So I am now officially a third year PR and Communication student. Which means that this summer I had to do my course demanded three weeks of work placement. But although it sounds like a job it was actually quite nice to do it. I’ve not only gained some experience in a PR office but actually saw the way professionals do their jobs.
And as you’ll see I liked it so much the first time, I did two work placements. I am originally from Romania, so I thought it was only good to experience both the work atmosphere in the UK and my home country. I’m going to say a few words about both since they were pretty different.
First, at Neil Reading PR, I had the opportunity to work in a medium-sized office for some pretty big names in the entertainment and lifestyle sections. Being a PR agency meant that they handle more than one account which was not at all like my second work placement.
We had somewhat of a routine and I’m going to rapidly go through it. Every day started with some media scanning, of course. What that basically meant is that we read through various publications, national and regional, as well as online, checking for either press releases NRPR sent out or interviews with the clients. These articles were then scanned and put into the clients folders on the computers as well as inside the individual client’s binder by mentioning the date and publication they appeared in, also being marked in a coverage sheet for the client to see.
The day usually continued with some online or administrative work. Updating databases, coverage and media sheets or just generally assisting the account executives with any other work needed. Carrying on, it was either time to write something (a press release, a feature, etc), to contact journalists in regards to media coverage or on some occasions attending a brainstorm meeting or doing research.
I learned a lot working at NRPR, firstly about the work but also about how PR agencies function. I got involved in a number of tasks from research to handling social media accounts and writing and distributing written material. And so I was quite proud when from my first few days as a PR intern I had actually written a press release that actually made it to journalists.
My second work placement was a little bit more informal than the one at NRPR. I did two weeks of part-time (mostly 3-4h a day, but I stayed longer when needed) work at the PR department of a well established Romanian publishing house, Polirom.
First thing that struck me was that it was only one account to take care of. Being inside a company’s PR department means you only have to deal with work for one that company, an aspect which sometimes seems easier than handling more accounts. Even though there were different things I had to deal with (event management, media relations, maintaining communication with the authors, etc) they were all still relating to one single brand and carried the same tone of voice and style.
While at NRPR it was all about being a chameleon intern, for instance, writing a press release for one client could be very different from another, at Polirom it was all about the maintaining the image cohesive throughout my entire work.
The two weeks at Polirom involved maintaining communication with the publishing house’s authors, as well as handling media relations, external affairs and online presence. I also helped with the organisation of several events and assisted designers in promoting the company’s image.
I loved working inside an agency as well as a company’s PR department; both NRPR and Polirom were challenging in their own ways. I’d like to think I adapted well to both work atmospheres and styles and now I couldn’t say I have a favorite. These two opportunities definitely helped me see PR work differently and I’m glad I got to experience them.