Category Archives: public relations

How NOT to choose an internship site

Depression. young attractive woman with an awful migraine

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

It is that time of year again! Spring interns are happily learning the ropes of their new “job” while those interested in a summer internship are looking to be “hired.” So, a few words of encouragement for those seeking an internship experience.

As the current internship coordinator for our Public Relations program, part of my job is to make sure students complete the internship application. One question on the application asks students to indicate his or her future goals in the area of public relations. Ideally, what students want to do will align with the internship sites they place on the application. Key word–ideally. Of course there may be instances where what a students wishes to do is not available in the immediate area (e.g. Entertainment PR, International PR, etc.). Despite, students should still look for an internship site that will offer transferable skills, not just one to complete for credit sake. So, as you are on the hunt for the “ideal” internship below are some ways to NOT choose an internship site.

1. Choosing a site based on name alone. 

Of course some organizations are more well-known than others; however, this shouldn’t be the only reason to accept a site. A well-known organization name is not always synonymous with a structured internship program or ideal/acceptable experience for your degree program.

2. Thinking your experience at a site will be the same as your friends experience. 

You will be walking into an active job site–things change. The people may have changed, the clients may have changed, and, of course, you are not exactly like your friend. It is always ideal to hear others experience, but do not assume your experience will be exactly the same.

3. Relying on the internship description alone. ASK Questions!

An internship description is a general guide with respect to what the site supervisor anticipates you will accomplish. Things change. Ask your potential site supervisor about specific projects they are currently working on and projects they think may come later on during your internship experience.

4. Accepting an internship because it is available.

There are times when this will work in your favor, but do not always count on it. If, after talking with the site supervisor, you do not think the potential site will offer transferable skills for what you want to do, then do not accept an internship offer from the site. However, you will not know if the site will allow you to build any transferable skills if you do not ask. Inform the site supervisor of what you would like to do to determine if there are activities you can participate in at the site in your desired area. So ASK! You may be pleasantly surprised.

What do you think? Do you agree with this list or are there others I have missed? Let me know in the comments below.



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10 Skills/Traits Site Supervisor’s Seek: The Internship Experience

Last month a colleague and I, along with three Internship Coordinators from two additional universities, had the opportunity to speak with the Savannah Marketing Group regarding requirements for our respective program internships. The hour long lunch meeting jogged some ideas regarding information I would like to distribute to Internship Site Supervisor’s that work with our students. But that’s another blog post.

During this meeting there was an exchange of information regarding each area’s program expectations with respect to potential internship sites, along with expectations from Internship Site Supervisor’s that may “hire” our interns. In the end, the following skills and traits were listed by these potential Internship Site Supervisor’s as desirable in an intern. As you read this list keep in mind that the work sites represented in this group range from broadcasting, communications, architecture, assisted living facility, accountant, etc.  Also keep in mind that this list is in no particular order.

10 Skills/Traits Internship Site Supervisor’s Seek

1. Strong writing skills

2. The ability to multitask

3. Takes initiative

4. Has website skills and/or graphic design skills

5. Is creative (within the brand)

6. Able to assist with, and at times, create and execute events

7. Feels comfortable contributing ideas

8. Understands and can effectively utilize social media

9. Has photography skills

10. Has research skills

If you are a site supervisor, or have held an internship position, are there additional skills/traits you would add to this list?


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Fall 2013 Internship Meeting

flier final 2011

In case you haven’t seen the printed bright yellow fliers, consider this your personal invitation to the upcoming fall 2013 internship meeting on Tuesday, September 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Veazey Hall. This meeting is for students interested in completing a public relations internship in spring or summer 2014.  At this meeting questions about internship applications, contracts, securing an internship site, and more will be answered.

An internship meeting is held at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. Just make sure you attend an internship meeting, at minimum, one semester prior to the semester in which you anticipate completing an internship. View additional internship information on our website!

See you there!


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Ethics vs. Job Obligations: The Internship Experience

decision --microsoft imagesAs the current internship coordinator for the public relations area in my department, I receive lots of questions regarding the internship experience. Most of the questions are inquires from students seeking to obtain a public relations internship to earn degree credit. Additional questions are from individuals seeking a public relations intern, current internship site supervisors, etc. However, two weeks ago I received an internship question from a non-communications major. In short, the student sent me an email to ask whether the practice of making up quotes is common in public relations as the student has been asked to do this on several occasions by his/her immediate boss. (See the email below. Identifying information has been redacted.)

I applaud the student for seeking answers and for not disclosing the name of the company where this is an issue. However, it piqued my curiosity as to whether other students have come across this practice. During my tenure as internship coordinator, I have never had a student mention this particular issue. I have had to step in regarding issues between students and site supervisors, and most of those were easily rectified.

As for the student, I did inform him/her that the practice is unethical, and even provided brief unsolicited advice on how to address the situation. Yet, I wonder if other students, communication majors or not, would acknowledge their apprehension to this practice or just “go with the flow” because they were instructed to do it or they think their grade, job, etc. depends on them being in alignment with the company culture. Here is the email I received.

I am a [non-communications] major at GSU. I am currently interning for a large company in Statesboro and they frequently ask me to do things like write press releases.
I have no experience in public relations, but I do have journalism experience…
I wondered if someone would be willing to help me by answering a question I have about public relations, and I found you listed as the public relations internship coordinator, so you were the obvious pick.
My supervisor often asks me to make up direct quotes for people in the company because they are busy. She says they can just approve what I’ve written instead of having to take time on an interview with me.
…, this makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t know standard protocol for this situation or even if it’s typical, though. My supervisor is the head of marketing here, so I am predisposed to believe that she knows what she is doing.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my confusion. I hope you have time to respond.
What would you do? What would you say to the site supervisor or the internship coordinator? What advice would you provide the student?


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Are you the next “Public Relations Student of the Year?”

Picture courtesy of Microsoft ImagesHopefully you have seen the awards flier and heard the announcements. If not, consider this your personal invitation to submit your application and portfolio for one (or more) of the Advisory Board Student of the Year Awards. Each spring, members of the Public Relations Advisory Board judge submissions from public relations students who apply for “Public Relations Student of the Year” in one of the following categories: Public Relations Writing, Public Relations Design, Public Relations Planning, Public Relations Research, and Public Relations Student of the Year.

Let me reiterate, award winners are selected by non-faculty members of our Public Relations Advisory Board. These advisory board members are friends and alumni of the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University. Members currently work in various capacities within the public relations industry.

Below is a description of each award category. See the announcement for additional information. If you have not yet applied the deadline is this Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m. Do not forget to include your application with your submission. Drop-off submissions in the main office. Winners will be announced at the annual departmental banquet.

Award Categories

Public Relations Writing: Submit 3-5 short samples. Samples may include, but are not limited to, news, features, brochure copy, newsletter articles, communication plans, and web-based writings. Preference will be given to published works and successfully implemented communication plans.

Public Relations Design: Submit 3-5 samples. Samples may include, but are not limited to, newsletters, brochures, posters, advertisements, web pages, and PSA design elements. Preference will be given to original designs.

Public Relations Planning: Submit program overview and corresponding materials. Provide documentation of your contribution to this program. Indicate if the plan was completed by a group or individual. Describe each component of the plan and each team member’s contribution to the plan.

Public Relations Research: Submit 1-3 research papers and /or projects. Projects may entail academic investigations or applied projects that contribute to our understanding of public relations and communications. Co-authored work will be accepted based on applicant or applicants’ contributions to the project. Preference will be given to original research papers or projects.

Public Relations Student of the Year: Submit resume and mini-portfolio. The mini-portfolio should exhibit success in the following areas: (a) leadership and extra-curricular, (b) professional development, (c) academic works, and (d) academic or professional presentations. Finalist will be asked to complete an interview with advisory board members. At which time finalist should bring their comprehensive portfolio.



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5 Take-aways from the PR Internship Meeting

blank paper and coffee cup--by rustemgurler

Picture courtesy of IStockphoto

Each semester the internship coordinator holds a mandatory internship meeting for those seeking to intern for college credit. During this meeting questions are answered, additional information regarding internships are addressed, attendance is taken, and the internship website is reviewed. So, in case you missed the internship meeting, here are a few takeaways.

1. Review the internship website.

There is a lot of information available on the website that will answer several of your questions regarding the internship program at Georgia Southern. Do not let the text scare you.

2. Know the deadlines.

Internship application deadlines do not change. Deadlines are based on when you wish to intern. The most current deadlines are posted here on the website. Again, deadlines do not change, so view the website.

3. Complete the internship application in its entirety.

Although the application is a one-page document, several students either do not complete portions of the application or overlook the “attach resume” in large bold print. Although this application is processed in-house it is still necessary to complete it in order for the internship coordinator to move forward in determining IF you can intern for academic credit, and to ensure you get placed into the course to receive academic credit.

4. If you do not know, ask.

Despite the information on the internship website there are times when the rumor mill will run wild. Although your friends may have the best intentions they are not always correct. If you are unsure or someone told you something about the internship process that sounds odd, ask. Seek clarification from the internship coordinator, a public relations faculty member, or check out our website.

5. Securing an internship takes time.

There is no need to fret if its January, your seeking an internship for May, and no one is returning your email or phone call. In-house application deadlines were devised around the time frame that most businesses begin inquiring and/or hiring for the summer. They are not arbitrary, so its okay. If you are seeking an internship during a specific semester the internship coordinator will continue to work with you until you obtain an internship.

Of course many more things were touched on in the meeting and can be summed up by reviewing the website and the FAQ sheet. If you have not attended a meeting make sure you talk with the internship coordinator before the application deadline!



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Who is your PR Idol?

While discussing the early history of public relations firms one class meeting the suggestion of an elective course offering on women in public relations was made. This discussion came about as many familiar male figures, such as Ivy Lee, George Creel, Edward Bernays, etcetera, were presented in our conversation on the early history of public relations firms. Thus, there was not as much focus, in this discussion, on the women in public relations. Seeing as many areas of public relations are dominated by women, not to mention the public relations course in which this conversation took place, it made me wonder: Who is your public relations idol?

This post is the opportunity to focus on your public relations idol. This individual may be male or female, living or dead, but who is he or she? Or maybe you have more than one that you would like to share. What is it about this person that makes you say “Hey, that’s what I want to do?” or  “It’s because of [insert name] I decided to pursue a career in public relations.” So, I’m asking, “Who’s your public relations idol?”. Tell me in the comment box below.

Pictured left is Doris Fleischman (Picture courtesy of Google images)




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