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Media Relations Specialist Job Description, Career as a Media Relations Specialist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Bachelor’s degree

Average Salary $43,000 per year

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

A media relations specialist works for a business or individual to keep their public image positive and keep the public, as well as the media, aware of what is going on within the company. The specialist will often create press releases and conferences, organize meetings with clients, help create films or videos for advertising campaigns, or organize events the business plans to put on for the public.

Some media relations specialists also work for individuals, such as celebrities or political figures. It is the specialists responsibility to keep the press up to date on their career moves such as whether or not a political figure is running for office, if a sports figure is planning to retire or play for a new team, or if a celebrity will retire or has big plans that will affect their career. Specialists also have to keep a positive image maintained for the individual in the event of a scandal that may permanently tarnish their image or ruin their career. It is the job of a specialist at all times to make sure the media has the proper facts and any necessary information needed for news stories or upcoming events.

Education and Training Requirements

Most media relations specialists have a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, marketing or public relations. Other courses that are beneficial for the field include psychology, business administration, or public speaking.

Most college degrees that involve media require internship or apprenticeship programs to be completed before a degree can be obtained. Many media specialists work as interns for a newspaper doing reporting and editorial columns in order to gain experience in the media world.

Some media relations specialists gain experience by starting off working for a news station or writing for a newspaper or magazine. This gives them experience and knowledge on how the media gathers information and what information needs to be obtained from a media relations specialist.

Getting The Job

In order to become a successful media relations specialist, the candidate will need some sort of experience working in the media. The candidate will need excellent written and oral communication skills, as their job is to communicate with the media and public about plans or events for a business or individual. The specialist also needs to be confident and enthusiastic about what they’re doing in order to provide the right information and clearly express thoughts of a business or individual.

A specialist must understand both sides of the media world. They need to understand what information the media is looking for, but they also need to understand how to give out the right information without giving a bad reputation to the client. It is important for the specialist to communicate with the client and fully understand exactly what information they need to put out there.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Promotion in a media career always comes with experience. Most media relations specialists begin working as interns, and gradually work their way up to work for bigger departments or move on to a career with a bigger company or public figure. Some companies also experience growth through the effectiveness of media relations specialists, so a specialist who has a record of maintaining a company’s positive image and helping them to gain new clients or opportunities will have plenty of room to move up.

Many media relations specialists will gain experience and eventually open up their own public relations firm. Specialists who do this will often be hired by several companies at a time to handle their media relations. The public relations firm owner will usually hire college students or interns to help create press releases, organize events, help conduct meetings and organize press conferences for different clients. In order to maintain a public relations business, each employee must show excellent customer service skills and keep up to date on their education about new media technologies and advancements within companies.

Working Conditions and Environment

Media relations specialists typically work in a comfortable office environment. There are times when the jobs at hand can become overwhelming or extremely high pressure, so specialists must be able to continue working and providing quality information despite the high stress levels that may come around.

Most specialists work 35 to 40 hours per week in the office. Occasionally, a specialist will have to attend meetings with clients and host press conferences, so unpaid overtime and last minute hours to be worked is common in this field. A good specialist will truly enjoy their work and will not mind having to create a last minute press release or quickly organize a last minute conference.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a media relations specialist varies according to location and clients. A specialist who works for one company may start off making approximately $43,000 per year with room for advancement. A specialist who works for a public relations firm may start off making about $60,000 per year. Media relations specialists who work for celebrities or public figures sometimes make $80,000 per year and up. The bigger the celebrity or public figure, the bigger the potential salary for someone working as their specialist or publicist.

Most companies will provide excellent benefits packages for media specialists, as they are commonly working late hours or extra overtime despite receiving a salary. Most companies provide full health insurance, a 401K plan, and vacation and sick leave days. A media relations specialist should love what they do and enjoy helping out companies, so working extra for the bonuses they can potentially receive is rarely an issue.

Where to Go for More Information

International Association of Business Communicators
One Hallidie Plaza, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 544-4700

National School Public Relations Association
15948 Derwood Road
Rockville, MD 20855
(301) 519-0496

Public Relations Society of America
33 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
(212) 460-1400

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts