The Importance of Developing Your News Writing Skills

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) publishes a high quality, monthly tab newspaper called Public Relations Tactics, which is filled with great articles about the industry. Every so often the publication runs a special focus edition on writing. I’m a big fan of Public Relations Tactics and feel it is one of the best benefits I receive at the national level from PRSA.

A few years ago, in one of those writing focus sections, there was an article by a veteran PR pro who runs his own agency. He wrote about the top 10 characteristics needed for an entry-level, PR practioner.

The article said, “Writing is the most important tool we use in public relations. Good writing can make up for many other deficiencies; the lack of it is not usually overcome by numerous other strengths.”

A 40-year PR veteran wrote another article in the same issue of Public Relations Tactics in which he stated: “Over the years, when I’ve lectured to university students, the one thing I stress is that if you can write, you’ll always eat.”

He went on to say: “Develop good writing skills. It’s wonderful job security.”

A survey conducted in the communications industry showed that employers are looking for 24 desirable skills/attitudes in entry level public relations employees. The most desirable skill identified in the survey was: the ability to write.

Most long-time public relations professionals started out as journalists, gaining their news writing skills in the newsroom. Today, young people in our industry can major in public relations and then enter the field without ever having worked a single day in a newsroom. Yet, these same young people are expected to write news stories where the intended target audience (and gate keeper) is a news editor.

The classes and seminars I teach in news writing are geared towards giving these young professionals the news writing skills they need to succeed in their jobs. Interested in learning more? Shoot me an email or check my web site for upcoming learning opportunities.

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