#HRM20: The ‘parallel universe' of PR
When I first left my job as a reporter on a local paper to join HR Media back in the early 2000s the paper’s then-editor described me as swapping journalism for the ‘parallel universe’ that was public relations.
He did have a point. Back then the two industries, while orbiting each other and occupying much of the same space, did feel like similar but very different worlds.
Joining the HR Media team, the atmosphere in the office was very similar to the busy newsroom I was used to – perhaps unsurprisingly because HRM was founded by Alison Hurndall and Martin Ross, who both previously held senior editorial positions at various publications including the Sheffield Star.
I was far from alone in terms of moving from print to PR, either, as many HRM staff were former journalists, too.
So in many ways journalism and PR didn’t exactly feel light years apart. I was used to life as a reporter – meeting people, attending court hearings, researching and writing features – so writing press releases directly for a client was not so much of a change.
This is actually my second stint at HRM – after five years in PR the cosmic force of journalism lured me back and I wrote for a magazine for a year.
Returning to HRM in 2011 and much of planet PR much had changed. Copywriting was about much more than just press releases or the odd newspaper column – now I was writing copy for client websites, breaking copy up into bite-size ‘snackable content’ and looking after social media.
‘Content manager’ was added to my job title to reflect this. The HRM e-newsletter was introduced and I became involved in planning, creating and managing the content for it. I also got involved in e-newsletters for clients, as well as print publications. Blogging was no longer an attractive add-on to my duties list but more important than ever.
It seemed PR had been on quite an intergalactic journey and HRM was strengthening its digital offering with video and podcasting.
More recently still we’ve ventured into the galaxy of graphic design and further boosted our video and social media offering.
But perhaps most excitingly for me is the work I have been doing on our latest venture – print products.
The first a quarterly lifestyle and property publication with client Redbrik, and the second unLTD - a bi-monthly business publication for the Sheffield city region, which we are working on with Blind Mice Media, the people behind the hugely successful Exposed.
I have loved getting back to planning content, writing copy, proofing pages - working on a print product for a PR company is, for me, the best of both worlds.
In fact you could say it feels like the planets of PR and journalism have aligned!