CAREERS: My Big Break - Joe Riser is managing director of AtomicTech PR in Los Angeles

What might have otherwise seemed like a career move brought on by

panic over an industry downturn a dozen years ago, was actually a

blessing in disguise. As a result, I was able to make a very natural

switch from "investigator" to advocate.

I had been working for the leading electronics trade journal for five

years as their Los Angeles correspondent, while helping out nonprofit

and civic groups with publicity for free in my spare time - and enjoying

the latter more than my job. Suddenly, I saw almost half of my editorial

coworkers being laid off at the newspaper. I began to rethink my career

goals as a trade journalist when one of the better PR executives I dealt

with at a new tech boutique agency asked me to join as their first

senior hire.

The firm was unique, even for that time, because one of the founding

members had actually been a competitor of mine at another trade


Because a colleague had already "crossed over" from journalist to PR

practitioner, it made my overall transition much smoother. It also

allowed me to progress in the coming years through assignments with both

small and large agencies.

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