Thirty years later, and she’s still not lost for words!

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I was a teenager when I landed my first job as a trainee journalist. Fresh out of college at 19, I wanted to chase the news, write stories that people rushed to read and see my name in print.

I loved the buzz of a busy newsroom, quirky characters filled my life and I progressed as a writer. On my first day, the editor scolded me for turning up EARLY to work. I gulped back tears.

“You failed to obey my first command,” she bellowed. “You’re 25 minutes early. Goodness knows what kind of a reporter you’re going to make.”

In the years that followed, I became her loyal apprentice, racing out to buy her fags and food and ferrying her across town in my battered VW Beetle. In return, she taught me everything she knew, and I flourished. We got close but she never apologised for telling me off and a few years back, I bid farewell to her at her funeral.

Fast forward 30 years and I am still bashing out words but now I’m swirling in the world of PR. I am here because there’s greater scope to develop new skills and PR has more of a commercial focus, which interests me. Working with businesses and helping them succeed has become as thrilling as landing a frontpage story in the newspaper and I never realised just how much I would enjoy it.

PR can be used to enhance, build or protect reputations and now it is my job to generate positive publicity for clients at Nielsen McAllister.

Since my move from magazines and newspapers and into PR, people ask me what is PR? I tell them it is one of the most effective ways to build on marketing strategies and create a solid reputation for businesses.

Public relations IS about sending out the right messages, to the right people at the right time. For me, it has given me renewed energy, focus and greater meaning to my writing.

It also means I still get to do what I do best.

Today, I might not be fighting to be heard in a busy ‘battlefield’ newsroom, swarming with editors, writers, photographers and subs, but after a wonderful career in newspapers, I’ve come to realise that I actually like being in a PR office just as much!”

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