Aspiring media relations writers need to have at least a bachelor's degree for an entry-level position, but employability can be significantly boosted if they also have related work experience, such as the completion of an internship program. Applicants who know a second language are often sought out by employers, so bilingual job candidates could have a significant advantage over their competition.
A media relations writer, also known as a public relations or corporate communications specialist, creates publicity for a business or organization and releases it to media outlets for publication. This job requires a bachelor's degree, however competition is fierce for entry-level positions, so it is beneficial to also have relevant internship experience. Additionally, bilingual applicants are highly sought after in this field. This career might appeal to an individual with interests in media, writing, and advertising.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Employer Preferences|| Job-related internship
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%|
|Median Wage (2015)*||$56,770 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The reputations of organizations depend on the public's positive opinion. The overarching responsibility of media relations writers is to create and maintain good relationships with the public via media outlets, like newspapers, radio, and television stations. If negative public opinions emerge, media relations writers deploy defense strategies to reverse or improve the public's perception.
Media relations writers research and create press releases, press kits, and feature articles that appeal to the wants and needs of the organization's target market, members of the media and the organization itself. They may write and produce presentations or speeches at community events to appear in the public eye and promote positive relations. Media relations writers develop professional relationships with media personnel and negotiate to receive the best coverage possible. They also respond to information requests from the media and serve as a contact person for public inquiries.
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the median annual salary for public relations specialists was $56,770 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The level of experience, location, and type of industry affect salary. The highest-paying industries for public relations specialists include advertising, management, and business organizations. According to the BLS, from 2014-2024 this career field is expected to grow by 6%.
According to the BLS, many media relations writers have degrees in communications, journalism, English, or business. Those that have been employed in the media or public relations industry for a few years can enroll in a voluntary accreditation program for public relations specialists through the Public Relations Society of America (www.prsa.org), which recognizes competency in the industry. Fluency in another language is increasingly sought in applicants by companies because of the growing number of Americans who speak a language other than English as their first language.
Media relations writers are required to be strong oral and written communicators. They typically have multiple projects under tight deadlines. Development in the Internet and social media is creating more opportunities for media relations writers to spread their messages. Additional training to keep up with communication technologies is part of the job. Media relations writers also need to stay abreast of changing trends and cultural values to reach their audiences.
Media relations writers are responsible for portraying a company or organization in a positive light and ensuring that this image is upheld. When a company receives negative press, it is up to a media relations writer to alter the public's opinion through a variety of media platforms, such as press releases and kits, news articles, and radio.