Just trying to RELATE…

In the FIELD: An interview with a real-life PR pro

Posted in Assignments,Uncategorized by meshae on April 8, 2009

In my Intro to Public Relations class, Professor Nixon gave us a really cool assignment. The assignment was to interview a PR professional and reflect on their experiences in the field.

As a current student in the PR program at Georgia Southern, I thought it would be interesting to ask someone who was actually in my shoes at some point, a former GSU PR student.

I decided to interview my sorority sister, Robbyn Ingram, Georgia Southern Class of 2008. She’s fresh out of college and can really identify with my experiences.

Robbyn currently works as an account assistant for KC Public Relations in Atlanta, Georgia. You’ll find below my interview with a real-life PR pro!

  • How long have you been in the field?
    “I have been working in the field for about 15 months (this includes coursework experience—PR Campaigns and Event Management, summer internship and current position).”
  • Do you feel like college prepared you for your current position?
    “Somewhat. The courses I took during my undergraduate career were definitely beneficial in that I absorbed a substantial amount of general information about the public relations industry; however I feel my internship at the Averitt Center for the Arts better prepared me for real world challenges that I will encounter as a public relations practitioner. I was given the opportunity to spear-head different projects, participate in brainstorming sessions for new PR efforts and tactics, interact with local media personalities, and was instrumental in launching several campaigns for the Averitt Center. The hands-on experience from my internship helped to build my confidence as a public relations professional, and in my opinion, better prepared me for my current position than any college course.”
  • In your workplace, are your co-workers at or above your age bracket?
    “The three Account Assistants I work with are in my age bracket (18-24) and the Account Executives are above it (25-31).”
  • Is there anything you wish you would’ve learned prior to graduating?
    “Seeing as public relations is multi-faceted, it is my suggestion that Georgia Southern’s PR degree curriculum be updated to include mandatory copy editing and design courses as these are two very important elements in the field. Students should be exposed to all aspects of their career—not just writing and research—making them more versatile and adequately equipped to deliver innovative concepts, strategic communication efforts, and measurable results.”
  • How often do you utilize media sites, such as Twitter or Linked-In?
    “With the demise of larger papers as a source for news, I find that our firm is looking into utilizing social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as a means to communicate with target audiences. We are still learning and navigating these different media sites in attempts to develop more creative and effective ways to reach our markets.”
  • Are you happy in your current position?
    “Yes and no. I am, of course, very happy and appreciative for the opportunity to work for KC Public Relations to expand my knowledge and enhance my skills. I have found that I am developing an interest to get involved in hospitality/retail public relations when my initial objective was to head in the corporate PR direction. I am also very grateful for the projects I have been able to contribute to—drafting media releases and advisories, assembling media kits, attending client meetings, pitching to media, coordinating and working events, corresponding with media personnel, and several other tasks. There are instances, however, where I become frustrated with assignments I am given or get overwhelmed with multiple projects. Overall, I am very thankful and proud to have a position directly out of college in my career field.”
  • What particular area of PR are you interested in working in?
    “There are so many different avenues available to public relations students! As I mentioned, I was initially interested in corporate PR, but now after working in the field and being exposed to a variety of public relations functions, I am considering non-profit, hospitality (hotel and restaurant), entertainment and fashion PR.”
  • Do you feel your current salary fits the amount of work you produce?
    “Not at all. My current position is entry-level, but I feel as if the work I produce is of the same quality as a seasoned professional.”
  • Is writing as important in the industry as your college professors made it out to be?
    “Absolutely! Every aspect of public relations involves some sort of writing—whether it’s drafting/editing a press release, pitching a story to media, or responding to an office e-mail. Therefore, excellent writing skills are essential to any aspiring public relations professional.”
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    “In five years, I hope to be preparing for graduation from the University of Georgia’s dual degree program with a Masters of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication (emphasis in Public Relations) and my Juris Doctor. My ultimate career objective is to be the Public Relations Director/Legal Consultant for the Walt Disney Corporation. After graduation, I will be working towards that goal.”
  • What is one piece of advice you’d give to an up and coming PR professional?
    “Be prepared to start your career off at the bottom. It is very rare that you will be offered an upper-level position after graduation. In most cases, you will have to work your way up—so work hard! Also know that PR tasks are not always creative and exciting. Sometimes you will have to generate media lists or search the internet for a single piece of information that seems impossible to find. Remember to stay motivated, practice professionalism and do the very best you can. Absorb all the information you can and keep in mind that any work you do adds to your experience as an effective public relations practitioner.”

At first, I was reluctant to interview Robbyn because I knew she hadn’t been “in the field” that long, but after it, I was so glad that I did. Robbyn was very honest with me and encouraged me to explore my options. After asking a couple of the questions, I was surprised at the answers I got. Robbyn made me realize several different things…1. I can’t graduate expecting my “dream” job – bummer; 2. It’s important to make the most of your internships and experiences; 3. PR is multi-facetred, so be open-minded!


5 Responses to 'In the FIELD: An interview with a real-life PR pro'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'In the FIELD: An interview with a real-life PR pro'.

  1. vgreene1 said,

    Very insightful MeShae’!

  2. Natalia said,

    I think it’s interesting that you were able to find someone who just started out in the industry but still has so much insight. It’s cool to here from someone who is just starting out in the industry because not too long from now I will be in that same position.

  3. […] Posted by Natalia on April 21, 2009 MeShae did a interview with Robbyn Ingram, a Georgia Southern graduate who has just recently started out in the public relations field. It was very interesting to read Robbyn’s insight. There is still hope for all of us ’soon to be on the market’ PR students. Be sure to visit MeShae’s blog. […]

  4. Cinnamon Cameron said,

    Good work Shequilla! I like to see GSU grads who have become successful PRs! Good interview!

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