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Lessons from TV’s Favorite PR Practitioners

Published on April 27, 2021, at 9:04 p.m.
by Mikaela Weis.

While it is rare to find a PR professional in TV programming that accurately portrays the job, we can still learn from our favorite fictional practitioners.

From Olivia Pope in “Scandal” to Serena van der Woodsen in “Gossip Girl,” here are the best takeaways from our on-screen PR pros.

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Deliver Masterful Media Training
Olivia Pope of “Scandal” is a master of crisis communication. She and her firm, Pope & Associates, focus on managing political crises in D.C. One thing she stresses to her clients is the importance of being able to face the media. She prepares all of her clients on how to answer questions and stay on topic. If you are someone who regularly has to communicate with the media, media training can be incredibly helpful. Knowing how to keep your answers short and to the point and being an overall effective communicator can help these interactions go smoothly.

Be Creative
While Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation” might not be the first person that comes to mind when thinking of public relations, she is adept at coming up with creative ways to fix her problems. Sometimes you have to think outside the box when it comes to solving problems, drafting new campaigns or rebranding. While Knope’s solutions may sometimes be a little outlandish, she never shies away from finding new ways to help out her community.

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Stay True to Yourself
Serena van der Woodsen from “Gossip Girl” had a short run as a publicist, but she made sure to stay true to herself the whole time. While her boss tried to get her to lie to the clients to get a better story from the media, van der Woodsen was more committed to trusting her instincts. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made when you work in PR, and they aren’t always easy choices. When making these hard decisions, staying true to yourself and trusting your gut are always the best options.

While TV shows don’t always give the best PR lessons, there are some that can show good practices. When watching your favorite shows, dig a little deeper and see what you can learn from them.

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