As Iast semester was ending, I came across the strategic PR class, Hawk Communications. This was a near-perfect time for me to enroll in a course similar to an internship, despite having similar experiences. Like a majority of my classmates, I selected this class with minimum knowledge before Professor Green sent out an announcement that explained in great depth the game plan for the semester. My knowledge of working for a media agency before Hawk Communication can be considered rudimentary when compared to the soft skills that I learned elsewhere.
This semester I had some health challenges that made completing the easiest of tasks aggravating. With these complications, I had to step back a bit and attend therapy. Being in CAPS I was able to be more of a receptive student and it gave me an understanding of healthy coping methods and routines to follow.
It was an honor to be able to work with the interns of the New Jersey Winegrowers Association and Diverse Sources. It was not my first time setting up weekly meetings, as I had learned how while I was an orientation leader for Montclair. I was newly introduced to the constant email correspondence with Tom Cosentino, Ashely LeSoine, and Jesus Perez. Following through with email threads and collaborating over Zoom is how we stayed in touch throughout the majority of the semester. Clear communication is a soft skill that I am glad I had a chance to improve upon. It is crucial if I am going to be successful in the future.
Naturally, when it comes to curating content, I have parameters set to designs, flyers, posts and other forms of communication. Without this structure from the interns or Tom, it forced me to be more daring and confident in my abilities. It was surprising how, for so long, I was used to simply following previous examples of work and not doing much free thought. Coming up with my visions for how promotions would work gave new meaning to what I produced. Although we were a group, I had to grow to be more proactive when it came to choosing events to publicize.
By far the most difficult role I had to play was being the researcher for Diverse Sources NJ. Taking what was in the shared folder, there were several templates to use for outreach. The idea of the database is to raise awareness of the need for journalists to expand the sources they get for articles and ensure an inclusive newsroom. I utilized SEO search terms like New Jersey’s diverse sources, reporting sources, diverse experts, Center for Cooperative Media, to boost their presence. Emailing journalists and other prominent people to contribute to the Diverse Sources NJ database by submitting their profiles or sharing it with their colleges. Sadly I did not get as much traction as I would have liked with the email outreach, but I did have success curating my diverse experts. Through my research and outreach, I added approximately 15 new sources. Creating media lists is like moving a stone up a hill. It’s difficult to start and you must constantly work to gather momentum and anything but that will cause it to come back down the hill. Promoting my list on the link tree on Instagram would have helped me get the “stone” up and over the hill. The provided a foundation for the next set of interns.
This student-run strategic promotion agency class showed me all the potential that can come out of reaching out to organizations and the day-to-day operations of working in an agency. It was an invaluable experience that everyone who has the opportunity to take the class should do so. No matter if they are highly interested in this area, it is great to be well versed in business operations and strategy.