I work as a PR counselor for several clients, both in the consumer and B2B realms. Most of the work focuses on using PR as the driver in marketing communications programs. I also use tactics to engage publics directly, depending on the program. I still work as a journalist and have a deal with the Associated Press. Since the AP doesn't have enough full-time sports staff, I cover hockey and other sports for them as contractor. I also still work with Transcontinental Publishing in Canada, and write many articles on business and sports topics for two of its magazines.
First Real World Job
I started in the news business in Milwaukee, Wis. I was working an entry-level office job at the AP there and barely able to pay my $120 monthly rent. A PR firm in Chicago offered me a job for $11,500 and I grabbed it.
While at Burson-Marsteller, I handled the Miller High Life account. Our job was building the Miller High Life brand through publicizing sports and other sponsorships. We never talked about the quality of the beer. Miller High Life sponsored the U.S. Olympic Training Centers, so we often toured athletes to talk to media about the Olympics, their experiences and the facilities at the training centers. As the issue of athletes’ use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs became bigger, I convinced Miller brand management to let us use U.S. Olympic Committee medical experts as media spokespeople.
What Drives My Career
At heart, I'm still a journalist. Here's what's great about PR: It allows journalism to converge with marketing. When practiced correctly, PR is dignified, professional, ethical and a critical business function. It can help the publics it reaches, as well help the organizations that conduct the PR effort. There is nothing wrong about "selling" an honest organization, product or issue honestly. It can be very creative and rewarding.
Tips For Students
Engage with your work and go deeper into it the way good students do in the visual arts.
Find a happy workspace, and get comfortable and curious.
Worry about your learning outcomes, not your grades. What you learn, not the "points" you earn, matters. The grades will take care of themselves.