PRSSA Kent State University
by Bobby Batyko
I interned at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium (GCA) located in - you guessed it - Cleveland, Ohio during the summer of 2013. Featuring more than 70,000 square feet of display space, including a 250,000-gallon shark tank, it’s difficult to not be amazed. As a part of the PR/marketing team, each day presented a new set of challenges and objectives both in the office and out in the community.
Every year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has an ‘industry’ day. Various attractions from around the Cleveland area are invited to have booths at the Rock Hall. Then, members of the travel and tourism industry (i.e. hotel managers, concierges, restaurant managers, etc.) are invited to connect with these attractions. This way, when out of town guests need or want something to do, they can be efficiently directed to all that Cleveland and the immediately surrounding areas have to offer.
However, since this event is normally held in the summer, entertainment institutions such as the Playhouse District and other arts venues do not have their winter calendars finalized. Thus, it would make sense to have another industry day, this time in the fall. It was my responsibility to work with our marketing manager and Positively Cleveland to begin arranging the event. This involved creating a list of organizations that might be interested, being on call with Positively Cleveland, attending in-person meetings, sending emails, aiding in organizing the event and helping to generate ideas.
My JMC classes were vital to my success that summer. Both of my projects involved extensive preliminary research, creating goals, structuring objectives, strategies, tactics and everything involved with implementation. Classes such as Principles of PR, Case Studies, Bateman, PR Tactics/Online Tactics and more played vital roles in such strategic thinking and execution. In addition, classes such as Multimedia Technologies played a major role in the design work needed throughout my internship.
My advice for fellow interns is to be as involved as is possible. At the beginning of the summer, especially during the first orientation meetings, the amount of work can seem staggering. Don’t worry about it. Once you begin to get a feel for the organization and its professionals you’ll find yourself staying late and taking work home. Not necessarily because you have to, but because you want to. It doesn’t take long for that passion for PR to kick in. Sign up for everything you can, ask your peers if you can aid in other projects and never be afraid to go that extra mile.