Before joining the United Nations, Pumpyanskaya was a journalist and worked with some media in Moscow, including The New Times and Russian Newsweek. From 1991 to 1996, she was Moscow bureau's Staff Correspondent for Spanish newspaper El País. She also worked for the BBC in London from 1996 to 1997, where she was involved in making a documentary on Mikhail Gorbachev and worked on a special feature on Pope John Paul II, as well as other topics for the BBC’s 'Correspondent' programme. In 1995, she worked for Radio Free Europe in Prague.
Pumpyanskaya is a member the European Association of Communication Directors. She participates in media events, networking with policymakers and media executives, including those organised by the World Association of Newspapers.