PR Lessons from “The Newsroom”

I made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish over my last and final winter break (tears). One of these goals was to catch up on a number of series that were pushed to the side all fall semester. I finished the entire series of HBO’s “The Newsroom” in a mere seven days. Isn’t free time such a lovely thing? I couldn’t help but take note of a few public relations lessons I picked up on while watching the show about the behind the scenes madness of a journalist.

One character was temporarily in charge of managing the popular nightly news show’s Twitter account. Her emotions were running high after feeling stressed from a breaking story. She let her emotions get the best of her and sent out a very controversial and opinionated tweet on the show’s Twitter account. Even though she deleted the snarky tweet shortly after posting it, it was too late. She recognized the severity of her mistake and was fired that episode. As a social media specialist or public relations professional, handling a company’s or client’s Twitter account is a very realistic task. One who does this must be very trusted and this lesson is any professional’s nightmare.

Another lesson I learned while watching the show is one we are taught in our major from the start. The importance of knowing a reporter’s beat. Reporters are constantly on a strict deadline and it is a waste of time for both sides to pitch to the wrong person. Although research may not be the most exciting, it is most definitely important to get right. Also, the feeling of landing a placement and chalking up a win makes hours of Cision searching well worth it.

The last lesson that stood out to me when thinking with a public relations mindset is the importance of publications and news stations one chooses to read or watch. Political preference and personal opinion will vary. The importance of staying on top of current events on a local, national and international level is stressed more than anything. Public relations has forced me to pay more attention to the news and what news I choose to rely on. This is something I am thankful for because it has made me well rounded and more educated.

Aside from these few lessons, the show also made we want to have a unmatched work ethic. It was inspiring to see women in the show hold executive positions. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to relate some of the storylines to my major and future job industry. Despite other reviews about the show, I highly recommend the series to all my TV series binge watchers and was bummed there weren’t more episodes.

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