Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why public relations professionals should shadow journalists from time to time

Thanks to my friend Omar Gallaga, the cyber-journalist from the Austin American Statesman, I found this wonderful little blog: I have worked both sides of the street as they say, having done stints with the San Antonio Express News and KSAT 12.

My initial impression as one who has lived in both worlds is that this is a pretty interesting little blog, written by someone who has actually observed journalists like Omar. For those young public relations type who haven't spent any time working with journalists, this is a good starting point for understanding the life of reporters.

However, the best education is to ask a reporter from the print, radio and TV to shadow them. My first Air Force supervisor, Katie Cutler, made me tote video cameras and lights for the local cable news channel in Guam. From this little exercise, I learned how TV professionals stage a story, edit it and then produce the final product. Because Katie made me carry the "sticks," I learned how important it is to make sure that journalists get good locations to carry their gear. I also understood a lot of other nuances that make for a good interview.

So, while this new blog is a good starting point for those who are just entering professional public relations, it's not the total solution either. Public relations professionals should shadow a media professional from time to time. Even seasoned professionals like me should take a day off to shadow a cyber journalist like Omar or Roy Bragg at the Express News.

So, Omar or Roy, if you are interested, please let me know. I would love to shadow y'all someday to learn how to get you the information you need. And, I'll pay for the coffee and lunch as long as it's at the Olive Garden. (Note: I still have a $25 gift certificate from there.)

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