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Sibling rivalry: PR's arms vs. journalism's legs...

Posted on by Prova

By Will

Journalism was always the degree I wanted to have, but never the career. As a current undergraduate journalism student, I’ve spent the week before Christmas working with the team at Prova PR. Ending my semester as a journalist and then immediately walking into a PR office has been a little like stepping out of a hot tub in the middle of winter.

However the week has started me thinking. Despite all the differences I encountered, there can be no question that the worlds of PR and journalism are intrinsically linked together.

As I prepare to leave for home on the last Friday before Christmas, I consider journalism and PR to be metaphorical siblings.

Born from the same genetics, the two industries have an abundance of overlapping qualities. The skills required by their workers are moulded around the same core of writing and communication.

However, similar to the relationships of children, there can always be conflict. The worlds of PR and journalism can often view themselves as being at polar ends of the same spectrum.

But, without the other, to what degree would the separate professions really be able to function?

In reality they rely upon one another. Their professional worlds are desperately and endlessly entwined. For this reason, maybe sibling was the wrong word to use. Perhaps conjoined twins would better reflect their inability to function solely on their own. Maybe they wouldn’t be joined at the head, but certainly their arms and legs would be thoroughly mashed together.

Severing them would not kill them off completely. But it would certainly make it impossible to function; well impossible to function without growing themselves a new arm and leg.

Realistically, if the PR industry disappeared to dust tomorrow then journalists would find it impossible to cover enough content. For all those journalists sat on office phones all day it would be like taking away supermarkets and handing them a spear and a net. A complete shock to the system. An entire tabloid reduced to leaflet-like status.

Over time the gap would be filled, journalists would fill it, speaking directly to the companies whose stories were readily handed to them. But then would they really be journalists anymore?

In an alternate universe all journalists are wiped from the face of the earth and the problem reverses. PR would find itself with a similar inability to function, but for different reasons. With nobody to call upon in publishing their hard-worked releases and information, progress would immediately stall. The public would hear nothing. Clients would refuse to pay for the service that no longer offered a result.
Then slowly, inevitably, they would begin to fill the hole, just like journalists. PR workers would find new and different ways to communicate with the public, starting publications and news channels. Getting their clients’ stories out there, one way or another.

Gradually the arm and leg re-grow, it would take a long time, it would hurt like hell and of course there is always the possibility a blood clot could kill it off.

The worlds of journalism and PR accomplish the same result, with or without realising it. Combined they are responsible for almost all information reaching us as individuals. They each fill a degree of duties that with the other would fail to function without.

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