This week for my Interview Series, we have Edward M. Bury, a strategic public relations and integrated marketing communications consultant based in Chicago. With extensive experience in the marketing, PR and journalism sector, Edward had a lot to share, especially about his career path, his stint as a journalist and why blogging is important for business.
Upon graduation at Illinois State University with a degree in English, my goal was to land a position in journalism. It’s all I ever wanted to do. Fortunately, I received a referral from my Scoutmaster to an advertising executive at the Chicago Tribune. He referred me to an editor at the City News Bureau. I secured an interview and was offered a job starting at $100 per week. This was January of 1977. I was thrilled.
2. What was your experience like working in editorial positions at the City News Bureau of Chicago and Pioneer Press?
My years at City News really shaped me as a professional communicator. CNB was a 24-hour local wire service that served daily newspapers, television and radio stations. We did the grunt work: Police and fire stories, criminal court cases and other hard news. It was the best job I ever had. I covered real crime and politics — a big change from the soft features I wrote for the ISU daily paper. Spent 12 months on the overnight shift.
It also compelled me to learn to write fast and effectively. I covered some big stories, including the arrest and pre-trial proceedings of convicted mass murderer John Wayne Gacy. At Pioneer Press, a community newspaper group, I got a byline and the opportunity to cover news and features in some west Chicago suburbs. The pace was much more relaxed, and I knew I’d never be bumped to overnights.
3. How do you think your experience as a journalist has helped shaped your PR career?
As noted, working in the news business really sharpened by writing and editing skills. I also learned the value of accuracy and storytelling, and how the other side of the communications industry — the public relations side — worked.
4. With platforms like Twitter and blogs becoming increasingly important for news consumption, what are your thoughts on the media landscape today? Where do you think we’re headed in terms of the dynamic of journalism and PR?
Well, the obvious result from the explosion of online communications is that anyone with a computer and broadband access can theoretically reach anyone else with the same resources. Traditional media has had to embrace social media, and I think that’s a smart thing to do. Why not encourage and embrace dialogue in real time? I wonder if we’ve run out of platforms and new ways to share information, images and videos online. What’s going to follow Pinterest?
As for the second question, I think journalists and public relations professionals will always have a working relationship where one feeds off the other. Story pitches have to get much more refined because the media landscape has shifted to “narrowcasting” more than broadcasting.
5. What made you want to start up your own blog – PR Dude? Love the name by the way!
I launched the PRDude blog after my position with a national real estate association here was eliminated due to declining revenues. My goals were:
- Enter the blogging community to enhance my digital footprint
- Chronicle my search for new full-time employment and encourage others in the same predicament
- Have a forum to share ideas and encourage dialogue on public relations.
I selected the “Dude” moniker because “Guy” was already taken. Plus, it makes me sound a generation younger than I really am!
6. In what ways do you think organisations should leverage blogging for communications purposes?
First, I think every organization should immediately augment static, unchanging web content with blogs and new content. Second, virtually any organization should launch a blog for several reasons: Helps build awareness for new programs, products, positions and developments; creates a repository of positive online content that could help mitigate negative perceptions during a crisis; encourages dialogue with key stakeholders; engages team members to have a role in communications.
7. Having been in the industry for so long, I’m sure you’ve worked on quite a number of exciting things. Is there a particular campaign or project that stands out to you?
When I was in the agency business, we represented a fashion design school; there was a McDonald’s franchise next to the school. I came up with an idea to have a “fashion show” of garments made with McDonald’s paper and plastic items. The show received tremendous TV, print and wire service coverage (this was in the mid 1980s). The resulting media exposure brought greater awareness to the school and led to an increase in enrollment.
8. And lastly, in an era of tweets, 24/7 news cycle, status updates and bite-sized blog posts, how do you stay up to date with the latest industry trends while avoiding information overload?
I subscribe to a daily newsletter from Mashable.
***To get in touch with Edward, you can check out his website at http://edwardmbury.wordpress.com/***