-The life and times of a media intern by Juanie Willemse
There are two sides to every story, a reaction to every action and a job with a complementing counterpart. In the vast and colourful world of Media, there are about as many jobs relating and tied to it as there are possible outcomes to Edward Lorenz’s chaos theory.
Ever since I can remember I’ve been in love with reading, writing and basically anything remotely close to literature. Obviously this meant I would have to pursue this thirst and hunger for the English language and dive head first into whatever publishing or editing role I could get my grimy hands on after school, but instead, I decided to take a different approach.
Rather than rush down a path I had no insight of, I chose to take the year off and test the novelty of my passion and started interning at different areas of the publishing and writing world which ultimately detoured me towards the media universe.
Here’s my take on working as an intern for a newspaper and a PR company:
The Newspaper: A world of printing, planning and the lack of both.
Working at a newspaper, even if it is for just a day, is a must for not only aspiring writers, publishers or pro’s, but every casual civilian strolling the streets going about their daily lives. These people have a tough job, unfit for the faint of heart, and it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
The interactive hustle and bustle of a journalist keeps a constant current of literate knowledge flowing, all while you subconsciously handle stray issues being thrown your way, for example, sudden uprisings in the public sector and pushed deadlines due to a dreaded issue at the printers.
Content meetings between journalists and editors happen at least two to three times prior to the printing date – officially- and a dozen other times – unofficially. These plans, though very precise and often intuitive, are mere guidelines to follow. Crossing or morphing these lines into something else is not a severe trespass at all, in fact, if these plans aren’t adapted or scratched at least several times before the printing date, then it might not be the best story out there.
Watching the staff operate at a newspaper is like seeing the mechanical spinning and cohesive working of a machine. Journalist and editors have a symbiotic relationship making teamwork seem like a second nature. Due to the indefinite amount of work coming in around the clock, everyone is responsible for the quality control of articles.
Working at a newspaper is an adrenaline rush filled with thrills and excitement rarely found anywhere else. The uncertainty of what awaits guarantees that you won’t be repeating the same mundane task twice.
PR: We put the “PR” in “PRecision”
You might think PR is immensely different from publishing and writing, I’m here to tell you that it’s not; at all.
PR companies are the storytellers of the corporate world, with their main goal being to tell the story of your company or brand. This means they need to write, a lot.
In PR you’ll come to terms with writing anything from a press release to a blog post. And that’s not even mentioning all the reading and editing you’ll have to do.
Just like publishing, PR and journalism are two sides of the same coin. Journalists need PR companies to create good stories and PR companies need journalists to write good stories. It’s as simple as that.
That being said, they are also greatly different regarding the way they get things done. PR is much more focused and diligent, despite it having its own challenges popping up at the most unseen times.
The amount of thought that goes into a client or event is staggering. There are meetings about meetings and yearly plans drawn up a year in advance. And yet, anything can happen, no matter the strategic quality of your run order for the day.
But don’t be fooled by the amount of desk work done. PR can be just as exhilarating and unpredictable as journalism, if not more. One of the most unique and notable perks of PR is that you’ll be able to get into the most exclusive and hidden parts of the media.
PR is an inclusion into the tight circle surrounding the lime light, allowing you to peek through the looking glass and into the secret, unknown world never shown on camera.