Journalists should beware 'PR option'

Increasing numbers of senior journalists are said to be planning an escape route into PR, but they are likely to find their options limited as agencies prioritise genuine industry experience.

Recruitment consultant boss Ros Kindersley of JFL said twice as many journalists were contacting her, despite there being half as many PR jobs.

And PHA senior consultant Phil Taylor, who joined the entertainment agency in May from an associate editorship at the News of the World, confirmed that myriad enquiries were being made.

'There are a lot of journalists at newspapers who are working up a plan because they fear for their jobs. The newspaper industry is in a terrible state. This will go right to the very top,' said Taylor.

He added that newspapers could no longer afford to pay the big salaries many editors expected to receive.

Taylor's comments follow the news that BBC tech editor Darren Waters is to join Monument PR Worldwide as MD (prweek.com, 26 June).

However, the PR world is much less receptive to journalists than it was 18 months ago. JFL's Kindersley said agencies were 'not interested' in people moving over from journalism. 'People always go for the safe option in times like these,' she added.

VMA Selection MD Claire Tuffin confirmed it was primarily journalists from the national press who were getting in contact, but suggested they may merely be looking to broaden their options.

She said: 'A lot of people are chasing jobs wherever they might be. They're thinking "Where else might I naturally take my skills?" rather than a specific move into PR.'

Tuffin added that the growing requirement for crisis communications skills could offer particular potential for defecting journalists.

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