Shifting Perspectives: Dennis Harun Wong, Corporate Communications Manager at SEDC Energy

Shifting Perspectives: Dennis Harun Wong, Corporate Communications Manager at SEDC Energy

Shifting Perspectives is an interview series exploring the stories of journalists who have made the move to a career in communications. This week, Telum spoke with Dennis Harun Wong, a communications professional at a renewable energy company in Malaysia.

The breakdown:
  • Who: Dennis Harun Wong
  • Previous journalism role: Journalist at New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak Bureau for 10 years before joining The Rakyat Post
  • Current role: Corporate Communications Manager, SEDC Energy
Tell us about your role in communications.
My current role involves building the company’s reputation at an exciting time for SEDC Energy. New energy businesses are growing rapidly in the region, especially with the expansion of the global hydrogen economy. SEDC Energy is also responsible for driving this new energy ecosystem within the state of Sarawak.

What inspired your career change?
It happened by accident, when I was approached by a PR agency to help with their project. At that time, it was a rather significant career jump for me, coming from my background in the media. Initially, I doubted myself as all the years of experience I had built had been based on my work as a journalist.

Despite this, I approached this move as a new career challenge which eventually opened up an entirely new opportunity for me to explore this industry. In the world of journalism, today is today, tomorrow is another day, and each day ends when your story is filed. But in public relations, we are dealing with an entirely different aspect of communications, from exploration to strategy, planning and execution.

What differences have you observed between the two industries?
Journalism focuses more on things as they unfold. These current events occupy your time and efforts.

In communications, there are a bunch of other nitty-gritty details that we have to spend time assessing before our messaging can be finalised. We have to understand the sensitivities involved in a message, how it could impact the masses and where we want to go next with our campaigns.

How has your view of the PR industry changed since leaving journalism?
Journalists from my time would think that PR is just a bunch of smiling faces, but now I see far beyond that initial assumption to the strategies involved as well as how PR practitioners package their messaging.

Journalists put a lot of thought into their work, while communications practitioners put a lot of thought into crafting an interesting story angle for journalists to explore.

There’s just so much to explore in the world of communications, be it journalism or public relations.

Now that you’re on the other side, what advice do you have for journalists?
Stay humble and approachable. Stay hungry for information as it is a much-needed skill in the communications world. It is important to work with others to achieve your assignment's objective.

Put away any nasty attitudes you may harbour - you never know, you may jump to the other side one day.

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