Journalist Serkan Ozturk launches affordable agency PR For The People

By Briana Healey in Marcoms News on
Entrepreneurial journalist Serkan Ozturk has struck out independently within the public relations sector this month, styling himself as a ‘Robin Hood’ at the helm of his own ethical communications agency, PR For The People.
 
PR For The People positions itself at the lower end of the market, offering low-cost options to individuals, artists, start-ups, small businesses and independent projects, who cannot afford the fees charged by larger consultancies.
 
Clients can enjoy a full roster of services including media relations, press releases, features writing, social media management, photography and videography, as well as conflict mediation, LGBTI representation and cross-cultural communications.
 
Ozturk has launched the agency in response to what he views as the turning tide of journalism, after five years of working as a senior writer and editor at a host of publications including  Australian Doctor, the Star Observer, the Sydney Morning Herald and Crikey.
 
“I particularly want to provide low-cost solutions to people who may have never thought about professional PR services before,” Ozturk told Influencing.
 
“Rather than ordinary people and groups trying to get one or two journalists to listen to their story and not getting anywhere, I want them to come to me, and I will help them craft their story and target it to the people who matter and are most likely to listen,” he said.
 
On top of his writing career, Ozturk is also well known for a clash with 2GB shock jock Chris Smith, which occurred whilst working at Media Monitors alongside former colleague Brett Balinski in 2008.
 
The pair sent Smith a series of lurid and false emails that Smith repeated on-air to listeners,  without fact-checking its contents or the identity of senders.
 
The mischief, or ‘threats’ as Smith characterised them, resulted in police intervention and the termination of employment at Media Monitors.
 
“It was definitely a high-pressured, high-stakes situation! I knew at the time if I could deal with that kind of stress in the media that it would hold me in good stead in the long term,” Serkan reflected.
 
Initially, the conversy prevented Ozturk from “gaining any meaningful employment for about 12 months”. However, he said that changed when Smith later received negative coverage over workplace issues at 2GB, and it’s an experience that he believes that he is the better for having been through.
 
“I knew that I had the abilities to turn what many would perceive to be a negative experience into something that I have essentially built my career on.”
 
Ozturk said the recent exodus of 120 staff writers at Fairfax Media was another nail in the coffin for anyone holding dreams of having a fulfilling writing career in Australia, and was a key factor behind his diversified offering.
 
“A realisation came to me six months ago that it was going to become increasingly difficult to continue a career as a journalist, even in the short term,” he said.
 
“As the population of working journalists shrink, so does the pressure increase on the remaining few to not rock the boat politically or to do too many investigations. With so few advertisers left, everyone is looking over their shoulder and most are highly stressed and it’s simply not a great place as an industry at the moment,” he added.
 
Ozturk said some publishers and owners of major media titles are doing their best to change journalism from a craft into something more akin to glorified marketing.
 
“Journalists don’t have the resources as they are not being provided with them. It’s also for that reason a lot of good journalistic work is being produced by freelancers these days but ironically those freelancers almost always never earn a fair rate,” he said.
 
“And with less journalists being employed by major media companies, those same companies will now be relying on freelance labour and more and more, and also ‘help’ from PR outfits. I really feel that with digital technological capabilities expanding and literacy rates rising that in the near future everyone will essentially be a journalist. My newly formed consultancy is the first step in the direction of what is coming.”
 
PR For The People secured its foundation client this month, a health researcher seeking to commence private practice. Amongst other things, Ozturk has been charged with building their profile amongst the wider community and advocating on their behalf for the Safe Schools anti-bullying program.
 
“It has been a dream first job as it aligns with the values I would like the consultancy to pursue. We don’t just talk about diversity, we advocate and fight for it. In coming weeks, we will be helping line up speaking engagements and media appearances for our client with a goal of getting our client a regular “talking head” role on radio or television,” he said.
 
“I won’t be looking for shiny people or products to make more shiny. I want real people and ideas and a degree of authenticity. If you’re looking for something different or to get your issues out to a diverse and switched on audience, do get in touch.”
 
To contact Serkan, drop a line to hello@prforpeoples.com, call 0415 360 311 or head to http://prforpeoples.com.

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