Journalism VS Public Relations

Journalism and Public Relations are two giant industries that have created confusion amongst those prospective individuals who wish to take a step onto either career ladder, by their frequent relaying of mutual distrust and crossing of paths. 

Journalism and PR have always had a level of mutual dependency, however due to the introduction of new technology and social networking it is now easier to protect one’s self or brand through 24/7 social media access.

Therefore, PR has become the sole survivor, whilst journalism struggles to remain on top form. I have a degree in Journalism and I can tell you first hand that it is an extremely hard industry to break into, unless you are a genius at what you do.

Below are a list of similarities and differences to help those prospective individuals gather a small insight into which career path is right for them.

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Journalism thrived before the introduction of modern methods. Newspapers are increasingly in decline.


  1. Communication Industries

Both industries deal with the communication side of business. PR and Journalism both rely on audience interaction and great content creation to keep the industries alive and thriving.

Both should deliver their message clearly and with easy accessibility but without confusion. They actively seek and encourage their intended audiences to commit and engage.

2.  Relationship Building

Building and maintaining positive audience relationships are vital to both industries. Journalists must create credible stories, through the use of solid and substantial sources and evidence, to be seen as a reliable informant of news, whilst PR professionals build relationships to incite audience investment, whether that is physically or emotionally.

Basically, journalists are biased until proven otherwise, whilst PR professionals will suck up to you and create a relationship that is good for business.

3.  Staying Current

Both industries must roll with the times. Whether that is using the latest technology or creating content that is widely popular within the online world of social media. Social engagement and visual story-telling have become a saviour amongst Journalists and PR professionals due to its ability to incite audience engagement and to tailor content to seem more personal.

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Social media allows any user to become a journalist. Blogging or becoming an influencer is received better by audiences.


  1. Job Prospects

Job prospects are an essential aspect when determining a long-term profession. Typically, those who studied a basic Journalism course would be limited to a lower number of job prospects, such as a reporter or a writer, compared to those who studied a Multimedia Journalism course and gained a wider skillset.

The above did not work for myself. I have a multimedia journalism degree but my location was not suitable to my needs. Unless you live near a big city then that is your career gone out of the window.

However, Public Relations branches out into an endless web of opportunities, not only in terms of sectors but also in terms of job roles. You could use your PR skills in many job roles including: marketing, social media management, brand management and many, many more.

    2.  Specific Audience Demographics

News stories are relevant to the whole public which creates a wider spectrum for audience demographics, unless you are working for a specific niche market.

However, Public Relations requires a more precise audience demographic due to its need for audience interaction within a brand to build positive consumer-brand relationships and build upon brand equity.

3.  Freedom of Content Creation

Journalists, unless working for a specific sector, have the ability to publish content regarding whichever topic they want and objectivity is vital due to the reporting of facts and remaining unbiased.

However, PR professionals must stick to a brief outlined by their clients to ensure the correct audience needs and wants are fulfilled and must remain subjective due to it being the business of persuasion.


GIF Source

Do you want my opinion?

Journalism is an interesting career but a hard one at that.

I personally grew up wanting to become a travel journalist and I was able to achieve that dream but my god it was expensive. I could not afford to travel more than three times a year and freelancing rinsed my bank and stopped my career in its tracks.

Public relations is a career that is more current. Every single organisation needs a PR professional to push the band wagon out there and build a brand amongst the public. It is a more sought after profession and one that has got me feeling as though I’ve finally found my calling in life.

Public relations > Journalism.


– Liam

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