by Benjamin Jordan
I served as a Public Affairs intern at Stratacomm, a public relations agency in downtown Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2013. The company consists of approximately 20 employees, including two interns to help with a wide variety of tasks. Most of the clients Stratacomm serves are D.C.-related, such as the Department of Energy (the organization’s biggest client), city redevelopment campaigns and infrastructure/transportation improvements. To help brainstorm new ways to help clients, Stratacomm created three committees within the company—Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy and Environment—and each employee would be in one of these groups. I was part of the Energy and Environment Task Force and our biweekly meetings exposed me to great ideas and ways of thinking about assisting clients.
My regular duties included compiling and distributing clips packages for clients regarding their projects. With so much news coming across my desk each morning, I felt like I was really on the pulse of the city. I also regularly created media lists with Cision so clients could easily distribute press releases across the country. The rest of my work was usually random assignments—not a big surprise at an agency. I pitched calls and developed rapport with reporters, drafted and edited content for clients’ blogs and websites, prepared materials for and helped run clients’ events, and updated various documents and spreadsheets.
My time at Stratacomm gave me a great sense of what life is like at an agency. Bits and pieces of projects are constantly being juggled, last-minute assignments frequently pop up, employees are constantly on the hunt for new business and every 15 minutes of my life were painstakingly coded and billed. Now that I’ve tried agency PR, I’d like to experience corporate or cause-related PR. I’m someone who likes to be passionate about one thing, and spreading my effort among a flurry of small projects this summer didn’t suit me. I’d advise students who are heavily involved in one extracurricular activity in school (like a fraternity or club) rather than many organizations to first try corporate or cause-related PR.
Overall, working in downtown D.C. was awesome and I only had togo on a cliché coffee run once.