How do I Become a Press Officer?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2017
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There are a number of ways to become a press officer. Press officers are media experts who assist organizations with their presentation to the media. They are usually quick-thinking, good at damage control, and adept at balancing multiple tasks at once. While starting salaries tend to be low, eventually work in this area can result in high annual pay, especially for people who work for major corporations or in key government positions. People who are interested in this type of work should be aware that the hours can be long and irregular.

The press officer may act as a media adviser, helping a company decide how it wants to present itself and guiding people through the dance of public relations. Press officers can also act as official press liaisons, especially for smaller companies. Someone who wants to become a press officer needs to be prepared for the possibility of travel, working with a range of people to organize events, and handling press conferences, including teleconferences, in addition to managing requests for interviews and other matters which may come up in relation to the media.

One way to become a press officer is to have a background in journalism. Some very successful press officers started out as journalists, and later transitioned into work as advisers. Journalists know about the sort of questions asked by the media, the tactics used to get stories, and the pitfalls of interacting with the media, and they can turn these skills to good use when it comes to controlling a company's image in the press. A press officer who used to be a journalist also has connections which can be useful on the job.

Another way to become a press officer is to start out in public relations. People may go to school to learn public relations, or work their way up in a public relations office until they can take on a position as a press officer. This approach familiarizes people with the workings of public relations from the perspective of the people trying to manage PR presentation. With time and experience, people can work their way into senior positions and play a role in shaping public relations policy for the companies they work for.

It is also possible to become a press officer through training in administration and working as a press secretary, eventually acquiring the skills to work as a press officer. Support staff, especially for large organizations, are numerous, and people with strong administrative skills are always useful. As people work in press offices providing assistance and support, they can gain experience in how such offices work, and take on more complex and independent jobs, ultimately graduating to positions as press officers.

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