Approximately 270,000 public relations specialists are employed in the United States. Media relations specialists are employed either by the organization, company, or individual they represent or by a public relations agency. The majority of opportunities exist in major metropolitan areas, but there also may be opportunities even in smaller communities, such as at colleges and universities. Media relations specialists—known as press secretaries or public affairs specialists—are also employed by government agencies.
It is not likely that you'll begin your career in media relations right after graduating from college. Even someone with a professional journalism background should not jump into media relations without first working as a public relations generalist. Most media relations specialists begin as journalists or work in public relations before specializing in media relations.
College career services counselors can help you find a position that will prepare you for media relations. Other effective routes include completing an internship at a public relations agency or in a corporate public relations or communications department. Additionally, professional associations, such as the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators, offer job listings on their Web sites.
Entry-level public relations specialists might assemble media clippings or create media lists for different clients. As they gain experience, they may be assigned to write news releases, conduct a poll or survey, or write speeches for company officials.
As prospective media relations specialists become more experienced and knowledgeable about the organization they represent, they may be called on to help seasoned media relations specialists pitch news releases, place articles with the media, and plan media events.
Seasoned media relations specialists can move into managerial positions where they take an active role in shaping media strategies and positioning the organization they represent.
To learn more about the field, read:
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: https://jobs.prsa.org and https://jobs.iabc.com.
Join professional associations to take advantage of member-only resources, such as chapter meetings, mentoring programs, and other benefits.