A Pulitzer Prize Winner Has Quit Journalism for PR

He needed more money.

Rob Kuznia has reached a high point in the journalism profession, having won a Pulitzer Prize (along with Rebecca Kimitch) for covering corruption in the Torrance, CA school district in the Daily Breeze. But the profession has lost this talented reporter. Kuznia has left journalism to become a publicist. The reason for the career change is one heard often: money.

He currently works in the comms department at USC Shoah Foundation; Kuznia made the shift last year. According to LA Observed, “[H]e said it was too difficult to make ends meet on his newspaper salary while renting in the LA area.”

The work recognized is important for helping a poor school district get rid of a no-good superintendent. But as Salon says, Kuznia’s situation is “a not-so-nice reminder of just how wretched the business of metro journalism truly is.” Everybody’s gotta eat, but reporter salaries can sometimes make the basics difficult.

This is the first Pulitzer for the paper, which has a circulation of 63,000. It was founded in 1894.

As someone who has worked as a reporter, then a publicist, then back to reporting, I understand the transition Kuznia made. Now I’m settled into the editorial side of things. But during my brief time working in PR, I came across a number of former journalists, some looking for a change after a long career in reporting, others simply looking to take care of a family or upgrade their lifestyle, which many journalism salaries don’t allow for.

It shows just how intertwined the two professions are. But anyone who has done both can attest to just how different they are as well. Working with clients, for instance, was something I just couldn’t take. If you’ve made the shift — or haven’t and just have some advice for reporters considering it — please leave your thoughts in the comments. My two cents: Remember that as a publicist your work is both sharing information and selling a brand. That second part might take a little getting used to.

In the meantime, congrats to the Daily Breeze and both Kimitch and Kuznia. If Rob ever wants to come back to reporting, we’re guessing his resume will get him at least a couple of interviews at some top-notch, better paying outlets.