Tag Archives: Learning

You have a voice but use it wisely

When you’re an intern, most of your internship will be listening and learning. Internships are for you to learn new things and hone your skills, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a voice. Because I am the only intern in my boss’s office, my boss likes to “pick my brain” as he would say. During your internship you may be asked to give an opinion, idea, etc. but give it wisely. Your voice is very important, especially in the journalism field. Does it mean that you should give your opinion all of the time? No. You don’t want to be the intern that steps on people’s toes or is constantly making comments about every single project and every single task. You’re an intern, embrace it!

I have observed my boss’s social media pages for weeks now and I  have some ideas on how to improve them and gain more followers. I have been a little hesitant but all I have to do is ask if it’s okay to email the two people who do his social media, giving my feedback. Now, I am not going to be rude and say “this, this and that are all wrong. It’s supposed to be this way.” I have experience dealing with social media so I feel like it’s okay to give my opinion and throw out some ideas, but I’ve waited. I could have started off right away throwing out my social media ideas and what needs to be changed. However, I waited till my last week because I was able to make fully observe and take note of what I noticed. I took my time and now I can give strong, credible recommendations on how to improve his social media pages.

“You don’t want your credibility banana to turn brown, but you do want to speak out about what you believe in.” -Bradley Whitford

As you grow as a professional during your undergrad and post-grad years your voice will grow and your opinion will gain value. At the beginning it’s always best to listen, observe and learn about what’s going around you. As you gain more experience you gain the ability to give your opinion and feedback. Your voice will start off shaky but experience helps you hone your voice and figure out what that voice says. Remember though, there will always be someone out there that is smarter and better at their job than you. It’s okay, you have a voice and they have a voice. In journalism, that’s what counts.

You’re an Intern right? Where’s my coffee?

IMG_0556Okay, the general stereotype is that interns get coffee. After 3-5 internships/PR related jobs I can tell you that is not true. If all you do is make copies and get coffee, I’m sorry you have a crappy internship. I am not saying you should be one of those entitled interns who thinks they can do anything and are awesome at what they do. When I was really homesick one day I had one of those moments… thankfully my mom snapped me back into reality through a harsh but needed email. Doing something totally new without any direction is scary, remember my previous post? I had to call medical card and disability services, along with all of these other departments. I had no idea what I was doing. I got frustrated, mad, and all I wanted to do was go home. Like home, home. I said I am not here to do this, this is not PR-related. I was a brat. An entitled little brat, which is how a lot of college students are ending up these days… and according to my mom they make up the unemployment rate for college grads.


One of the other interns in my program has her first internship this summer. She hasn’t really learned any PR-skills yet but I can’t help but feel sorry for her. She has to do the dishes, buy all of the newspapers for the office, clean up after work and close up. Her main job is putting the newspaper clippings about clients into the computer. She continuously tells me, it’s my first internship so it’s okay. Funny thing is, is that I was originally offered this internship and turned it down.

I wasn’t going to pay all of this money to simply answer phones. Unpaid interns are taken for granted but when I have the skill set and some experience, it would be nice to feel like you’re being put to good use. Not being the office b*. I did advise her that if she doesn’t learn anything soon to just ask and say “Hey, I would really like to learn about this.” Internships are supposed to be a learning experience (don’t forget that Starbucks-run intern).

You will make copies, do busy work, answer phones, make annoying calls and maybe get your boss coffee. However, if it’s the right internship you will also get to do actual work. I started out by creating a media database and mailing lists. Looking up every single pub in my T.D.’s county took almost two days with having to make mailing labels. Now I feel good that he has an entire filing cabinet drawer full of different mailing lists and he will always know that I did all of that. So what if you don’t get to write a press release or social media post right away? Your time will come. If it’s your first internship and you don’t really have the skill set yet, please do not let yourself be the office b* but ask questions and be engaged. You may receive more work if they see you are willing to put in the hard work and learn.

After a few weeks of busy work I now write his press releases and press statements. I am currently in the midst of putting together his first newsletter. I write parliamentary questions on his behalf (he doesn’t even need me to read them back to him anymore), write letters to constituents, write speeches, advise him on social media and many other PR-related tasks. Today my boss said, if I win the lotto tomorrow I am going to give you a piece of paper and you will write down the amount I need to pay you each week to keep you here until I quit politics. It was nice to hear that I have done a great job. Interns are highly underestimated. It’s all work and no pay but one day you’ll look at your office intern and say, I know exactly how you feel. Now where’s my coffee?


P.S. Have you checked out Lauren Berger’s book ‘All Work No Pay’? She’s the queen of interns and it’s on my summer reading list!