Stampa’s Heleen de Graaf in Intermediair: “Success in PR is putting your client in the spotlight”

Newspapers and magazines are struggling, so it’s getting harder for journalists to find work. Many are moving into public relations. Is that a logical career switch or is it a shift to ‘the dark side’?

That’s the question posed by HR magazine Intermediair in this article ‘Van pers naar persvoorlichter’, which features communications experts including Stampa director Heleen de Graaf.

“It’s quite a natural move,” says Heleen, who joined Stampa in 2011 after a journalism career that included heading the Amsterdam bureau at Dow Jones and 10 years as economics correspondent at NRC Handelsblad. “You know the media, know how journalists work and what they need, and how to prepare a client for interviews.”

In the article, Heleen offers these tips for journalists considering a switch to PR:


“Keep thinking partly as a journalist. That way you’re of great value to your client and you can effectively assess if something is a story for a specific journalist or medium. But you do have to be aware of the internal reasons why a client might want to publish something, and be diplomatic yet robust in your advice.”


“Don’t underestimate how client-focused you need to be. It’s not sufficient just to reject a client’s wishes or suggestions for journalistic reasons; your job is to come up with something that will work. Also be aware that you’ll be operating ‘behind the scenes’. Success in PR is putting your client in the spotlight, not yourself.”

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