In his high school years Jim Murphy ’58 JOURN was attracted to the exciting world of sports reporting.
“I started in high school as a sports reporter in Belleville, Ill., covering high school sports,” Murphy said. He wrote for the local paper, gathering experience before college.
“It whet my appetite, and from that experience I decided I wanted to be a journalist,” Murphy said.
When Murphy received a scholarship to the University of Illinois he decided he would attend because it was an in-state school with a good reputation. At the University, Murphy immersed himself in schoolwork and wrote for the News-Gazette. He continued his passion in writing for athletics.
“It was a whole experience of learning how to write and learning how to write for journalistic style,” Murphy said about the College of Media. “I learned how to organize ideas and reason well; I learned how to discipline myself.”
However, once Murphy graduated he did not continue with a concentration in sports. Professor Sutton, a mentor for Murphy during his college years, assisted him in securing his first professional job in New York for the Buffalo Evening News.
Once Murphy got his start as a reporter, he only stayed in journalism for two years. After that he was drafted into the military where he served in Germany in the counter intelligence corps. When his time in the military was through, Murphy began a new line of work: public relations.
Murphy said his base in journalism helped him in the world of public relations.
“It doesn’t hurt to get some media experience before you go into public relations because media is a major portion of public relations. Public relations today in the business world is a lot different than it was when I was coming out of college,” Murphy said. He added that public relations is a major function in the business world and having knowledge of the industry and the accompanying issues is the key to success.
Murphy advocates that studying media helped him learn about issues in the business world and the strategy needed to cover it.
After his military service, Murphy’s career took him to management positions in three of the country’s leading corporations: Owens Corning, Beatrice, and Merrill Lynch. In these firms Murphy served as the head of communications and public affairs. He later worked as chairman and CEO North America of Burson Marsteller, a global public relations firm.
Murphy is currently the chairman and CEO of his own marketing services firm, Murphy & Co., where he works with his son and partner, Jason Murphy. Murphy & Co. was started in 1993 when Murphy was simultaneously the chief marketing and communications officer for Accenture, the world’s largest management consulting and technology services firm.
He worked with Accenture for 17 years, retiring three years ago after he led the ground-breaking global re-branding of Accenture from Andersen Consulting when Anderson
Consulting split off from the audit and tax firm Arthur Andersen. His work at Accenture resulted in significant professional recognition, including BtoB Magazine’s Marketer of the Year, the Public Relations Society of America’s Professional of the Year, and selection to the Hall of Fame of the Arthur Page Society, the leading professional society in the public relations field.
“Murphy & Co. specializes in strategic marketing and communications, primarily on the
Internet,” said Murphy. “We help big companies build their presence online. We build websites, do application work, we help them with Facebook, we do social media; everything that has to do with online communications.”
In today’s world of business, public relations allows companies to get their messages to the public quickly. The Internet is a prime avenue for spreading what they want to say.
“Our clients need Internet services. It’s the area of communications and marketing that’s growing the fastest,” Murphy said. “It’s changed the game with public relations.”
Murphy contributes to his alma mater by giving back financially. He is also on the National Advisory Board for College of Media where he attends meetings, helps raise money and discusses the future of the College.
By Betsy Drazner ’12 JOURN
Published Spring 2011