To my disbelief, I am starting my third year of school at Syracuse University. I am no longer a freshman, or a sophomore, for that matter. I feel an immense amount of pressure to accomplish all of my goals before I graduate. Even though many people believe that the third time is the charm, I am having the hardest transition back to school. I spent the first two years of my college career learning about the field of public relations through an academic lens. In class, I learned terms like dominant coalition and practiced the art of writing a press releases and media alerts.
Last academic year I was determined to find an internship that would expose me to the world of public relations outside of the classroom. And to my extreme pleasure, I found one. This summer I worked full-time for Men’s Health magazine and Women’s Health magazine. When I found out I was accepted into the program, I was excited to get my hands dirty and truly experience the field of public relations. My title was Brand and Digital intern and I was working in the corporate communications department of the company. From the first day of the internship I was able to use the skills I learned in school when I was assigned press releases and media alerts.
The internship was invaluable, however, I learned skills and was exposed to parts of the public relations practice that I did not know existed. One of the highlights of my summer was experiencing media training for the Today Show. I was able to watch my supervisor prepare one of the editors for a segment on the show. The best part was actually going to the studio to watch the taping of the segment the following morning.
I learned that public relations involves so much more than press releases and media alerts. A large part of the field is forward thinking and strategizing ways for a specific brand or organization to be favorable in the media. As part of my intern duties, I had to archive every mention of Men’s Health and Women’s Health in the media. I would calculate the number of impressions and insert the info into an excel document. While this work was tedious, I knew it was important for the company’s success.
Public relations may seem like a small factor, but it is truly the driving force behind many organizations. I know the magazines I worked for would not be as successful without the public relations team. What I discovered was that public relations is more than a discipline, it is the way companies receive recognition and stay in the media.
My internship helped me realize that there are a variety of fields and specialties within public relations and made me excited to find the one that I enjoy the most. Now as I start my third year of school I have a better understanding of public relations as a practice. Every week, I am going to write a post relating my experiences to public relations, my field of study.