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A press secretary is an individual who speaks for a person, government official, or organization in a public capacity. It typically is the press secretary’s responsibility to shape his or her constituent’s public image, to maintain relationships with the press corps, and to conduct damage control during unfortunate or unforeseen events. To become a press secretary, you typically will need to have an undergraduate degree, experience in the field, and a demeanor that can handle the pressure of being in the eye of the public.
There is no one direct way to become a press secretary. People in this profession could speak for either celebrities, public figures, or government officials. Since a press secretary is a specialized area of public relations, an undergraduate degree in public relations could be a good place to begin.
You might want to look for an internship or position with a newspaper, television station, radio station, or even an Internet outlet to get your foot in the door. Such a position could provide valuable experience, particularly with learning how to write press releases, news stories, and other content; developing relationships with people you might have to network with in the future; and handling yourself in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. You might consider writing news articles for the constituent’s benefit or become established on talk radio if at all possible.
Volunteering is also a great way to establish one’s presence, especially for a government official. If possible, you might want to earn a degree in journalism or communications. Press secretaries, particularly those who go on to work for a government entity, usually have extensive backgrounds in journalism. If you want to become a press secretary that specializes in government issues, it might be productive to also take courses in political science.
Other social sciences, such as sociology or business, could also be beneficial depending on the desired area of interest, particularly if you hope to become a press secretary for public figures in the business or social scenes. In any case, courses and experience in public speaking and debating can be crucial since a press secretary’s function is to be the public image of his or her constituent. Since the press secretary’s job is to shape the public image of a person or organization, he or she must know how to speak to the public, be up-to-date on current events, and be able to manage a crisis situation at a moment’s notice.
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