Last Thursday I attended the event organised by one of my favourite PR agencies — Golin, and a fantastic group that gets together PR pros and journalists operating in the tech environment — TechJPR. The event mainly tackled diversity and accessibility to this part of the industry. Is tech PR and journalism accessible to everyone, from every background?
68% of pros said that diversity is improving, but more needs to be done
The survey commissioned by Golin found that 63% of respondents believe social mobility is not a reality in their industry. On the top of that, more than two thirds (68%) said unspoken biases affect hiring decisions. Noteworthy, the same number (68%) said diversity is improving, but more needs to be done.
Managing director of Golin, Bibi Hilton said: “All communications businesses (…) must encourage people from all backgrounds into their businesses.”
“These numbers are really disappointing and social mobility is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed,” comments founder and chairman of ResponseSource Daryl Willcox.
Is tech PR and journalism accessible to all?
During the panel that discussed the survey results, we could hear from Golin’s managing director Bibi Hilton, David Johnston — chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, Nate Lanxon — Head of European Technology News at Bloomberg, and Top Gear presenter and TechJPR member Rory Reid. Panel was chaired by Daryl Willcox — ResponseSource founder.
Bibi Hilton emphasised on how Golin addresses diversity, how important diverse backgrounds of their staff are for their business, creativity, and the industry as a whole. She also mentioned Golin’s newly announced B&B programme that gives opportunity to young talent outside London, offering reduced costs of living in the Capital, during the internship at the Holborn-headquartered agency.
— Marcel Klebba (@marcelkl) January 26, 2017
David Johnston highlighted that there should be a stronger legislation that would ban free internships.
Nate Lanxon admitted that employers still place value on havig the degree. He stressed, however, that this shouldn’t be the most important factor. He himself didn’t go to university, but he was ambitious, passionate, and determined to succeed.
Top Gear presenter Rory Reid expressed his feeling towards his degree. He said that it was “useless” for him. Rory really wanted to review computer games, and he has done it in the beginning of his career. Then he moved on to become tech reviewer. His next ambition was getting into automotive journalism. He was eager to do that and he ultimately, after facing rejection and not giving up, got into Top Gear. Rory’s story was truly inspiring and showed that with drive and diligence, everything is possible.
How to get into the tech PR industry
Rory Reid has also emphasised hugely the importance of free labour. He said that he doesn’t agree with free internships and exploitation of interns. He said, however, that working for free for yourself — creating content, blogging, etc — can be a great way to succeed in every industry.
“Work for free if it’s for yourself” (i.e. blogging) a theme at #techcareers
— Chris Lee (@CMRLee) January 26, 2017
Industry is accessible to everyone, but…
For someone who is a non-native English speaker, trying to get into the industry of wordsmiths, the survey results are not very promising. Despite those, I’m not discouraged at all. Rory’s story of his tough journey to become a TV presenter, doing things for free and believing in himself, only gave me more motivation. Industry might not be diverse, and can be incredibly competitive, but I believe that it is accessible to all. As long as they demonstrate passion, hunger, and tenacity.
If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or see my LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!