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From Hack To Flack: Are You Fit For PR?

A longtime journalist turned PR CEO weighs whether you could cut it on the 'dark side'

By Richard Laermer - September 21, 2009
I'll get right to the point: PR is not the dark side any more.

As a reporter for a plethora of publications in the hard-to-remember '80s, I do recall titters from my colleagues when I defected to PR. I had to make more money and I couldn't cope with holier-than-thou editors. I'd written for USA Today, New York Daily News, The New York Times, Crains NY, Editor & Publisher, Us... and all I got was a T-shirt that said, "Someone read my article."

A lot of PR peers were once reporters who failed in the new gig because PR was immoral or beneath them (don't get me started!). You have to think of yourself in the highest esteem to make it as a journalist -- I get it -- but in order to make the leap into public relations, just cut out that attitude with a scalpel. If you want to be great and make money, you need to passionate about the work. And you just can't fake passion -- unless you're in porn.

Ever since I switched teams, I have met PR folks who started sentences with, "Back when I was a reporter..." Most were let go from reporting duties by slimming corporations. But some proved to not be so good at either profession.

To do well in the PR industry, you need to make a tough job look easy. You've got to have many balls in the air at one time. A lot seem to juggle well, except for those tasks you didn't come up with on your own.

Here is how to determine whether you've got the goods to make it in our town....

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