WHAT I LEARNT AS AN INTERN
Despite the reality that it’s essentially free labour, I was excited to start my three month internship at a PR agency with an impressive line-up of clients on their books. With such a successful history, I was hoping to be thrown into the deep end and really learn what goes on in a busy and high-profile agency. My internship was fast paced from the get-go, reflective of the nature of the industry itself. A typical day would begin with paper reports that were completed by each staff member every morning and sent around the office for everyone to review by 11am. Whilst at first I found this odd and at times dull (I’m not usually one to jump at a chance to read the Australian Financial Review) I soon realised just how important it is to be aware of what is going on in the industry at all times. Paper reports were a key tool used in the workplace to stay up to date with the activities and coverage of clients and competitors as well as identify potential opportunities and possible threats. Though it at first seemed to me a tedious and pointless task, it eventually made me realise that in order to be successful as I begin my career I need to be aware of the ever changing media landscape and the businesses and individuals within it.
With such reputable clients came high expectations and the fact that I was merely an intern did not exempt me from having to deliver quality ideas and work. One of my tasks during my internship was to brainstorm ideas for brand activations and media kits and source suppliers and quotes. In an industry where clients will simply seek another agency if you don’t meet their expectations, this really pushed me to be creative and think outside the box. This brought me back to Du Gay (1996), who stressed the importance of enterprise ‘as an individual rather than organizational or firm-based attribute’. (p28) It made me realise that in order to remain ahead when it comes to the creative side of public relations, you must strive to be original, flexible and creative. Continuing to research examples of successful brand activations on a global scale will further show me how this is done worldwide and provide me with inspiration as I begin my career.
Throughout the duration of my internship I was constantly shifting between tasks depending on the client needs at that particular time. Whilst this meant I might be writing media releases in the morning, I might have been putting together media kits over lunch and sourcing quotes in the afternoon. No two days were ever the same and I was always doing new things. Again, I was reminded of Du Gay’s suggestion that the shift in the notion of enterprise is a way to “reconstitute workers as more adaptable, flexible, and willing to move between activities and assignments and to take responsibility for their own actions and their successes and failures” (p28). I agree with this suggestion, as constantly changing tasks depending on demand highlighted to me the importance of being adaptable and understanding that in a fast-paced industry like PR you must be willing to embrace change.
Deuze, M (2009) ‘The Media Logic of Media Work’ Journal of Media Sociology, Vol. 1, Nos. 1/2