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Santa Claus, Samantha Jones, Olivia Pope… and My Summer Public Relations Internship

First days are filled with different emotions, feelings and thoughts. We’ve all experienced those first day jitters. For me: new experiences and people have always taken me a little longer to adjust because I’m quiet and shy. When I learned I would be starting my public relations internship at Franco Public Relations Group, I didn’t feel those nervous feelings that I usually experience.

I received this opportunity through my best friend’s internship with City Connect and its new program spearheaded by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent GDYT. Many people tell me I waited too long to get a public relations internship, but after this experience, I couldn’t disagree more. When I officially declared my minor in January 2015, there were many internship opportunities for credit, but I wanted an experience. I didn’t want a public relations internship where I was filing papers like some of my friends, or bored all day answering phones; I wanted a real picture of the profession itself and of course the TV lover in me wanted to see if the profession was really as glamorous as portrayed by Samantha Jones  in Sex in the City, or as drama-filled as it is portrayed by Olivia Pope in Scandal.

In my short time, six weeks to be exact, I have learned a lot, acquired skills, and experienced every day operations at a Detroit public relations agency including:

Those traditional public relations fundamentals every public relations intern is exposed to…

  • Media monitoring
  • Clipping news stories from different media outlets
  • Drafting calendar listings
  • Distributing news releases

Then there were the more fun aspects of a public relations internship…

  • Putting together GMRENCEN-branded selfie sticks
  • Creating Coney Island Hard Beer media kits for Powers Distributing
  • Participating in a team leadership assessment activity
  • And of course, becoming one of Santa’s elves for a Salvation Army Christmas in July segment on WDIV-TV.

But before I knew it, my six-week program and my first official public relations internship was coming to an end and I had an experience that none of my friends can say they had.

Little did I know my experience was not over yet. Transforming into one of Santa’s elves must have made a good impression on Santa because on my very last day I was in for a surprise. Mid-way through the day, I was offered an official fall public relations internship with Franco. Of course, I accepted immediately turning what I originally thought to be a short summer internship experience into much more.

Interns Christian, Sasha and Megan transforming into Santa’s elves during The Salvation Army’s Christmas in July TV segment on WDIV- Channel 4 four o’clock news

Interns Christian, Sasha and Megan transforming into Santa’s elves during The Salvation Army’s Christmas in July TV segment on WDIV- Channel 4 four o’clock news

As for exploring whether Samantha Jones and Olivia Pope’s characters really do the public relations profession any justice – I found that every day isn’t filled with celebrities and huge grand openings, and every night isn’t filled with trying to cover up a client’s horrible secret …thankfully.

What was your first internship experience like? I’d love to know.  Share in the comment section below.

Christian Harper is a PR Coordinator for Franco Public Relations Group and Oakland University student. You can reach her at 313-567-5093 or harper@franco.com.