I figured that it would be helpful to see an example of what PR practitioners do in their day-to-day lives. Media relations manager Heather Huhman provides her typical daily schedule at the American Occupational Therapy Association to demonstrate exactly what the job may entail:

  • 4:30 AM Wake up; get ready for the gym
  • 5:30 AM Arrive at the gym and begin workout
  • 6:30 AM Head home to shower and get ready for work
  • 7:10 AM Catch the train; begin writing today’s Examiner.com article
  • 7:30 AM Arrive at work; continue writing today’s Examiner.com article
  • 8:00 AM Complete and post today’s Examiner.com article
  • 8:05 AM Read the news; media clipping
  • 9:00 AM Teleconference with The University of North Carolina PR rep re: autism and occupational therapy research press release
  • 9:20 AM Review peer-reviewed journal article for newsworthy talking points
  • 10:00 AM Begin writing press release
  • 11:30 AM Print off press release and proof for boss’ review
  • 11:47 AM Print off documents for boss’ review, including press release, trade press article and two fact sheets (I’ve been working from home the past two days—work has piled up!)
  • 11:49 AM Begin editing and updating last year’s Occupational Therapy Month materials, including Ten Things You Can Do to Celebrate OT Month, OT Month Sample Press Release, Public Service Commercial Radio Announcements, Public Service Public Radio/TV Announcements, Tips on Reaching the Media and Tips on Talking to the Public
  • 1:30 PM Stomach is growling—heading to the kitchen to heat up lunch
  • 1:50 PM Ok, back to work on OT Month materials
  • 2:00 PM It’s the budgeting time of year for us, so I jump on a teleconference with a potential vendor
  • 2:26 PM Again, back to work on OT Month materials
  • 2:45 PM Call from a member’s PR rep wanting more information about OT Month
  • 3:00 PM Turned in first round of OT Month materials to my boss for review; scheduled a meeting with the policy team for tomorrow to discuss autism and OT legislative issues for a one-pager
  • 3:15 PM Prepping for a meeting with my boss
  • 3:30 PM Meeting with my boss
  • 4:00 PM Returned a member call re: information to include in a press release
  • 4:36 PM “Finalized” press release for researcher review based on my boss’ feedback
  • 4:41 PM Interview with a staff expert to respond to a media inquiry
  • 5:01 PM E-mailed a response to the reporter; heading out to work from home
  • 5:36 PM Arrived home; checking e-mail and sending responses
  • 6:30 PM Time to call it quits for the day!

Clearly, Huhman keeps extremely busy. The job is not for the lazy, and requires a ton of drive and effort to succeed. At the same time, for those who strive on deadlines and pressure, it is an ideal career choice.