People often ask me why I decided to make the transition from TV news to Public Relations. It’s a good question, with a somewhat complex answer.
The next most common question people ask is: What is it like to make the switch from TV news to PR? Again, how much time do you have?
I decided in 7th grade that I was going to be a journalist. But it was when I got the opportunity to co-host local segments of the Easter Seal telethon while in high school and I held that microphone in front of the camera that I knew I wanted to be a broadcaster. Contrary to what you might think, it wasn’t the allure of the camera or an attraction to the limelight. What drew me to broadcast was the immediacy of it. I could report on things as they were happening. I could visually show people “news in the now.”
I’ve always been an inquisitive person, which is a necessary quality to be a journalist. I like learning new things, meeting new people and being trusted to share their stories.
When I was an intern at one of the local TV stations in college, I’ll never forget what the evening anchor said to me. “Everyone has a story. You can open up the phone book, pick a name at random, call them up and learn something interesting.”
I never did that, but I understood. News, information and human-interest stories can be found everywhere. You just have to be willing to look, listen and ask the right questions.
I love to write, read and learn, also good qualities for a journalist, which combined led to a career in TV news that spanned two decades.
So, why did I one day decide it was time to make a change?
First, it wasn’t one day. It took many days of soul-searching. I asked the question over and over: How do I see myself spending the next 20+ years?
I’ve had some tremendous experiences in TV news, and I’ve worked with some incredible people who will be friends for life. Relationships in the newsroom are important because when news breaks, typically on the days when you’re most understaffed, you rely on each other. Everyone pitches in and digs a little deeper to get the story covered.
I spent more than 10 years anchoring morning broadcasts and enjoyed the pace of the AM show, but the hours got increasingly difficult when (insert gasp of horror) my 20s and 30s flew the coop.
I arrived at work at one o’clock in the morning and lived constantly sleep deprived. Could I have changed my shift and worked different hours? Probably, but in all honesty, my soul searching led me to the conclusion that it was time to try something new. I wasn’t sure exactly what that something new would be, but I knew the opportunity would present itself when it was time.
Then, there it was in my inbox — an email from Dana Turell.
Stay tuned for part two of this story, in which I’ll explain how my career path changed with two simple sentences. I’ll also explain what it’s like to make the switch from journalism to PR.
Or, as they say in broadcast: “Right after this commercial break.”