By Hanna Moore
When I accepted an internship at a public relations firm in Cleveland for the summer, I expected it to be affected by the Republican National Convention in some way or another. With 50,000 people coming to the city, I figured I would work from home during the convention and avoid going downtown at all costs.
However, this was not the case at all.
Dix & Eaton works with many influential Cleveland companies, such as Destination Cleveland, Cleveland Plus, Playhouse Square and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As Dix & Eaton’s top leadership told us during various staff meetings, no other agency was as involved with telling Cleveland’s story as us.
I joined Dix & Eaton’s RNC team at the end of May, but the rest of the team had been working on this since Cleveland was announced as the host city two years ago. I found out how much planning went into effective media relations, from developing strategies to going on media trips to meet with journalists from New York, Washington, D.C. and London, as well as planning out pitches and releases.
Interning in Cleveland during the RNC and witnessing one of the most important weeks in Dix & Eaton’s history as a firm provided me with fun memories and career-shaping experiences.
Some of my responsibilities during the RNC included compiling daily media updates with important news for a downtown client, creating daily media coverage reports to track stories written about Cleveland while helping identify our placements and sending out pitches to a list of more than 400 reporters from national publications.
We were able to see a number of positive stories come from the pitches and media trips that covered Cleveland’s economy, downtown renovation and overall comeback.
I was surprised to have such a hands-on role at the convention and excited to be able to make contact with prominent journalists, both via email and in person. The other interns and I walked around East 4th St., the central hub of many media outlets, to hand out business cards and flash drives filled with pertinent information about Cleveland, story ideas and expert sources to journalists.
Being downtown during the convention was something I’ll never forget. Walking down East 4th St., I saw the Today Show, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Twitter and CNN set up remote television studios and offices and produce content live from Cleveland every day. I was able to stand in the crowd at the TODAY Show for two mornings, sit in on a Morning Briefing hosted by the Atlantic and attend a live taping of the Daily Show (unrelated to my internship at Dix & Eaton, but still an incredible experience). Just standing on East 4th, you were bound to see famous journalists like Tom Brokaw, Carol Costello and Tamron Hall walk past to cover stories and conduct interviews.
Witnessing the hard work that Dix & Eaton, the city of Cleveland, the Host Committee and everyone involved put into making the convention successful and helping position the city positively was a great experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn so much from a team of experienced public relations and communications professionals and help out with such important work. As a proud Clevelander, I couldn’t be happier to help contribute positive coverage of the city on a national level.
Hanna Moore is a senior public relations major at Kent State and serves as PRSSA Kent’s web and social media manager. Follow her on Twitter at @_hannamoore or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Maggie Wachtel
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity this past week to attend the Republican National Convention as a part of my job as a Marketing Assistant with Kent State’s College of Communication and Information.
When I was first presented with this opportunity, I was a little hesitant. I don’t really consider myself politically involved. I watch the news and read Twitter, but you will never catch me having a debate on fiscal or domestic policy. But I knew this opportunity would be once in a lifetime and I couldn’t miss out.
CCI partnered with Purple America, a civic organization focusing on the shared values of Democrats and Republicans. Purple America set up the Purple Tent where they had an awesome lineup of speakers to talk about topics like the media and politics, civility, and millennials.
Purple America landed a lot of great speakers, such as Matt Dowd of ABC News, Kellyanne Conway, a member of Donald Trump’s campaign and Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate. The conversations that went on between the panelists was really eye-opening, specifically the conversation on civility between presidential candidates.
I have noticed the months leading up to this election have been more insane than usual, specifically just the pettiness between the Republican presidential candidates. The speakers, on this particular panel, blamed social media for this problem, and I agree 100%.
Matt Dowd, of ABC News, used the example of the comments Senator Marco Rubio made about Donald Trump having small hands. Social media took that comment and ran with it. Marco Rubio became a trending topic on twitter, not for his political platform, but for making comments about Donald Trump’s HANDS. It is completely insane when you think about it. And it’s all because of social media, everything creates instant attention.
A candidate can make a stupid comment at an event, then reporters and attendees can instantly tweet it and the world knows. We don’t have to wait to hear about it on the nightly news or read about it in the morning paper. This is the age we live in now, and it’s only going to intensify as the presidential election approaches.
All the panelists agreed the days of being civil with opponents were over. It’s now a more popular tactic for candidates to focus on tearing each other apart, rather than focus on what they can do as president.
But no matter what your political beliefs and opinions are, I think anyone could benefit from attending an event like this. It truly opened my eyes to more political issues that captivate our country and I think I walked away a more informed citizen.
Maggie is a senior public relations major at Kent State and a member of PRSSA Kent. Follow her on Twitter at @maggie_wachtel.
This post was originally published on Kent State's College of Communication and Information's Why CCI blog.