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An Unconventional Career Path to PR, with a Public Affairs Twist

June 26, 2013, 8:00pm posted by  |  2 comments

Posted in: Issues Management, CK Authors, Matthew Panichas, Public Affairs,

An Unconventional Career Path to PR, with a Public Affairs Twist

My path to a career in public relations was unconventional compared to most. A political science major, I spent a considerable amount of time working on political campaigns, interning for a U.S. senator and consuming endless amounts of news.

Upon graduation from college, I knew I wanted to attend a graduate school that would help me harness my passion for politics and media, and secure a job combining these often related areas. Luckily for me, D.C. beckoned and I enrolled at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. Public relations, until that point, had never entered my mind.

While in D.C., I interned at NBC’s “Meet the Press,” while Tim Russert still moderated the program.  There I observed firsthand the intersection of politics and media, including how the most important issues were covered and reported to the audience. This helped me understand the manner in which news information was gathered, framed and presented to viewers – an invaluable skill as I began the transition from graduate student to PR professional.

Now, I find myself at a wonderful generalist PR agency, CooperKatz & Company, where I have been working with an array of clients on both public affairs and public relations campaigns.

For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of working with of one of our clients – The Physicians Foundation – on how to approach key health policy issues from a communications perspective, particularly those affecting physicians and their patients. One of the Foundation’s main concerns regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, now commonly referred to as “ObamaCare”) was the lack of input from practicing physicians in the United States relative to shaping the Act. The CooperKatz team, in collaboration with the Foundation, created a comprehensive public relations and public affairs program to develop relationships with health policy reporters and bring to the forefront the most pressing issues facing physicians and patients. Today, the Foundation is called upon by leading journalists and influencers to share insights on how to address the top challenges confronting America’s practicing physicians and patients.

This is just one of many client examples demonstrating the type of public affairs programs that CooperKatz plans and executes. CooperKatz helps organizations proactively address and reactively respond to complex business and public policy issues with integrated communications approaches. Given our generalist orientation, we are able to take a holistic view of major issues that spread across an array of industry sectors (including healthcare, finance, education, non-profit, corporate and more).

Now, more than ever, the need for public affairs counsel and support is critical. Given the complex legal and ethical issues that consume public interest – and with increasingly contentious cycles of budget negotiations, looming congressional elections and ongoing changes within our political system – it is critical for clients to deftly address these issues to ensure the viability of their reputations and overall business success

We invite you to learn more about our approach to public affairs and to explore some of the case studies that we’ve highlighted. 



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Thought Bubble is a space for members of the CooperKatz team to share whatever comes to mind - from news about our company and clients, to insights on the constant evolution of the marketing communications landscape.

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