My Experience As A PR Intern

I worked as an intern for Vizion Group, a Berwyn-based Public Relations agency in the fall semester of my senior year at Arcadia University. Going in, I didn’t expect much of it to particularly interest me and IU wasn’t exactly super excited about it. I treated it as just something I had to do to graduate and that it wouldn’t be something I enjoyed at all. However, the internship turned out to be very enlightening for me, not only about the industry of public relations but about working life as a whole. Even though I worked a lot of hours and put a lot of time into it, I felt like I was able to learn a tremendous amount, while simultaneously contributing good and valuable work to the agency.

            Vizion Group is a small company that runs the public relations work for two major NBC broadcasted events, as well as other miscellaneous events throughout the year. In the Winter and Spring, the agency works toward the Lake Tahoe Celebrity Golf tournament, and in the summer and fall they work to put on the National Dog Show, which was the majority of what I worked on. At first, I didn’t know anything about the National Dog Show, but I learned a lot about the event itself and about the other events that would lead up to it during my internship. I started slowly and my boss gave me a lot of time to get acclimated to what he was looking for me to do. One of the greatest things about the internship was that I got to do valuable things, but without any of the pressure of the quality or the deadlines because my boss was so on top of everything and thoughtful.

            As I grew more comfortable within the first few weeks or first month, the workload would gradually increase, especially with the main event and other events closing in. While there was some “grunt work” or ‘document keeping’ that I had to do, I appreciated a couple of things about it.  One was how every day that I would go into my internship, it would be something new to do or something different than the previous day. I really enjoyed this aspect because even though we were almost exclusively working on the National Dog Show, it never felt stale.

The second reason is that even with ‘document keeping’ I still felt massively involved and in the know of things I never expected I would be. Since my boss was the head of PR for the National Dog Show, I regularly got to listen and sit in on some of his meetings with NBC Executives, people in the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, and other people involved with the event. With some of my roles in the office too, I kept up to date with the handling of promotional advertisements and media schedules which had some big appearances on national talk shows. While I didn’t have any particular influence or decision-making, I felt like I was in the loop and am grateful that I got to see how high-level PR executives work on some of the bigger things in real-time.

However, while at my internship I also got to do a lot of valuable things that would directly contribute to the event. I wrote a blog that was published on the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s website and also worked on a number of media alerts, fact sheets, and press releases for several things around the main event or other events that led up to the big show. I also even got to write scripts for an award ceremony at the main show but also for the pre-event press conference that was read, as well as writing promotional content after the big show that was published by a big magazine in the world of dog shows. For the event, I was the main one handling the media and VIP credentials and worked the Media and VIP table at the event. There were even more other daily projects and tasks that I had on top of that which contributed to the internship never feeling stale or redundant.

Overall, I got to not only do a lot of things that directly transfer over to the public relations industry, but also got to sit in and experience how high-end PR executives operate. I got to see the balance between the fun and creative stuff, as well as how challenging it can be to manage so many moving parts in a big event. I feel like I have a good idea of what the expectations of me would be as a public relations worker in every capacity and any situation. I am grateful for the experience, and it really opened my eyes to everything that the public relations industry can encapsulate.

My Experience At 1853 Communications

1853 Communication is a student-run public relations firm that gives students the
opportunity to operate in an office-like environment. Providing real world experience this class
showed me the importance of everyone doing their part to achieve a goal. Before taking this
class I had no idea what public relations actually was and what it was used for. I believed that
PR is just to make something look good so that it will make people want to buy, listen, or watch
whatever that product is but this class has shown me that it is much more than that. Public
relations is informing the public and giving them important information about specific issues. It is
also used to connect companies or people to the public and give an insight of what or who they
are so that they can have the support of the public. This class truly felt like we were working in a
PR firm in the way that we worked together to get work done but also as we worked individually.
Being a student working for a student agency was an awesome experience because it opened
my eyes to a world of public relations and jobs that are available that I didn’t know existed
before. This PR firm allowed everyone to grow in their skill with creating fundraisers, making
newsletters, PR trips, important speakers, and writing fun articles. This student firm has
enlightened me on what it takes to be a part of a well run public relations firm and shape my
understanding of the field.

Research in PR

Research is one of the most important steps before communicating with the rest of the world, especially when it comes to maintaining Public Relations. With Public Relations, not knowing the proper information about the praise or complaints for or against the group you represent can lead to a terrible public image resulting in mistrust from the public. But when studying what to do two important factors must be looked into for the best outcome.

Knowledge of the audience

Knowing who the intended audience is for you is an important step to get the best response. If the audience is a certain group of people then you need to know who they are and what they support. If the people that you need to communicate about in PR are those supportive/were supportive of your group that you’re speaking on behalf of, then you need to see what got them to talk about your group. If it’s for a negative reason then a PR statement needs to be made on behalf of your group to try and make amends with them for whatever reason. However, If the group is neutral or was seemingly always against your group for whatever reason, it might be best to try to get them over your side. Researching what your group did wrong from the perspective of any group is a necessary step in remedying the situation in a negative light, listen or read any problem they may have. See how your group could change, note this could result in isolation from supporters because it’s something they might not like, so be cautious with the decision making.

Know the subject

Knowing the subject you’re addressing is a simple thing but it’s also something that some in Public relations miss on that results in later mocking and scrutiny from detractors. Researching what your group did whether right or wrong in the eyes of a group is a necessary step to continue success.

The subject can almost be anything, but some examples can be related to a product, allegations on company practice, inner company culture, an unofficial or official statement from an employee or any action an employee might have committed is necessary to see what went right or wrong. It might also be good to study law on an issue if whatever is used against your group is from a legal standpoint. It’s also good to keep in contact with those dealing with the situation, such as the higher ups as they will be looking towards you to communicate what they say. If possible and with permission, it’s also good to relay updates about the subject more and more to the audience to keep them informed on the ongoing situation. While relaying information, try to gauge public reaction to the information. Make sure to remain accurate with the information as that can come back to haunt you later, which can result in more Public Relations problems in the future.

Conclusion

Once these two factors have been researched, you can respond in any way you can. If people like what you’re doing then it’s best to continue with that path the best you can or change if necessary.

The Power of Influencer Marketing in Public Relations

In the world of public relations, making real connections with people is important. Since social media has now become a huge part of our everyday lives, influencers play a crucial role in shaping public perceptions. This kind of marketing is beneficial because it allows more people to be reached and engages them in a way that clicks with today’s consumers. Teaming up with influencers helps PR professionals tell stories that attracts specific audiences. It is important to understand why influencer marketing matters in PR for any business wanting to build a strong brand presence. Now lets dive in to the specific advantages of influencer marketing in public relations.

  1. Authenticity and Credibility

Influencers tend to be authentic and relatable individuals to their followers. When they endorse a product, brand, or service, their audience is more likely to trust their recommendation and buy what they are selling. This contributes to increased credibility for the brand when viewed by the public.

  1. Reach and Exposure

Influencers typically have larger followings across their social media platforms which means that they can reach a wider audience. By partnering with influencers, PR professionals are able to expand their reach to specific demographics and opens up opportunities for them to tap into communities that may be hard to reach through traditional PR channels.

  1. Storytelling Through Content Creation

Creating compelling and attractive content is what influencers do best. By including influencers in PR campaigns, brands can utilize their storytelling skills to effectively communicate key messages to their audiences. This strategy can enhance the overall portrayal of a brand and make it more relatable.

  1. Able to Adapt to Different Industries

Influencer marketing is very multifaceted and can be applied to a variety of industries. No matter what you are promoting, from fashion to technology, there are influencers with diverse expertise and interests. Because of that, this a flexible strategy for PR professionals across all different fields.

  1. Measurable Results

A campaign is only beneficial to a business if its results are measurable. Influencer marketing campaigns can be tracked and measured. This provides PR professionals with insightful data on reach, engagement, and its impact on the business. Analyzing these metrics permits a data-driven approach to evaluating if a campaign is successful and determining if these strategies should be implemented in the future.

  1. Building Long- Term Relationships

PR professionals can build long term relationships with influencers beyond specialized campaigns. This opens up the door to establishing brand loyalty and creating ongoing brand endorsements that can be beneficial for supported PR efforts.

The public relations field is always evolving and influencer marketing has become a crucial component in shaping brand narratives. The benefits we just explored, ranging from authenticity and reach to adaptability and measurable results, highlight the important role influencers play in increasing PR effectiveness. Understanding the relationship between influencer marketing and public relations is necessary for businesses who are looking to present themselves in an authentic and relatable way. Not only does influencer marketing allow businesses to convey messages but also leave a lasting impression on their intended audiences.

Interning for Little Sprouts at Snipes Farm

In my senior year at Arcadia University, I have made many strides toward what careers I want to explore post-graduation. In the past, I dreamt of being a veterinarian, a sports journalist, a NASA scientist, or a drummer in a band. At this moment in time, I am none of these things, nor am I on a direct path to becoming one of these things– and that’s okay. Interests change, dreams change, and aspirations change. Right now, my interests lie in photography, public relations, and communications in general.

I undertook an internship with the Little Sprouts Education Program at Snipes Farm in Morrisville, PA this semester and I have been nothing short of obsessed with it. I work under the supervision of Nicole Kissinger who is one of the educators. Little Sprouts is an outdoor education program for ages two to five that emphasizes the importance of child-led play. The program runs year-round and is outside in all seasons! This fall, class started on October 3, 2023, and is running until December. My role in the program is to take photographs, create content, and help Nicole and the other instructors with communication purposes. These responsibilities are helping me greatly in my professional development.

On the first day of class, I brought my brand-new Canon Rebel and introduced myself to the other instructors and some of the parents. It wasn’t until the second week of classes that I could take pictures of the students and activities since the photo release forms got turned in. I have been to class at least once a week since, and I love what I do there. I have learned so much about photography, my camera, and editing since I started. Learning by doing is definitely proving to be true!

On the other end of things, I have been making graphics and posting on social media for the Little Sprouts program, positively representing them to the public. I post frequently on the page. It is quite daunting knowing that what you post on a brand or organization’s social media will be seen and perceived by current and potential customers, and it is your job to make sure the brand comes across as professional and put-together. I enjoy doing this part because it gives me practice in writing for professional communication settings.

In the future, I hope to apply the skills I have learned in my internship to my career. I eventually want to manage small bands and/or musicians, so I think that this is a pretty decent and humble start to that. It’s not quite the same industry, but the skills I am learning will hopefully translate well!

My Experience as a PR Student-Member

Being a member of the student Public Relations agency is very interesting. My background with Media & Communication has been very media-centric, so to branch out into something different from what I am used to is a bit unnerving. However, the rest of the agency is made up of other students from the university, both who have been involved before and those who are new to the program, some of them are also Media & Communication students but the agency accepts any type of student here.

The agency is managed by Dr. Mullin, who helps guide students through what they should be doing, but leaves a lot of control to the students. We can choose how things are designed, who we do work for, and how we do that work. We also organize our own fundraisers to raise money that is reinvested into the agency, that money can be used to buy promotional merchandise, fund field trips, pay for fees, etc. The student agency is a great way to gain real experience with performing tasks related to PR while also being able to make mistakes along the way.

My experiences with Public Relations have been similar to Media, a lot of it is interacting with others and working together to accomplish a common goal. We always have something to do at the agency, which helps keep us productive. The work is manageable but is always changing based on the needs of our clients. We have a lot of creative freedom with how we do our work, as long as it meets the needs of the client. We also discuss our progress with the other students, so we can stay on the same page and remain productive and professional. Overall, media is still my main interest, but public relations are still interesting to have experience in.

Fenty Beauty Center Stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show

The Super Bowl took us all by surprise this year when Rihanna made her appearance at the halftime show. There are a lot of people who had mixed feelings about the show itself, or just straight up didn’t like it. Despite whether you liked it or not, there is no denying that Rihanna was smart and took advantage of the opportunity that she was given. Not only did she choose that time to announce that she was pregnant, but she also chose to use that time to promote her company called Fenty Beauty.

Fenty Beauty is a make-up company that was founded by Rihanna. While Rihanna wasn’t offered cash for her performance, she certainly didn’t miss out on the chance to make some. During her performance, she took out her instant setting and blotting power to touch up her face. According to Nielson, there were over 113 million people watching the super bowl. Her strategy of promoting her product helped increase the net of Fenty Beauty to around 44 million dollars, according to tribedynamics. Rihanna knew the opportunity that she was given and she wasn’t afraid to use it to the best of her ability.

Lizzo Apology

For me, keeping up with celebrity and influencer news is everything. Not in the sense that I am completely involved in their lives like reality TV but in the sense that I am intrigued by what they’re doing and how their choices or actions change public perception of them. Lizzo (Melissa Jefferson) has been a champion for body positivity and has been a welcome face in the music industry. Ever since her first hit Truth Hurts, she has skyrocketed in her fame. Recently Jefferson has come under fire for a lawsuit that was served to her by former dancers who worked with the singer. The lawsuit covers allegations of sexual assault and harassment, religious harassment, the creation of a hostile work environment, body-shaming, and many other allegations that painted the singer in a very negative light. The internet, mainly TikTok from what I witnessed ran with the story with many people reading over and explaining the lawsuits, restating accounts of the dancers who served the lawsuit, and people generally shaming Jefferson for her hypocrisy.

After the news was released Aug 1, 2023 Jefferson released a statement to her official Instagram account on August 3, 2023. The statement is a gallery-style post with multiple slides with text on them. The statement attempts to do three things: Displace blame from Jefferson onto her former employees, blame her employees for their own ‘unprofessional’ behavior, and overshadow this controversy by trying to invoke her previous good work. Jefferson’s apology was only posted to Instagram and no official press release or statement was made by her PR team. The apology was not received particularly well by the jury of public opinion, nor was the apology well written by any means. There were strategic points to release a statement after the official lawsuit was released, but the apology did entirely fall flat because of the attempts to displace Jefferson’s blame onto the Plaintiffs. Overall, Jefferson’s response was in general ill taste, and she did not actually provide an apology for the allegations set before her.

My Experience as a Public Relations Intern and the Advice I’d Give

As a Communication major at Arcadia, we are required to complete at least one semester with an internship. I was lucky enough to secure a position with VMS Communications, a small public relations firm based in Houston. I was hired as an assistant and my general tasks were to work closely with the CEO and complete assignments that ranged from drafting press releases to creating excel contact sheets.

I had no previous experience in the field so having this job provided some much needed hands on learning. My goal of this post is to highlight the advice I wish someone had given to me before starting.

#3 Honing Organization Skills

(Example of where my Internship folder is located on my computer and how specific the subfolders are)

I’m not a particularly unorganized person, but as far as files and images go on my computer it can be a no man’s land. However, at any moment your boss can ask to reference a previous draft of an assignment you’ve worked on. It would be expected for you to have some record of it.

Learning how to save multiple copies of files and having a detailed organization system that is labeled and up to date on your devices is important. It is three years later, and I am still referencing the work I did when I was at my internship. This would not be as easily accessible if not for the system I created.

#2 Become Familiar with Excel (and other programs)

I rarely, if ever, have had to use Excel or Google Spreadsheet during my time as a student. So, when my first assignment was to create a celebrity contact list that had to be created in Excel, I was flustered.  I spent days on a task that shouldn’t have taken longer than a few hours.

My advice: Ask your superior before starting what programs are commonly used with the job and use the time before starting or in between projects to familiarize yourself with it. It will save you a lot of time.

#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest

With your first internship or job there is usually an immense pressure to be perfect. But the company you work for knows they hired an intern and that you do not know everything. In my experience, it is better to ask for help and be honest about not being sure how to complete a project than messing up and having to explain it afterwards. A good boss or superior will use it as a teaching lesson and it’ll improve your skillset.

Overall, my experience as an assistant was one that I can look back fondly on. However, like with any job there are always ups and downs. If I knew these few tips going into the position it would have certainly eased some of those anxieties.

How an NBA Superstar Cleared his Name

Standing at six foot three, Ja Morant has been an absolute game changer for the Memphis Grizzlies and this isn’t the first time he’s been the leader of his team. Morant has been seen leading not only his college team Murray state to wins, but also his high school team. Ja’s always been the star and every star is in the spotlight, thus mistakes are not only seen but magnified and analyzed. Of course, with this analysis and magnification comes criticism, not just any criticism but media criticism, the worst kind. Ja Morant is not exempt from this rule of fame and had to face the noise the rough way.

In March of 2023 pictures leaked of Ja Morant in a “gentleman’s club”, this was bad enough, however what followed was more pictures of Morant surrounded by money and one with him brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The media went into a frenzy, the premiere young superstar for not only the Grizzlies but the entire NBA is now being seen as a “young indecisive mess” and with this came a huge headache for Morant’s PR team.

The first thing they had to do was contact the Grizzlies and let them know to put out on all social media platforms and send to news outlets that they were investigating exactly what was going on with the situation and for people not to assume anything about Morant or what he did or did not do. However, the damage had been done, Morant’s photos were being shown on ESPN and people were making jokes of him “trying to make it into the hood”, it was bad. Shannon Sharpe gave Morant a direct message to stop messing around with his career as not only weeks before Morant was also reported of assaulting a 17-year old boy. Morant’s PR team was in a frenzy and had to react quickly to salvage Morant’s image especially for the Grizzlies key stakeholders.

Clarification was the first thing Morant’s PR team focused on, issuing multiple statements after the police investigation that the firearm Morant was brandishing was a “prop”. This helped to sway some people’s beliefs but most still had a stain in their mind when it came to Morant, it’s a situation that’s hard to forget but a few more factors helped Morant out. One good move was the team promoting gun safety, along with Morant attending gun safety classes. The final thing Morant’s PR team did was push the attention away from Morant’s off the court antics to his on the court antics. Morant lead the Grizzlies to the #3 seed in the West and did so while averaging over 25 points a game and eight assists a game, Morant’s PR team posted a lot of things about the upcoming playoffs and how the Grizzlies are in a good position to win it all. One final factor in Morant’s comeback in the public eye is his teammate Dillon Brooks, who is widely disliked by the NBA community and is still stirring up trouble as of the writing of this piece.

All in all Morant’s situation was nothing to sneeze at, had he been convicted he most likely never would have stepped on an NBA court again regardless of his talent and limitless potential. However, not only was he not convicted Morant is seen in most eyes as a young star who has made his mistakes, however, as long as he turns over a new leaf there is no reason why he can’t be loved even more by the public in the future than he was before the crisis ever occurred. 

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