Straddling the line between communications professional and journalist

So far in my career, I’ve been fortunate, very fortunate. I’ve accomplished a lot of things in so many genres. As a journalist, I’ve managed to hold down a part-time sports program on TSN 990 in Montreal since 2004. I’ve also been published in the Montreal Gazette, National Post, and on TSN.ca, to name a few.

But I’ve also had some success as a public relations professional, landing clients media attention on television, in print and on major online portals.

However, because I have the good fortune of being on both sides of the media, the lines can become blurred. Recently, I had a PR client who approached me looking for sports media coverage. Simple enough, right? Well…. not exactly.

The client was elated with the results from our work on the campaign. But it was the process that became a little sticky at certain points. When you’re PR itching the very same people that you consider journalist colleagues and friends, you have to tread lightly and proceed with extreme finesse.

In the end, it all worked out. I didn’t manage to alienate anyone and I didn’t cross any journalism ethics codes. But, the whole experience did make me stop and think.

I’ve always viewed my versatility and diverse communications background as an asset. But in this particular situation, it almost hindered me.  I thought a sports client would be the ultimate, drawing on my years of experience as an industry watcher and commentator. But in the end, it turned out to be just as challenging.

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! I’ve always been one to say that things happen for a reason. So the public relations campaign, deemed a success by my client, was but another experience to learn from and to draw on in the future.

Follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewrossmtl

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