Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Internships -- Little things make such a difference

In the Communication Department at Coker we require at least three hours of internship as part of the major. This is an important requirement because it gets students into real world situations so they can better understand how communication works. This summer I have a few students doing some internships and the importance of these experiences continues to resonate.

Just one story about this. One of the very valuable internships for our students has been with Audrey Childers at the Darlington County School District. When it comes to external communications, internal communications, crisis communications, promotional communications, I am not sure anyone in our area has more daily experience than Audrey. She is also an excellent on-the-job professor. This summer I am the faculty coach for an English major who is working with Audrey. He sent me his first week's journal the other day and he is already learning so much. Remember, he is an English major and has not yet taken any media writing or pr courses. But, he has now noticed that writing for news is different than the other writing he has done. Here is an excerpt:

"I emailed my draft to Audrey. After she read it over, she called me into her office to discuss what should be changed. Some things to improve upon are: catching the audience’s attention with the first sentence, relating what the event means to all students, and obtaining quotes that are critical to the story. Despite all of these comments, they were very easy to correct in my draft. I was surprised at how different this style of writing was from academic and creative writing. The goal of this type of writing, as Audrey explained, is to explain the situation to an audience as simply and succinctly as possible. What surprised me from studying other press releases was that a paragraph could literally be one sentence, which would never be allowed in other forms..." That was only one of about 16 important things he was learning his first week on the job.

I really love internships for our students and hope that we continue developing opportunities like the one with the Darlington County School District where able students are able to get involved with real work and see how communication does make a difference in organizations.

No comments:

Post a Comment