographs, films and multi-media programme’s.
- Sourcing and managing speaking and sponsorship opportunities
- Managing the public relation aspects of a potential crisis.
Skills needed whilst obtaining a PR Officer position, include;
- Excellent communication and writing skills
- Drive, competence, flexibility, and time management skills with the ability to multi-task
- Ability to cope under pressure
- Creativity, imagination, ability to use initiative
- Good teamwork skills, analytical and problem solving skills
- Business awareness and a good knowledge of current affairs
Points for myself as improvement as an undergraduate, are to develop writing and communication skills, writing for a university paper or magazines is a way to develop this. Again skills to improve could be to gain a wider knowledge of current affairs and businesses involved in Public relations, undertaking work experience or volunteers in local communities is a way to develop this essential skill.
However skills learnt in university include knowledge of Public Relations as a result of guest speaker, (Nick Fulford). Public Speaking, (in which Clive Flowers mentored). This skill reinforces an essential skill needed to obtaining a PR officer position; Excellent communication. This skill will enhance by enabling me to initial interviews, whilst applying for different positions, along with the ability to meet clients, managers and investors with confidence when public speaking.
Public Relations officer have a reputation of not being trusted as their opinions ‘appear bias, as they generate propaganda about the clients they are supporting. By researching trends in markets enables PR officers to advice clients play to these trends.
Websites used to gain information and also state employment;