Navigating the Transition From Journalism to PR & Comms

Tuesdays from March 12–April 9, from 6–7:30 p.m. ET

While public relations and communications have been growing as a profession, many media organizations are downsizing or even shutting down. This dynamic has resulted in many talented and experienced print, broadcast and online journalists looking for new opportunities such as public relations.

The public relations and communications fields provide a range of opportunities for journalists and those with strong writing and media skills. PR and communications firms and departments at corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies are on the lookout for talented writers, content creators and media strategists.

Offered as a certificate program, “Navigating the Transition From Journalism to PR & Comms” bridges these needs. It will provide journalists (as well as others in related fields looking to move into public relations opportunities) with an overview of how their skills are relevant to a variety of positions in public relations, as well as the knowledge and tools to adapt them to public relations initiatives.

Participants will learn the basics of public relations strategy, writing for the client/organization (vs. from the journalist perspective), the tools used in media relations, best practices for effective media outreach, and they will hear from those who have successfully made the transition from journalist to public relations professional.

This certificate program will be led by two industry leaders: Jeanne Salvatore, president at JMS Communications and a lecturer of public relations at Seton Hall University, and Sherry Goldman, president of Goldman Communications Group and an adjunct professor in public relations at the City College of New York. They will be joined in this program by several co-presenters including former journalists who successfully made the leap to leadership positions in public relations. Together, they also will ensure participants get real-world information, tools and insights to help them in their future public relations work.

This live, online program of five modules, will launch on March 12 and run through April 9 on Tuesdays from 6–7:30 p.m. EDT. It is designed to be interactive and will offer in-class exercises to master important skills.

All modules will be recorded so participants can (re)listen or review them after the live date. Additionally, participants will be given access to PRSA’s Online Community, an exclusive forum offering private access and interactive dialogue with other participants taking the course.

After successfully completing all the modules and passing a test at the end of the program, registrants will be awarded a valuable certificate and a digital badge that demonstrates their knowledge of public relations.

The certificate program is designed for:

  • Journalists (print, broadcast, digital) considering public relations work.
  • Social media and digital marketing professionals considering public relations opportunities and/or a broader understanding of media relations as a part of PR campaigns.
  • Journalism, communications and public relations students/graduates looking to learn more about the PR profession and earn a certificate to help them land their first job or move ahead in their careers.
  • Business or corporate writers who would like to expand their skills.

At the end of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Effectively understand public relations strategies and effective ways to use public relations to further objectives.
  • Develop a public relations campaign and the key elements.
  • Understand (from the PR perspective) media relations including the development of all the written materials used in this key PR tactic.
  • Position their skills and expertise effectively to help them secure public relations positions.

“The certificate program ‘Navigating the Transition From Journalism to PR & Comms’ fills a unique need for journalists considering transitioning to a career in public relations. The program will provide them with the fundamentals of PR, insights on how their journalism skills can be translated to PR, the tools to get started and practical advice on the breadth of PR opportunities. In addition, attendees will earn a valuable certificate from PRSA that they can use to market their knowledge to prospective employers.”

– Jeanne Salvatore and Sherry Goldman


Certificate Program Modules

Module 1: The Relationship Between Journalism and Public Relations: What They Have in Common and How They Are Different
Tuesday, March 12, 6–7:30 p.m. EDT
Guest Speaker: Chris Winans, founder, Chris Winans Consulting LLC

In this module, participants will get an overview of the program, learn how they can use their journalism skills to succeed in the public relations profession and understand the ethical considerations required by public relations professionals.

Module 2: Public Relations and Integrated Communications
Tuesday, March 19, 6–7:30 p.m. EDT
Guest Speaker: Tony Sclafani, managing director, Mercury Public Affairs

In this module, participants will be introduced to the breadth of the public relations discipline, gain knowledge of its position within integrated marketing communications and learn the fundamental elements of planning a PR campaign. They’ll also learn about the role of social media and content creation in PR programs.

Module 3: The Press Kit: The Essential Tool of PR’s Most Common Tactic — Media Relations
Tuesday, March 26, 6–7:30 p.m. EDT

In this module, participants will learn about the press kit, which is the essential tool PR pros develop and use for media relations and journalist outreach. The module will cover the key elements of most press kits — news releases, media advisories, fact sheets, backgrounders, Q&As and bios as well as other PR writing focuses including speechwriting and writing editorials and opinion pieces.

Module 4: Effective Media Relations: How PR Pros Work With the Media
Tuesday, April 2, 6–7:30 p.m. EDT
Guest Speaker: Chris Vaccaro, communications director, NOAA’s National Weather Service

In this module, participants will learn about media relations as a PR tactic and the PR skills needed to build relationships with the media. Hear from guest speaker Chris Vacarro, a former journalist who then worked closely with the media as a public information officer for NOAA and is now the communications director for the National Weather Service.

Module 5: Starting Your Career in Public Relations
Tuesday, April 9, 6–7:30 p.m. EDT
Guest Speaker: Susan Thomas, client partner, Heyman Associates

In this module, participants will learn about career options in public relations, whether working at a PR firm or in-house at a corporation, nonprofit, NGO or government agency, and the various PR functions (including internal and external PR, public affairs, content creation, digital media) managed by PR pros in these organizations. Participants also will get guidance on how to discuss and use their journalism skills to secure PR positions on the agency and corporate sides. You’ll also hear from a PR recruiter about opportunities for journalists in the PR sector and best practices for communicating your journalistic experience to PR recruiters.

Accreditation Information

Participants with the APR credential earn 0.5 renewal CEUs for each completed module of this course, for a total of 2.5 CEUs.




Certificate Program, Communication Strategy, Course/Workshop, IMC- Integrated Marketing Communications, Live Online, Media Relations, Special Interests