ITL #572 My experience transitioning from PR to media: proof that it can go the other way, too

1 month ago

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Flipping the Script: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. By Ivan Jaksic.



 I have been involved in communications in Serbia for almost 20 years. If we also include formal education, my engagement with PR is approaching a quarter of a century. More precisely, it is my PR and communications lifestyle – to paraphrase the Chinese philosopher Confucius, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life".

 

So, in short, I am fortunate that, at 45, I haven't been working for 20 years. And I intend to continue that way.

 

Almost exactly halfway through my career, circumstances led me into another profession. Specifically, they shifted my approach. After working in communications and PR, I founded the Avala Media Group media company, which, for now, owns one portal and one cable television channel. With ambitions to establish a regional news agency.

 

So, I'm still in communications, but from a different point of view. Actually, from every point of view now, that is, in all directions. Editor-journalist, editor-other media, journalist-interlocutor, media-audience, and very important to you, media-PR.

 

The global trend is for people in the media – whether due to a superficial perception of public relations that many (blaming solely us PR practitioners) equate with media relations, or for lucrative or other reasons – to move into the public relations sector.

 

The reverse migration, from PR to media, is rare. I haven't heard of such an example in Serbia. So, one could informally say – I flipped the script.

 

Applying PR skills in media

There are many possibilities, but not without pitfalls. That is how the space and challenge of applying PR-acquired knowledge in the media could be described. Reputation management, internal communications, digital... are just some of the skills that are more than applicable in the media as well. Today, they are also irreplaceable.

 

Media is not just a means or channel of communication. They are partners in communication. Partners with the news "creators", but also partners with readers, with the public. That is why building trust and mutual understanding with all stakeholders/public is also an essential function of the media. In this regard, the media are no different from any corporation, organization, institution, or individual for whom communication is a strategic goal.

 

The media have a responsible role toward society as well, and that is why their responsibility in the era of disinformation and misinformation is enormous. The skill of identifying, verifying, and eliminating such content is crucial to building trust between the media and target audiences. Thus, once again, experience from PR is more than applicable.

 

The consequences for reputation are also comparable. A hard-earned reputation in the field of PR is preserved and enhanced by proper and timely information, by communication. The same applies to the media. Gambling with credibility may cost the media (and society) more. Losses are often irreparable. That is why the media bears a tremendous amount of responsibility.

 

Application of artificial intelligence is certainly one of the greatest challenges in general. In media, it is the most challenging task in the aforementioned battle against, as they say in Davos, the greatest global risk of today – disinformation and misinformation. On the other hand, it will surely accelerate and facilitate the work in the media, systematizing and finding everything published on the internet, as well as communicating one's own content and products.

 

Through the responsible application of artificial intelligence and the right approach toward disinformation and misinformation, the media should play a key role in building trust. Of course, with new regulations that must keep up with and respond to new global challenges.

 

Contacts are your capital

Contacts are literally the capital of every individual engaged in our profession. You always carry that with you wherever you work. In media, it also means access to the right information at the right time, which often requires good relations with colleagues in the PR field.

 

On the other hand, I now have an advantage over PR professionals: I know how they think. This makes defining editorial policies, identifying topics, and finding niches easier. It enables you to stay one step ahead, to lead the game.

 

Therefore, I believe that being a PR professional at the helm of a media company, along with accepting suggestions and constantly learning, can be both the comparative advantage and the difference needed in the media market. For now, I can support that with evidence (the success of the media I manage).

 

Two years of experience as the president of the national professional organization for public relations professionals provided me with the privilege to meet many colleagues from the region, pioneers of the PR profession in our part of the world. Those friendships continue to this day. That is why I am extremely pleased that my friend Natasa Pavlovic Bujas is now the President of IPRA. To be honest, in our region, we unjustly perceive this as a success of our profession and all of us. But, let's not pretend, that is solely the result of Natasa's professionalism, knowledge, experience, dedication, and energy. That is why I accepted her invitation to join IPRA without much thought, and then to share my experience with you through this essay. I hope it will be useful to someone. It is to me, because, while writing, I realized what else I could apply from my PR knowledge to my new job in the media.

 

I am glad that I will have the opportunity to meet and cooperate with some of you. And, who knows, it may turn into new partnerships and friendships.

 

As I said, contacts are our capital.

 


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The Author

Ivan Jaksic

Ivan Jaksic, Founder, Director, and Editor-in-Chief of Avala Media Group; President of the Public Relations Society of Serbia (2012-2014).

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