Academic journal article Peer Review

A Tale of Two Internships

Academic journal article Peer Review

A Tale of Two Internships

Article excerpt

There were two internship experiences that influenced my learning and professional development. The summer before my senior year at Otterbein University, I was a marketing and communications intern at the Ohio State Fair. The fair internship was an incredible experience. At the fair, I ascertained how to incorporate public relations tactics with what I had learned in my college courses. The internship that followed - at a small public relations agency in Washington, DC - taught me very different lessons.

In the beginning of the first internship, I wrote press releases about the fair's discount admission days, and highlighted activities in the fair's air-conditioned buildings. Using the written and oral communication skills that I had learned in my public relations and journalism courses, I also wrote articles for the staff newsletter. During this time, I built relationships with broadcast reporters in Columbus.

The fair began in August, and I worked twelve-hour days, but everything ran smoothly. I escorted reporters to various events, including the rib cook-off, livestock competitions, and concerts. Unfortunately, a week into the fair, while one of the spinning rides was in motion, one of the cars flew off the ride's arm. The car's two riders landed face-down on the ride platform. At that moment, my colleagues and I became crisis communicators. The critical thinking skills that I learned as a result of my liberal education at Otterbein became essential.

The next day, all three broadcast affiliates arrived at 4 a.m. to set up for the early morning live shots. I was alone on the fairgrounds at the ride accident scene with the news crews. Suddenly, one of the cameramen and his reporter demanded to enter the accident scene. "If you don't let us in, we'll sue the fair!" they said. I took five seconds to reflect on what I had learned about crisis communications in my public relations courses at Otterbein. Then, I calmly told him not to cross the police tape. The other reporters present tried to calm the angry cameraman. After the incident, the cameraman and the reporter apologized to me. …

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