From PR Internships To Print
Spring Break is over and students abound are trading in swimsuits for school books. Their transition from sun to school brings both glum thoughts of assignments, exams, and projects and important questions about professional development. Should a student get a summer job, internship or serve as a research apprentice? Forbes has a great explanation about why internships are a wise career choice.
For journalism majors who want an internship, don’t limit yourself to applying for one only in the field. While everyone wants that coveted internship at The New York Times, aspiring journalists can also get ahead by landing an internship in public relations.
3 Important Things Journalism Majors Can Learn From PR Internships
1. How to “Connect the Dots”
For a PR professional with a client in the dairy industry, learning about agriculture just scratches the surface. A diligent PR professional is going to scour and scavenge for the latest news in business, climate, technology and even immigration. Fluctuating figures in immigration can drain or fill a labor pool, while a changing climate can decrease profits. The angle is different but PR professionals can generate positive publicity for their client with both. Journalists look to do the same, especially when writing a long-form or investigative story.
We live in a global world and policies, events and catastrophes are rarely independent of one another. Journalists draw connections so their readers can better understand the large amount of information they’re bombarded with daily. A three-month internship may not give you the prowess of Woodward and Bernstein, but it will give you hands-on experience on how to go beyond the surface level.
While many may view the relationship as adversarial, the two professions need to operate symbiotically if they want to prosper. Journalists want to write relevant stories and a good publicist wants to provide journalists the access necessary to accomplish that. (Yes we know that PR people get dinged for sending “worthless pitches” — at Double Forte we work hard to make sure everything we pitch is relevant.) A PR professional can be seen as a primer to the pump — they prepare quality information so the reporter can complete their task in an efficient manner.
The two are bound by relevance. PR professionals deliver relevant information to journalists, and journalists, relevant information to the public.
3. Traditions Matter
It’s no surprise legacy papers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal remain relevant in the digital age — they’ve adopted new platforms while maintaining quality, traditional journalism. At Double Forte, we still value traditional PR methods. Instagram influencers are important, but they are no replacement for earned media in reputable news outlets. Earned media, stories that reporters write without the expectation or requirement of payment, remain the most influential stories. Adopting new practices in the digital age is necessary, but must be incorporated without compromising the core values of a profession.
As a PR intern, you’ll learn to navigate different mediascapes while not losing sight of the very principles that have built them up.
If you aren’t convinced yet, read on to find out what else you can learn from a PR internship: 10 Things We’ve Learned as Summer Interns
Written by Devin Cuevas, Double Forte Intern (and journalism major)