Moving to the Darkside with…Tom Madden

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

A lot of self-serving sailors looking to hitch a free ride on a news ship. I don’t really hang out with PR people as I’m still a journalist at heart and I tend to hire people like me right out of the news business so they can speak the language of journalism and recognize what’s news and how to break it.

What lured you to the dark side and the founding of TransMedia?

Desperation. I lost my high-ranking position at NBC and with a wife and three children living in Manhattan, I had to get some revenue re-started quickly, so I went to one of the companies I helped while I was at NBC and landed my first client, AT&T.

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

They only gave you one side of the story, their client’s side. They also seldom gave you real news to work with, but were looking for what I thought was free advertising.

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

They thought I was admirably mercenary and definitely in my right mind.

What has been your biggest surprise about PR?

It can be fun and creative and I love the challenge of turning something mundane into something splashy.

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

I learned three of the most important things in PR—writing, writing and writing. It’s all in all you write it, present it, describe it.

What will you miss most about being a journalist?

It won’t be the pay scale. It will probably be the ability to be objective, to let the chips fall where they may. As a journalist, I was only after the truth. And there was no need to spin in any particular direction.

Will there be time for the occasional freelance story?

As I said, writing is what I do best, so answer is yes.

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

Think about how you will fee to be an advocate for someone or something. See if salesmanship is a quality you have and would like to exercise.

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

Hang up on hacks; move their emails to the junk box. It’s originality we need, not hackality. There’s already enough of that!

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

A lot of self-serving sailors looking to hitch a free ride on a news ship. I don’t really hang out with PR people as I’m still a journalist at heart and I tend to hire people like me right out of the news business so they can speak the language of journalism and recognize what’s news and how to break it.

What lured you to the dark side and the founding of TransMedia?

Desperation. I lost my high-ranking position at NBC and with a wife and three children living in Manhattan, I had to get some revenue re-started quickly, so I went to one of the companies I helped while I was at NBC and landed my first client, AT&T.

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

They only gave you one side of the story, their client’s side. They also seldom gave you real news to work with, but were looking for what I thought was free advertising.

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

They thought I was admirably mercenary and definitely in my right mind.

What has been your biggest surprise about PR?

It can be fun and creative and I love the challenge of turning something mundane into something splashy.

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

I learned three of the most important things in PR—writing, writing and writing. It’s all in all you write it, present it, describe it.

What will you miss most about being a journalist?

It won’t be the pay scale. It will probably be the ability to be objective, to let the chips fall where they may. As a journalist, I was only after the truth. And there was no need to spin in any particular direction.

Will there be time for the occasional freelance story?

As I said, writing is what I do best, so answer is yes.

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

Think about how you will fee to be an advocate for someone or something. See if salesmanship is a quality you have and would like to exercise.

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

Hang up on hacks; move their emails to the junk box. It’s originality we need, not hackality. There’s already enough of that!

- See more at: http://www.gorkana.us/news/all/moving-to-the-darkside/moving-to-the-darkside-with-tom-madden/#sthash.LC7yF53b.dpuf

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