Moving to the Darkside with…Patty Lubold

Prior to moving into PR, what was your perception of the industry?

Overall, it wasn't altogether flattering. I had an internship at a small PR firm in NYC during college and my job consisted of calling editors across the country about shampoo for men with thinning hair. I was hung up on a lot and pledged I would not a pursue PR as a profession.

What lured you to the dark side?

My boss. As a former reporter, he made the job seem appealing because he was looking for someone who understood the news and the elements of a good story.

What annoyed you most about PRs when you were a journalist?

I got annoyed when PRs told me what I was writing was not a story.

How did your journo colleagues react when you told them you were moving into PR?

Most of them were curious about making the move themselves. A few shook their heads and thought I would be bored. But like journalism, a public relations career is never dull.

What has been your biggest surprise about PR?

There’s much more to it than what I believed as a reporter. I would often get frustrated as a reporter when I called a PR rep to talk with someone at a company only to hear back hours later, sometimes past deadline. Now I understand the scheduling challenges and behind the scenes work the PR professional needs to do just to get someone knowledgeable on the phone with the right information.

What lessons did you learn in journalism that are easily transferable to PR?

How to pitch. As a journalist, if you want to work on stories that interest you, you have to pitch your editor for the chance and pass what one editor called the, "so what factor." That's still my rule today - it forces you to pitch news.

What do you miss most about being a journalist?

I miss writing about human interest stories and learning about people’s lives. I also miss the newsroom atmosphere on election night or when there is a big breaking story – now I go to Twitter (@plubold) for that.

What advice would you give to other journalists considering the change?

Be open to opportunities and look for an organization you admire and that provides or does something you can believe in.

What is your top tip for PRs when dealing with hacks?

Stick to the facts and move on.


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