Despite 20th Century Fox’s PR campaign to make June 3 “National Intern Appreciation Day” to coincide with the release of its summer comedy “The Internship,” we are all about real (albeit obscure) observances. Or at least ones that are real according to some corners of the internet – such as today, July 9, the original Intern Appreciation Day.
That being said, we think it is important to appreciate our intern every day! After all, we have all been there (er, at least most of us.) So, as our gift to you, Kelly, we bestow upon you – and interns everywhere - our wisdom gained from internships-past!
I had a part-time job as a weekend sportscaster at KNAZ-TV in Flagstaff. After working for a few months, I convinced my college advisor and my news director that it should also qualify as in internship, for which I received nine or 10 college credits. The lesson: it is what you make of it.
Abbie (interned at The Pointe Resorts):
I learned that I am terrible at taking pictures. One of my responsibilities during my internship was to take pictures for the various newsletters we produced. I’d venture to say that very few of mine were used. Good thing I’m a pretty decent writer or I’d have to rethink this PR career.
Katie (interned at none other than HMA Public Relations):
In every internship or job experience there is something to be learned. Lucky for me, my experience turned into a full-time job. But if there is one thing I have learned while being here at HMA it’s that questions are a good thing. Never assume, always ask.
I had a slew of internships, ranging from assembling press kits for an hour a week for a non-profit to reporting for the East Valley Tribune, composing newsletters for a community college to being a full-blown account coordinator, just with part-time hours. The best experiences I had were opportunities outside my normal scope of work that I jumped on, including covering a double murder-suicide, writing the 2008 Devil Picks guide for GetOut! (EVT entertainment supplement…and my first cover story of sorts) and acting as Shaquille O’Neal’s bodyguard!
Even though those were all great memories, I think the most valuable lesson I learned was cultivating mutually beneficial relationships. The connections I made during my internships have helped me land my current job and I even pitch stories to former coworkers! Huge help when getting acclimated with the media.
Oh and KEEP PHYSICAL COPIES ALL YOUR CLIPS! (or they’ll get archived like my murder story, never to be seen again.)
The most valuable lesson that I learned on my first “real” job at the Urban Tulsa Weekly, the alternative news weekly in Tulsa, Okla., was the concept of ownership. That when you take on a project or a task to give 110 percent and make it better than you ever thought it could be. This has stayed with me throughout my career and I was lucky to have great mentors to help guide me along the way.
While interning for Ted Anderson (then of Solomon Friedman Advertising, now of Anderson Advertising and still a bud), I got the chance to play the “movie publicist” role, as the bulk of the agency’s work was advance movie screenings and promotions for large studios, staffing as many as 15 screenings of the same movie per month (I think I saw Bend it Like Beckham and Napoleon Dynamite a combined 40 times before either ever made its wide release). In addition to learning the intricacies of theater employees’ personal dramas while staffing said screenings each day, I also learned to get things in writing – no matter what – thanks to AMANDA BYNES. I kid you not. Back in 2003, Bynes starred in a delightful fish-out-of-water comedy called What a Girl Wants with Mark Darcy – er – Colin Firth.
Then-Arizona Republic Film Critic Bill Muller (who we lost in 2007 to cancer far too soon) sat next to me the media screening for the film, where he proceeded to laugh for 90 straight minutes, so much so I thought he was going to be escorted out. Afterwards, I chatted with him about how much he liked the film, as part of my job was to interview the media post-screening and report to the movie studio execs on what they could expect locals to say about any given film to their audiences. Muller liked it so much, he asked for approval on additional passes for the next screening to bring his nieces or friend’s kids (can’t remember which.) Elated, I submitted my report that night – What a Girl Wants was ADORED by the Arizona Republic!
Except, it wasn’t – at least not as beloved as Muller made me believe. While personally adored by Muller, in his professional capacity he called it fluff, goofy and a throw-away movie. He may have even said to wait for the DVD! Crushed, I also had to report this to the bosses. From then on, I always brought a voice recorder to movie screenings, going so far as to send critics their interviews after screenings!
On a bit less-funny note, I also had the chance to dress up as several movie “characters” during my time as an intern – once as the Bob the Tomato from Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. Just to see me in all my glory, my mom and dad showed up at the promotional appearance and ragged on me mercilessly. Someone took a photo of us all together – me in my ridiculous costume and them laughing at me. That picture ended up being the last one I ever got with my dad – he passed away (like Muller, also only in his 40s and also far too young) about a week later. Oh – and we both don’t like tomatoes, as costumes or otherwise.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your internship or fist job?