In this edition of “5 Questions,” we’re joined by the newest member of the Bellmont Partners team, Briana Gruenewald. Briana came to us from ThreeSixty Journalism, where she worked with young communicators interested in writing, editing, marketing and more. A St. Paul resident, Briana spends her free time staying active and eating lots of ice cream, so it’s safe to say she fits right in around here.
1. First of all, how did you get your start in the communications industry?
I majored in journalism in college. I had no idea what I was getting myself into – I just knew I wasn’t interested in math or science. I liked writing, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I fell in love with all things communications largely because of the Communications and Journalism Organization at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, an organization where I eventually became vice president. We focused on everything: broadcast, print, public relations, event communication. We brought in local communications professionals as speakers and toured local radio and TV stations, print newsrooms, and public relations and advertising agencies. I quickly learned the vast potential my journalism degree would hold.
Since then – even during my post-graduate year as an AmeriCorps literacy tutor – I’ve woven communications, journalism, cause marketing and promotions into my work.
2. You worked at ThreeSixty Journalism prior to Bellmont Partners. What are the biggest differences between working in journalism and working in public relations?
The skills are similar: researching, writing, asking the right questions. But the clearest difference is in public relations you are advocating for a client, a bit unlike the objectivity in journalism. Ensuring clients’ needs are met is crucial.
Really, the biggest switch from ThreeSixty to Bellmont is not working with teenagers. The ThreeSixty students defy so many teenage stereotypes, and I do miss interacting with them! I’m happy to still be involved with the organization as a volunteer.
3. In what ways does your journalism background help you in this business?
The running joke with journalists is that public relations is the “dark side” of communications, but I think it is completely logical to make the switch. Knowing how journalists operate is a huge asset to effective media relations and even presenting a client’s story in a complete, well-rounded way. It’s definitely not the dark side!
4. If you didn’t work in public relations, what would you be doing?
Teaching preschool. Four-year-olds are my favorite group of humans. They are curious, eager to learn, enthusiastic and hilarious.
5. We will continue counting tallies in our ongoing office debate: Minneapolis or St. Paul?
St. Paul. Hands down. I love the distinct neighborhoods and the fact that I am no more than 20 minutes from anywhere I ever want to go. Though, I have never actually lived in Minneapolis, so I am biased. But I’m fine with that.