Taking PR Head-on at my First Internship

By; Anthony DeFelice

“Why public relations” is a question I get asked a lot. As a communications major, the job possibilities were endless, which you would think is exciting but is actually quite intimidating. Initially, I wanted to explore advertising but I felt that the field wouldn’t give me the opportunity to connect with people.

After doing my research and asking some of my friends that are in the PR field, I knew I wanted to have a more involved internship. For me, public relations gives me an outlet to channel my creativity and inventiveness to promote clients in new fun ways, as well as a means to connect with the social world. PR is like a combination of a lot of different jobs. There’s the most obvious promotional aspect of it, but it also incorporates brand management, event planning, media relations, journalism, salesmanship and so much more. To be a PR professional, it basically boils down to being a “jack of all trades.”

FullSizeRenderI stumbled upon one7 communications after researching Las Vegas PR firms and looked through their website. From their luxurious client list, the years of experience the staff had, and reading through previous internship experiences and how active of a role they play in the firm, I knew one7 communications was where I wanted to be. 

With no prior exposure to public relations, or never even having an internship, you can imagine how nervous I was to step through the doors to walk to my new desk. I typically experience clammy hands, but this was different. I was so nervous that my hands were drenched. I could barely keep a pen in my hands as I filled out my paperwork! However, Dawn, Carrie, Blaire, Camile, Nicole, Eric, and Rene assured me that I have nothing to worry about and they would guide me every step of the way. The type of hands-on internship they created transformed me from outsider to a part of the team.

I quickly learned that an internship at one7 is not your typical “coffee run and making copies” type of position. Just after three days at the office, I dove right into my first press release for a major Las Vegas strip restaurant. It was on a new “Wine Passport Program” that Morels Las Vegas Steakhouse & BIstro was introducing. The philosophy behind the internship at one7 is “you just have to do it, that’s how you learn.” With minor tweaks and edits here and there, I now have a handful of releases under my belt and feel more confident in my writing capabilities.

I’ve heard from interns at other firms that they are shown the various tools used in the PR world, but aren’t given the opportunity to use them in a real world setting. I had the complete opposite experience at one7. After being shown tools like CISION and Constant Contact, I was allowed to use the programs myself, with a couple of test runs, to send out releases and pitches. It is kind of nerve racking the first time sending a release out to more than 200 people, but you quickly learn that being a perfectionist is one of those traits associated with being a PR professional.

one7 also isn’t the type of company that keeps their interns behind the screen with busy work. Interns are a part of the team, and front-and-center during client meetings, media luncheons, and events. Their idea of a successful internship experience is that by completion of the internship, the intern should have started a list of contacts of their own to prepare them for their future because in this business it’s all about knowing someone. An example of this was when I was invited to attend a media luncheon with the editor of Las Vegas Magazine at the delicious Table 10 at The Palazzo to discuss future editorial opportunities with our clients. I recently emailed him and wasn’t sure if he remembered me, but when he emailed back he responded saying that he did, and marked another client’s upcoming event on his calendar.

As time progressed, I was given accounts to work with 12805878_1066202190111599_6839718151258912866_nregularly. One event that I am working on right now is the Aid for AIDS of Nevada’s (AFAN) biggest fundraiser of the year,  AIDS Walk Las Vegas. From pitching media, creating a media alert, and attending events to promote the walk, I am working extremely hard with the team and client. Sure there are hard deadlines, stressful moments, but it all will be worth it when I see the finished product. It’s surreal to think about how you become apart of the event and its success.

Not once have I ever felt like “the company intern,” but always a part of the hardworking team. They’ve answered every question I had, and I sure did have a lot, and they also gave me the independence to contact clients and media. The skills and lessons I have learned from one7 communications are ones that I will take with me in the future. I’ve gained a substantial portfolio that I am confident in showing any employer and know how to use programs that are field related. I can’t thank one7 communications for their guidance, patience, and everything they have taught me. My experience here surpassed every expectation I had in an internship and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.