Best-selling author, journalist and public relations specialist Morgan Murphy spoke to journalism students at the University of Alabama Jan. 24 and shared insight into his life and career and advice on how to land a dream job.
Murphy reminisced on his grandmother’s cooking. Murphy said his grandmother did not live up to the southern grandmother stereotype of being an excellent cook and burnt most of her dishes. He told the audience how storytelling is a powerful tool because it helps people relate to you faster and leaves a more prominent imprint on the mind.
Murphy then went into detail about his variety of jobs in communications. He began his career in publications as an intern for Vanity Fair. While he mostly made coffee and ran errands, Murphy said at the time this was his dream job. He said that he obtained this job by stepping out of his comfort zone and using his elevator pitch to win over an executive.
Murphy is best known for his career as a food critic for Southern Living magazine. In his time there, he has written two books: “Off the Eaten Path” and “Second Helpings.”
To research these books, Murphy traveled more than 15,000 miles to find the best restaurants in the South and unlock the secrets of their best recipes. He said one of the secrets to the books’ success was writing about more than just the food itself. The three things that Murphy looks for in a restaurant are the food, atmosphere and the service. Murphy said that these three things combined are what made these restaurants worthy of being highlighted. He also said that he never writes negative reviews, because he believes that they are a waste of space.
To those of you who are public relations majors, this may not seem relevant to your future because most of Murphy’s background is in journalism. However, the insight he gave into landing the ultimate job to jump-start a career is universal. One of the most profound words of advice was to be observant during the interview. He said attention to surroundings helps a job candidate stand out from the rest and move past the small talk.
After going to this presentation, I have a little less anxiety about the future ahead for me in the PR world. Murphy’s story proves that with the right amount of motivation and willingness to take risks, anyone can get that dream job.
--by Michelle Manning, PRSSA General Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.