Public Relations Assistant
Publicists are the spin doctors that keep Hollywood in the headlines. Whether representing a new film, an A-list actor, or a start-up game studio, these opinion-makers are charged with stirring up attention and turning any press into good press.
The PR assistant is responsible for supporting the senior publicist and ensuring that the department or firm can function efficiently while best serving the client. To meet this responsibility, the assistant may be asked to perform typical clerical tasks, but will also conduct ongoing research to identify the client or brand’s coverage in all forms of media; this means every critic’s film review in a newspaper, every blog post, every YouTube parody video. PR assistants prepare press clips for internal distribution and, upon their supervisor’s approval, deliver copies of media mentions to clients. Additionally, she or he is charged with updating email lists for press releases and deploying e-blasts. The PR assistant updates media outlets on new product releases, schedule updates, and other important information on behalf of the client and firm or department. Specific job functions will vary by client and company.
Skills & Education
A college degree in communications, journalism, entertainment business, or related fields is required. Courses in advertising, marketing, public relations, and writing are also necessary in this career. Those hiring for junior-level positions will accept professional experience of at least one year, but internships—which are readily available at the larger public relations firms—give that extra boost to your résumé. Many companies have an internship or career development program for students and recent grads. A publicist must also be a great problem-solver, organized, and extremely savvy about both the entertainment and publication/media industries. Creativity, resourcefulness, and excellent communication skills are essential.
What to Expect
Public relations assistants can find employment in-house at entertainment companies like film studios, television networks, record labels, and game developers, or at a PR firm that is contracted to represent an industry client. Those with at least one year of PR experience in other industries can make the lateral move to entertainment-focused companies. This is an entry-level position, but requires some knowledge of the entertainment business. To be successful in this role, you must be capable of meeting deadlines in a fast-paced and unforgiving environment. PR is a cutthroat world where only the thick-skinned survive. You will be expected to perform proactively and be an independent and creative thinker who works to find innovative solutions and cooperates well in a team environment to achieve common goals.
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