Having spent the past 10 days in California, I’ve learned something important: The weather has a distinct advantage over New York. Almost comically, whenever our students asked a professional their thoughts on the differences between working in Los Angeles and New York, the first response from every one of them was, “The weather!” It was a point on which we all could easily agree.
Seventeen Lawrence Herbert School of Communication students headed to the West Coast with me and other colleagues January 3rd to participate in the “Hofstra in L.A.” program for 10 days of networking, mentoring and learning about careers in the entertainment industry. They met with more than two dozen Hofstra alumni and other professionals working in production or promotion, visiting sites including Warner Brothers, ABC, NBC, Deutsch, Dick Clark Productions, Magical Elves, Westwood One, ICM, and PMK+BNC. Several alums came by to meet with the students at our California “home” at the Oakwood Apartments in Toluca Hills.
Clearly, the weather was just one of many reasons to work in L.A. While there are many communication jobs in New York City, they tend to skew toward news and information. The heavier action in the entertainment business–especially on the production and creative side–is on the West Coast. That said, while publicists and other public relations people are certainly part of the L.A. entertainment landscape, the professionals we met acknowledged that as an industry, PR is far stronger in New York.
One interesting note repeated throughout the visit was how public relations functions are heavily integrated into all media projects. It was noted that each new movie, TV show and other media products are essentially new businesses, with different people hired for every production. PR becomes an essential function of these projects, often handled through L.A.-based agencies or in-house publicity departments.
My takeaway: If you’re looking to work in the entertainment industry under warm temperatures and blue skies, there are many PR jobs in L.A. For greater career options in consumer, nonprofit, arts, health, services, and much more, New York City is still the PR place to be. Your thoughts?