Always with a smile on her face, professional and passionate about every project she is involved in. With a degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Communication and Public Relations earned at Babes-Bolyai University, she started her true career in journalism in June 2007 at the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company / Radio Romania and continued at Radio Impulse Cluj-Napoca as news editor and presenter.
After working for more than 3 years as editor in chief, producer and radio host at Radio Napoca FM, Corina Brandusan switched her career path and entered the PR world, at Fapte. BR met with her and discussed about her career, challenges, opportunities and expectations for 2018.
By Romanita Oprea
What made you decide to choose journalism?
I love stories. As a child and teenager I used to write fairytales and I read a lot. No matter the domain: arts, science, fiction, biography. But I wasn’t convinced what I wanted to do next, after high school. In the 11th grade I had to prepare for my English exam and my teacher asked me to write about what I want to do in life, about my career. Then I realized I am not really sure what I want to do. She advised me to write something, no matter if it is real or not. Then I started to look for answers and to think about my future, my career, my life. And at that time, I read a book about reporting news and I said to myself “Can I do this? Find stories, write about them and spread the news?”
What do you believe that are your main attributes for it?
It helped me my curiosity to know people, events and everything that happens around me. I think it is vital to be an honest person and to write with passion, not just because “you have to”. And also to be a good listener. As a journalist, I think you have to be eager to know more and more, to be curious and to believe in what you do, in the power of correct information.
What do you consider to be the best decisions you took in your career so far?
I think there are two: One –I took a break when I felt I was on my limit with the job I had. I decided to stop what I was doing and spent 8 months in Spain travelling, working and learning how to adapt to another culture. It was a great experience from all points of view. It also helped me see my life in a different way and gave me time to think about what I really want. Two – I took the chance to try a different domain, making the leap from journalism to PR.
Do you have any regrets?
I’m a very positive person, so I try to learn from mistakes and focus on the future. My only regret is that I wasn’t very confident on my own strengths as a child and teenager. I discovered the “real me” later and it still continues to surprise me. In a good way.
How would you characterize the media landscape in Cluj at this moment?
What are its main challenges, but also its best parts?
Challenges: being impartial politically, finding and keeping good journalist and creating a picture of trust, when we talk about media. People tend to generalize. If one publication distorts the reality or even lies in its articles (because we do have this kind of press), this image of “bad press” affects the good journalists too and for them it is not fair. And the public loses the trust in press, due to this.
Good parts: a lot of talented persons who want to be journalists. I’ve met a lot of them in the past years and I see their passion and interest.
You became a specialist in radio. Do you believe that the radio chose you or you chose it?
I definitely chose radio. But it wasn’t love at first sight. I had to work a lot with my voice, with my temper and with my shyness. I had a very prominent accent, I had respiration and inflection problems, I was a mess in terms of voice and public speaking. After one year of hard, hard work I was almost prepared for the mic. I learnt every day and I remember recording my voice, listening it and trying over and over again for hours. Daily.
What makes it such a fascinating media, in your opinion?
It has something mysterious there. You hear a voice and you have no idea how that person could look like. The mic knows when you are nervous, when you are sad or when you crack up. You have only your voice to make yourself understood. You have the impression you are alone and you speak for yourself, but thousands of people might hear you. The information comes promptly and easily.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a journalist today?
To begin as soon as he or she can. Volunteer or hired. To write, write and write. And read a lot of news, articles, books. Try to understand the media context today, with its good and bad parts, find trustful publication, radio or TV station and never give up principles, honesty and common sense.
How was taking the step from journalism to PR? Did you have moments when you were scared?
I felt I needed a change after 10 years of media. I was not very sure what I want to do, but I began to test public relations. I was a volunteer then as I am now in JCI Cluj, and I began to do PR for the organization. I liked it a lot. The decision to focus on PR was made when I saw the announcement for a PR job at Fapte. I knew I loved the projects Fapte had and I hoped I will be called for an interview. A few hours later, I was there, in front of them. A few days later, I was in the team. It wasn’t easy from the start, I was a little bit scared because the amount of work was big and the projects were national and extremely ambitious. I had to learn to focus on strategy, planning and developing projects not just on “breaking news”.
What are the projects that made you the proudest since becoming a PR specialist?
I only work for projects I love, understand and resonate with. Life is too short to focus on something I don’t absolutely love. Cultural projects are the ones I am more attached to and proud of: Jazz in the Park, Jazz in the Street, Zilele Nordului (Days of the North), Classic Unlimited. It is not easy to promote culture, to produce cultural events and to organize everything so that people will have fun and also reach culture in the streets, in parks or other public places. We have a lot of challenges. We gather people in public or less utilized places and we find new ways to use them and to bring culture in front of the public. It is a great satisfaction to see how people react, how they discover art, culture, quality music and that’s a great feeling to be part of those great events.
How do you believe that being a journalist prior to becoming a PR specialist helped you in your daily job?
I still think as a journalist. And that helps me a lot in my work. I look for stories and news everywhere.
What are you hoping for, professionally, for 2018?
Right now we prepare for a brand new project, Classic Unlimited, that brings this autumn classical music in unconventional places. It will be a national piano tour. I love the idea and the concept, therefore my hope is that people will understand it, like it and contribute so that we can reach as many unconventional places as possible. For the next year we want to arrive in Iasi, with a photography festival, we want to expand in Cluj Jazz in the Park festival and add in more days. At the same time, of course we are already preparing for greater experiences and concerts. So, if culture is one of your interests, we, Fapte team, have a lot to say in 2018.
What is your main professional goal that you haven’t achieved yet?
Get international, promote our events for foreigners, in order to convince them to visit Romania for a cultural city break. We started doing it this year for Jazz in the Park festival and I think we are on the right track.