Why Diversity in Communications Matters

By Janay Tyson

Growing up, I was always fascinated with pop culture and the influence that celebrities, actors and entertainers had on the world. I loved seeing images of the lavish lives they lived and the opportunities they could have because of their craft. Yet, the older I got, I realized that there weren’t many individuals that looked like me through various forms of media. If there were people of color represented, they played typecast roles or were portrayed in a negative light and didn’t seem to get the promotions that their white counterparts did. Representation in media matters because with the changing world that we live in, the content we create, who we portray and how, must reflect the population and the diverse individuals that live within it.

In an article named, “The Media’s Lack of Diversity and Why It Matters to You,” written by Michael Nam, he explains how detrimental the lack of diversity in media can be in shaping the opinions of society. Not only are the images we see on television and what is being said about certain groups and communities affect how we view them, but also perceptions of ourselves. A 2012 study done by CNN “showed that self-esteem among white boys increased while that of white girls and Black children in general decreased with consumption of television media.” A lack of representative diversity can deeply affect ambitions and aspirations of the underrepresented from an early age.” The content that the media chooses to broadcast has a very influential role in how younger generations and people of color view themselves.

How does this fit into your position as an intern or when finding an internship you ask? I believe diversity is a key component to any successful workplace environment. When looking for internships, research the company’s leadership and values to see if they align with a perspective that reflects diversity in thought and background. Also, if you are a student of color, apply to any and all internships because the more representation they have, the more voices are in the room that otherwise might have been there before. While working at my internship this past summer, I made it a point to always speak up in meetings or bring up points that I didn’t think were noticed or mentioned due to working in a mainly white-dominated office. During my time, I found that my input was appreciated and well-received because I brought a conversation to the table that was not considered before. I completed various projects that enabled me to make an impact on the staff and company in hopes of diversifying their brand and messaging. My advice for any student would be to make your voice heard and don’t be afraid to ask questions or challenge opinions when working for an internship because supervisors actually enjoy when you speak up; it shows you’re paying attention and using critical thinking skills on the job.

Representation matters because our world is changing at a rapid pace and all people deserve to have positive images of themselves in the news stories we read, shows we watch, companies where we work, or music we listen to. “Globally, individuals on average spent 456.1 minutes each day consuming media last year,” said Rani Molla, a writer for Recode, a technology news website, and “Mobile internet consumption accounted for 19 percent of all global media consumption last year.” Because media is how we gain most information about the world, it’s time we start looking at the ways we describe and portray women, children and minorities who are most affected by this. We must move away from discriminatory hiring practices, generate news that doesn’t highlight crime or other negative acts and diversify our casts lists and the roles actors/actresses are given to play. Society is becoming more multicultural every day and because of this, our world and the media will have to follow suit.






The Importance of Confidence

By Arielle Berlinsky

Confidence will take you a long way in the process of searching for internship positions.  Avoid the stress and instead of starting the process with the fearful thought that you may not be good enough for a company, try reminding yourself that they would be lucky to have you.  This will help to relieve some of anxiety and those overwhelming thoughts.

Each day, start looking on the Communications Hotlists and social media, EJN, LinkedIn, and other sites to start finding positions.  You will also feel more confident in applying for positions if you have your resume, a cover letter, recommendation letters, and examples of your work always on hand in a folder on your desktop.  This way, when the application asks for these elements, you will have them already to submit.

Once you have made it to the second step of the application process, you will begin interviewing.  Confidence and a smile will take you far.   Most people do not realize it, but if you smile while you answer questions on the phone, it actually sounds happier, presents confidence, and makes your answers sound more appealing.  If you have an in-person interview, you do not have to smile the entire time, but make sure to flash those pearly whites at least a few times during your meeting.  There is no reason to be nervous in an interview because you will be discussing the topic you know best…YOU!  To boost your level of confidence for preparing for the interview, look up examples of questions that may be asked online so you can prepare some possible answers ahead of time.

Congratulations!  You made it past the application and interviewing steps.  Now, you are in a new workplace, so how can confidence be carried into your new position?  When I got to my internship, I greeted everyone I ran into and introduced myself with a smile and confident handshake from the first day.  It is important not to feel intimidated by the new environment and people around you.  At the end of the day, they are going to want to teach you what they know and help you to feel comfortable with completing your new tasks.  At the end of my first day, I sat down in the CEO’s office to discuss what I wanted to gain from my internship.  I also explained my skills, interests and more so he would know what projects I work well on during my time there.  Expressing your goals will help others to assist you in making the most of your position.   When you believe in yourself and what you are capable of, you will go far.  Now, go and conquer your application process with confidence. Good luck!

Balancing time abroad with an internship, so you can get the most out of both!

By Hanna Anderson

A semester abroad with classes and an internship may initially sound overwhelming. Balancing the time to get in sightseeing and travel, course work and hours in the internship office is surely not a walk in the park; however, it is completely possible to do both and get the absolute most out of each!

First thing’s, first. You must familiarize yourself with a planner. Writing down how your days will be spent is essential so you can figure out when you will be working and doing homework vs. when you will be exploring.

Secondly, it is very important to immerse yourself fully into your internship experience. Working alongside individuals native to the area can teach you more about the culture than simply taking photos with its famous landmarks.

Perhaps most importantly, learning to prioritize can help you to choose what is best for your study abroad experience. A work party on the same Saturday you wanted to take the train into Paris? In a case like this, you would have to decide which opportunity could be of more value to your overall experience abroad. If the party is optional, and you will be surrounded by the same people you are everyday at the job, they will likely understand, if you have to take a rain check. However, if you feel like you see potential in additional networking with your colleagues, you may consider the party a priority for your future.

At the end of the day, decisions will have to be made to get the most out of both your internship and your time abroad. Remember, dive head first into every opportunity handed to you. Meeting local inhabitants in your host country can actually improve your overall abroad experience because it is a unique way to learn more about it. Organizing your schedule to find an equilibrium can make for a less stressful time and be more beneficial for you, your employers, and your study abroad friends.

How to land an internship and maximize the experience

By Bryan Anderson

It was toward the end of my freshman year when I first began looking for internships. Searching through the database inside the School of Communications Internship Office, I stumbled across the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Though I have an interest in journalism, I wanted to perfect my multimedia skills. After making a cold call to the person in charge of hiring interns, I landed a sit-down interview in Greensboro. Because I didn’t have a car at the time, a friend was kind enough to drive me over. Despite being in my first year of college, I was selected as a media/production intern because of my work in student media at Elon University. I became the first freshman college student the organization had hired in its 10-year history.

Throughout my internship, I worked to hone in on my multimedia journalism skills. I was always the last to leave the office and said ‘yes’ to every opportunity thrown my way. When I make a commitment, I like to invest all of my energy into making my employers proud. By being open to new ideas and willing to embrace challenges, I was able to excel in my internship and was offered another internship the following summer.

In the fall of my sophomore year, I met with a journalism professor who used to work at the Raleigh News & Observer. One of his former students also interned there during her sophomore year. He put me in touch with the internship recruiter. After submitting clips and making multiple phone calls, I was able to get an internship position for the N&O.

Not knowing what to expect on my first day, I was assigned to the political reporting department where I wrote about 40 articles on a host of different topics. I also interviewed several high-profile candidates, including Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. I was able to make the most of my internship experience by performing tasks without being asked, offering story ideas and accepting any article assignment that came my way.

Advice for obtaining an internship

  • Be confident and take the initiative to contact people
  • Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you
  • Talk to faculty members and fellow students about their past internships
  • Give and take: Help others if they have questions for you and reach out to acquaintances
  • Search online for employer contact information and specific individuals
  • Make your cover letter stand out. I enjoy using an anecdotal paragraph to talk about how one experience reflects on the larger skills I have to offer

Advice for maximizing the internship experience

  • Say ‘yes’
  • Ask question if unsure how to do something
  • Be the first to arrive and the last to leave

Standing Out as a Professional Intern

By Perry Elyaderani

When you begin your internship, you’ll immediately get a sense for how much, or how little, interns matter in that workplace. If there are only a couple of interns in your department, you’ll get more attention, which can be both a blessing and a curse. If there are a lot, you can find yourself competing for attention. Both present their unique challenges, but standing out as a professional intern is surprisingly easy, even in an extremely competitive environment.

First, dress appropriately. As a general rule, dressing one half-step to one step above what is expected is best. If your place is casual, dress business casual. If it’s business, you probably don’t need to pack a suit, but try to accessorize up a bit. It seems trivial, but dressing up is a large chunk of how people see you as an intern. I was interning at a news station over the summer, and a reporter said, “I need an intern like you.” Later, I learned it had nothing to do with my ability; rather, he said it was because I was the only one who showed up in a tie and a tie clip every day, ready to be sent out. Dressing up every day will immediately set you above most other interns. Strange, but true.

Secondly, stay humble. You’ll be surprised how many interns are expressively annoyed around their bosses. DON’T DO THIS. It sounds ridiculous, but always asking for more work, always seeming thrilled about the worst jobs, and never acting as if you’re above any task will make you stand out significantly. Everyone is assigned grunt work. If you stay positive, your boss will notice. Then, you can steadily inquire about the work you really want to do.

Thirdly, be professional with your employers. When you email any employee, use courtesy titles and last names. Don’t use their first name unless they have given you permission to do so.

Lastly, write handwritten, personalized thank you cards to everyone you’ve had a conversation. It’s brutally time-consuming to individualize these, but it really makes you stand out. Bonus points if you throw your business card in there. Seriously.

Interning, especially when you’re subconsciously competing with other interns for attention, can be intimidating. But by dressing well, never complaining, and conducting yourself professionally, you’ll be surprised how much you stand out.

How to Cater Your Internship Toward YOU

By Kristina Lee

First, let’s take a minute to give yourself a pat on the back. You got through the application process and you have made it to your internship. Congratulations!

Now, it’s more important than ever to think about what you want to get out of your real-world experience. By this I mean, do you want to be managing the company’s social media? Are you interested in improving your videography skills? Perhaps you want to learn more about writing scripts…

Whatever it is, remember that your internship should be a learning experience. Of course it’s important to get tasks from your supervisor, but it’s also important to utilize your strengths and explore your own interests while you are able to work in a real-world environment with individuals who are willing to help you succeed!

So, how do you personalize your internship?

Schedule a meeting with your internship supervisor your first week to discuss what you would like to learn and accomplish throughout this experience. Talk about your personal goals, your interests, and projects you want to work on. Ask if there are any opportunities for you to get “hands-on” experience. By having this discussion with your supervisor, she will be better able to determine how to best utilize your skill set and assign you more interesting tasks.

When I was an editorial intern for Girls’ Life Magazine, my supervisor and I had this discussion. I explained that I was interested in working with the publication’s social media. I also shared that I wanted to improve my writing skills while gaining experience in event management. She took all of this information into consideration and, that same day, I was assigned to schedule social media posts across multiple platforms and write articles for the website. The day after, I was assigned to work on social media for an ad campaign; and later on, I eventually became involved in the planning of the magazine’s annual Fashion Bash event. I was able to gain experience in all of these areas because of one conversation with my supervisor.

Another tip for personalizing your internship would be to pitch your own stories or project ideas. This, of course, means speaking up. Don’t be afraid to tell your supervisor about your great idea. You never know if they may think that your idea is better than their own! If they do, you’ll most likely be able take on that task yourself. And the best part? You’ll be passionate about it!

At Girls’ Life, I pitched all of my own article topics and was able to write about my own interests. Not only did this make the process exciting, but it also made it extremely rewarding.

So, now that you have advice on how to personalize your internship, take it into your own hands! Communicating with your internship supervisor is key and if you take this advice into consideration, you’ll get the most out of your internship experience. Good luck!

Making the Most of Your Summer Internship: Keep an Open Mind

By Elizabeth Zimmerman

So you landed your dream summer internship, but how can you make the most of it? One of the most important lessons I learned during my summer internship experience is to keep an open mind throughout all parts of the experience.

My first day at my internship, I was thrust into a series of “onboarding” sessions to help me get a feel for the agency and for the clients who I would be working with for the duration of my 12-week internship. Throughout the majority of my sessions, I was both overwhelmed and excited – especially when I discovered I would get to touch so many of the agency’s major accounts. However, when I found out that I would spend hours with an unfamiliar client, I wasn’t nearly as excited as I was when I found out that I would get to work on major consumer product goods accounts that had way more name recognition.

Amazingly throughout the course of the summer, the hours I got to work on the unfamiliar client ended up being some of my favorites. The account services team I worked with was so energetic and fun, and the client was so appreciative and receptive to my work. It was definitely a rewarding experience. I wish I had kept a more open mind at the beginning of my internship because I think I would have had an even better experience with the client and the team from the very start, instead of the weeks it took for me to warm up to them.

Keeping an open mind also helped me when it came to making meaningful connections and relationships at my job site. The internship agency placed a strong emphasis on cultivating relationships between their interns and every department (media planning/buying, client engagement, creative, etc.) so I made sure to make the most of these meetings. Even though I didn’t necessarily have an interest in working in each of these areas, going into these meetings with an open mind and a willingness to learn from anyone and everyone helped me to learn more about potential career opportunities. It also helped me to understand how the work that I was doing as an intern could be applied to each area of the agency.

An internship is a learning opportunity — not only about the industry, but also about you. Keeping an open mind and having a constant willingness to learn every day helped me to succeed at my internship and helped me to discern the kinds of work that I want to pursue in the future.