By ELPIN KESHISHADEH
There are many components that feed into proactive public relations and in a panel discussing these concepts, Barbara Reichert described how her transition from working in journalism to working public relations helped her in her current position as the director of communications with U.S. Figure Skating.
The underlying message behind a successful career in both journalism and media relations comes down to a successful transition. Reichert explained that it’s important to maintain a positive mindset in transitioning with technological and social advances.
In her transition from journalism to media relations, Reichert highlighted a few public relations goals she noted has resulted in her success thus far. She said in order to produce new and positive outcomes for U.S. Figure Skating, she suggested doing public relations a bit differently.
Her goals for the team when she began her career were to increase the athleticism of the sport, to paint the image of “real people,” to engage alumni and to instill a local image.
Since the reputation of figure skating has for so long been about the glitz and glam, Reichert stressed the importance of painting a different picture: real athletes doing athletic things.
For example, instead of being pictured in hair, makeup and glittery clothes, Reichert began showing these athletes at the gym lifting weights. She began portraying them for what they were: strong.
Where these athletes have been used to being micromanaged by agents and publicists, Reichert suggested a different approach. By sitting back and letting these athletes be themselves, they become real people. People fans can relate to.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect and accidents happen. In these instances, Reichert explains it’s crucial for public relations professional to remain calm, be honest and transparent, stay positive, right the wrongs and not make excuses.