The Intern Speaks

As I began my senior year at Indiana University, one thing seemed to reverberate again and again in the halls of the Journalism School: “It’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know…”

So when I bought an airplane ticket to Atlanta and showed up at PRSA’s Real World PR 2008 – alone – I figured I had my work cut out for me. I spent the day stepping outside of my so-called “comfort zone,” approaching strangers and asking questions. At lunch, I recognized the logos on the nametags of two people who sat across from me. I jumped at the chance to pull up a chair with Jessica and Renee from c21 – an agency I found during pre-conference research (and that I secretly decided was already my favorite).

Following the conference, I kept in touch, flew back for an interview for the summer internship position, and got it. In May, I packed up my car and headed south.

Three months later, I’m sitting here on the last day of my internship. One thing’s for sure: I’ve come a long way.

c21 is a small agency – so I realized quickly that I would have a lot of different responsibilities. Did I get the mail every day? Yes. Did I file stacks of media clips? You bet. Did I update databases? Oh yeah. But I also conducted media relations, participated in creative brainstorms, wrote press releases and e-newsletter articles, and even managed some projects of my own.

After drafting a press release for our client and distributing it to local media, I pitched a story, secured interviews, and saw it through until the story ran in the DeKalb Neighbor. My first clip – and a bump in OnTheSide’s Web site traffic!

In addition to traditional media relations and PR, I’ve been a part of our digital service practice group, c21i. I’ve worked on social media integration, link building, keyword development and copy suggestions, and – now – blog posting.

I’d like to think I’m the only intern that has had such a great experience, but I’m sure there are others who feel equally satisfied with their internships. What I do know is that not many have been lucky enough to work with a team of women as awesome as the c21ers.

These ladies know what they’re doing, and the best part is they love doing it. I’ve been impressed over and over – and not because my desk is next to a wall full of awards (not shelf – wall). I’ve experienced a hard-working team environment, client dedication, and innovative PR tactics at their best.

Maybe it’s what you know. Maybe it’s who. Either way, I’m confident what I learned from, and who I know at c21 have gotten me off to a pretty great start.