PR vs TV

There's a journalism purging going on these days. You know who I'm talking 'bout. Journalists fleeing like boat people to corporations, private companies, guv'ment jobs. They're leaving print and broadcast in droves, in search of a better life out West.

Any place where they no longer have to hear about becoming a "Swiss Army knife" or "jack of all trades" who has to "do more with less" and "adapt" and "converge" and "work more for the same pay." Who wants to do any of that when you can work Monday-Friday, eat a lunch that's not balanced on your lap in a live truck, and enjoy both Thanksgiving AND Christmas off? Journalists usually have to choose one or the other because in case you haven't noticed, there's about 10 of us left per newsroom. And that's in the major markets.

Many of my friends and former colleagues have landed squarely on two feet, working for Yahoo, Gap, Cisco, Comerica Bank, private institutions of higher learning. Places where people have offices and windows to the outside world.

I recently spoke at a 'lunch and learn' event at Edelman, a PR firm that represents mega companies like Merck, eBay, and United Airlines. I went over the basics of how things work for me in TV news and what someone should do if they want to get my attention. Besides running behind my live shot naked. That seems to be frowned upon in most circles. 

I noticed key things that helped me better understand why people leave journalism and go into PR. Things like a smiling receptionist and candy bowl in the lobby. Things like good pay and benefits. Things like entire rooms dedicated to the X-Box and "creative thinking." Things like soft couches and natural light. People who look like they're ready to step into a J. Crew ad. People who smile. People who laugh. People who don't look like their eyes are going to roll back into their heads and down their backs because of the ridiculousness of it all.

Just an observation about life post-journalism for some people. I'm sure there are horror stories about those who've left the business and regret it and spend every night curled up under a desk drooling and trembling. And of course, there are some shiny happy people left. Like Frank Somerville.