Advertising costs money, while PR is free media attention. Writing for magazines is better as you can get paid for it and it will advertise you to a certain extent. You could call it PR, but I doubt anyone in the PR biz would call it that. PR would be a magazine doing a story about you. 😉 Basically, public relations is getting someone in the media to promote you in some way.
If you like to write, consider doing a column for a local paper. Many small papers will print your work and give you some advertising space in return. These are small papers, but with your market, it might just be the ticket to building a reputation.
Your most important consideration regarding media centers on what you can do for them and their readers or viewers. Their business needs ratings to be successful. If you can help them with that, they don’t mind you gaining an advantage from the relationship as well. But you need to be clearly focused on what you are delivering to their audience that will benefit them and make them better off. The media, generally speaking, couldn’t care less about you, unless you help them with their audience in some way. You need to get more people to watch their show. If you can do that, you can be a star! (well, at least you can get booked on some shows or quoted in the paper)