I’ve had a couple of chances to trade in my reporter’s hat for PR gigs over the years but never found the right fit (until Stephens!).
Once, a politician’s press team contacted me about an opening and asked if I would interview. I really had no intention of making the switch but decided to at least hear what they had to say.
My interview with a team of PR experts went something like this:
Man: “Do you have any experience writing press releases?”
* Disapproving looks all around *
Me: “But what I write actually gets in the paper.”
I’m not sure whether it was my lack of press release writing experience or my snark, but I did not get an offer.
I remember thinking, though, why would someone want to write press releases when press releases don’t actually get published anywhere? It’s way cooler to write for the public than for reporters who are just going to change everything you’ve written anyway.
And that’s still the case, which is why I haven’t bothered much with writing press releases.
Instead, I’ve been writing—and plan to write more—feature stories that have been highlighted on Stephens’ website.
Like this one from yesterday’s MLK keynote address.
I hope you had a chance to hear Xernona Clayton’s talk for yourself, but take a minute to read the story if you didn’t—she shared some profound memories about her friend, Martin Luther King Jr.
Perhaps the best part for me as a PR person doubling as an in-house reporter was having the ability to clap.
Yes, clap. Reporters don’t applaud at events they’re covering.
Having the ability to clap might not sound like a big deal, but it stinks when you don’t have the ability. I’ve listened to Maya Angelou twice, Sheryl Crow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (his dimples alone deserve applause! So cute!) without being able to applaud afterwards because I was being “objective.” And, yes, I realize how silly that sounds.
But I digress. One of my goals is to make the Stephens website a must-stop for those who want updated news and feature stories about Stephens College.
So if you’re faculty or staff or student or alumna or someone just interested in our school and have an idea for a story, don’t hesitate to contact me. I probably won’t write a press release, but what I do write will actually get in print (or at least online). And that is worthy of applause.