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A media relations manager acts as a liaison between a company and the public. Typically, this individual fields global queries from various forms of media, including television, print, and the Internet. A person in this job typically oversees a team of other professionals within a company. He might serve internally at a company, or be part of an outside media relations firm that is hired by a corporation. One responsibility may include troubleshooting for bad public relations in the midst of negative company news by attempting to stay one step ahead of the media.
There are certain skill sets that make an effective media relations manager. For instance, strong communication and writing skills, in addition to the ability to work as part of a team and multitasking, are essential characteristics for the job. A media relations manager may be called on to produce multimedia content, which means a familiarity with Internet production will help. Key executives may depend on a media relations specialist to keep them informed about changes in technology, such as social networking, so that the company remains engaged in various forms of communication.
A company can come up against a host of issues that require the handling of a media professional. If it experiences negative publicity, such as a product recall or a bankruptcy, the media relations manager becomes responsible for fielding press inquiries. He is expected to offer truth if lies are circulating, and may attempt to divert attention away from a company in the midst of a crisis. In the event discussions are brewing for a merger or acquisition, the media relations professional must protect sensitive financial data and other information from being leaked into the press. If he has established a trusting relationship with a reporter, he may arrange interviews between the journalist and company executives.
Typically, a media relations manager reports to key executives in top management, including a vice president or chief executive officer. Together, they might develop a communications strategy so that the company is prepared in the event of a major public relations issue. Salaries for a media relations manager vary depending on the region where a company is located, but compensation can be extremely rewarding and may include full benefit packages as well as paid vacation time.
Some companies are less press-friendly than others, and may want to eliminate any such calls coming in to the reception desk. A small company might not be in a position to expand to include a media relations team. In these cases, an outside media relations firm might be hired to handle all inquiries. An outside media relations manager is not involved in the day-to-day operations of a company, but is normally granted access to company executives when necessary.
@Terrificli -- hopefully those reporters bring their journalistic ethics with them to those jobs. Some companies (certainly not all) will pressure their media relations employees to either conceal facts or lie outright.
That's not the job of a public relations type and agreeing to engage in that behavior will almost always end badly. The folks in the media are not dumb and they will learn the truth eventually. When that happens, the media relations person pressured to mislead the press and public will be thrown under the bus by his or her own company.
Keep in mind these folks used to be called public relations professionals. We're talking about the same job, though.
Quite often, you will find former journalists getting into media relations. That makes a lot of sense because they know how to write, how to communicate and know how to talk to reporters. Those skills are all crucial to the job.
Journalists who find themselves wanting to get into that profession may find it a bit difficult in some areas because those jobs tend to pay better than what media outlets do and there is a lot of competition for open positions. Still, landing one of those jobs can be a good promotion for a lot of reporters.
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