My Experience as a High School PR Intern

by Nathan DeJesus, Intern

Public Relations (PR) is responsible for a lot of behind-the-scenes interactions with the news that consumers and readers in the business sector digest daily. When I started at Issues Management Group at the beginning of the summer I didn’t know what to expect. I thought PR was strictly helping a business, or a person, out of a rut or scary situation. PR is essential in those situations, but there are so many other factors that go into making sure your client is getting the visibility and positive positioning they deserve.

During my first week, getting my bearings, I wrote some mock press releases and media advisories which were fun and creatively challenging. Writing in someone else’s voice is not something I’m familiar with, but I had a lot of fun thinking about how leaders in different industries talk and what their quotes would sound like. It was also during my first week when I began to understand what working within a company is supposed to look like. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been impressed with the warmth that every employee, no matter the title, brings to their meetings and how well each of them mesh together during staff meetings.

Another realization I had was that TV shows are not very accurate in their representation of interns. I know I probably should have known that, but the way Issues Management Group treats interns is so genuine and compassionate. Unlike in pop culture, Issues Management Group managers asks if you have the time to help. They don’t just shove the work down your throat, then complain if you take too long from being overloaded. I was given plenty of opportunities that felt like choices rather than feeling obligated or forced to take them. I’ve been able to meet so many new faces online, since my whole life has been on a laptop for the past 18 months and each person that I’ve met has brought new perspective and energy to calls.

My favorite moment during this internship has to be when I was writing a testimony for a bill being brought to a Mass. Senate hearing regarding inclusive sexual education. It was a topic that I’m passionate about and it had a great segue into talking about how I think the HIV/AIDS epidemic should be included in history classes around the state. When I started my week working with the public affairs team, I expected it to be my least favorite week because I’ve branded myself as non-political for as long as I can remember. To my surprise, during a one-on-one call with Molly Horan, a Vice President on our public affairs team, we talked about Boston Public Schools’ new exam school policies and she helped me to realize that I had a pretty political answer. That small interaction made me look more deeply at my political values, and I can now say that I’m definitely a political person when the topic directly affects me or people I’m close to.

As my internship comes to a close, I’m leaving with the want for more. Like numerous other employees who started as interns with Issues Management Group, I want to come back to tackle more that has to be done. I’ve touched writing, and social media, media lists and even calling on people to support those who are trying to pass bills. Each of these tasks has strengthened already present skills or helped me gain new skills that I didn’t know I needed. There are some things I have to work on, of course. I want to work on being a bit more outgoing. PR is based on relationships and inter-personal communications and my anxiety and Autism do not make that easy at all, but I’m determined to get past that barrier in order to truly enjoy and get the most out of the next experience I have like this.

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