Clicking Away at the Keyboard: An Internship Experience with UWGB Marketing and Communications
Tucked away on the eighth floor of the library is the Marketing and Communications department. There, several people work hard at sending out information regarding campus events and stories that highlight students and alumni. One of those people is the editorial intern, who not only writes stories, but also grammar and spell checks various works before they are sent out for the community to see.
There are numerous benefits to the editorial position. It is a great opportunity to build writing skills and add to your resume. You gain a basic understanding of the APA style in the news field. You can develop your communication skills by interviewing students and community members and learn time management, as you will have to juggle several projects at once. In this internship, you should create a portfolio so that you can connect with businesses and access opportunities in the future.
This semester, I was the Marketing and Communications Intern. In January, I had little experience in any sort of news writing. I only had written research papers and done free writing. I learned that in comparison to research papers, press releases and features have to be much shorter and to the point. Some news pieces I’ve written for include the Log E-news, After Thoughts, and features in the Log Extra.
The Log E-news is an email sent out daily to subscribers and UWGB faculty and staff. It is a small snip-it, usually a paragraph long, of the full press release of campus events, local news, professor publications, or student achievements. In as few sentences as possible, the Log must include the who, what, where, when, and why of the event. So essentially it’s brief, but yet it’s appealing to the eye. Learning how to write up a quick piece for the Log didn’t require that much effort. One of the many I’ve written is called “Students advance in essay contest;” it briefly mentions a few UWGB students, and their works that will be featured in Sheepshead Review fall 2016.
A press release is more focused on upcoming or past events on campus. Writing a press release requires following a specific layout, usually the ones of the previous years, and the APA style format. One of my first press releases was on the first After Thoughts lecture of the spring semester, featuring Caroline Boswell’s “Ye Olde Pubs.” After Thoughts is a lecture series featuring women speakers to draw a connection between UW-Green Bay and the community. It first began in 2011, and is named because the lectures provide “after thoughts” for the attendees to take with them afterwards.
Unlike the daily Log E-news, the Log Extra is an e-mail newsletter sent out weekly which features UWGB student and Alumni stories, a campus organization, and top news. Log Extra features are not as formal like a press release, and will entail reaching out and conducting an interview with students, the community and faculty members. My first feature, “Once upon a time, Lane Lee won a song-writing contest,” highlighted student Lane Lee, whose song had won the “Once” competition.
At various times, this position requires reaching out to students, faculty, or community members for a press release or feature story. It’s both helpful and important to send a follow up email in a week if the contact hasn’t responded, because this sends them a reminder that they need to follow up with you. In an email I’ve noticed that I get a faster response if I add at the end, “I hope to hear from you soon.” Some addressees will get back to me within a week, as did Lane Lee, and Holly Harpster. Unfortunately, not every person I’ve asked to feature in a story has responded to my emails.
There are several other editorial internships out there for UWGB students. One example is with Voyageur, a nonprofit magazine about the history of a 26-county area of greater Northeast Wisconsin. The difference between the Communications editorial internship and one with Voyageur is that it involves more writing than it does reading. This position involves writing a press releases and features at the same time, so time management skills are highly necessary. It is easier to get something started weeks in advance for a press, even if it cannot be finished in that same setting, because this makes getting things sent out on time a breeze.
Setting up a portfolio is highly beneficial because it keeps all written pieces together in one place so that they can be accessed for future references. The portfolio could be online, such as a blog, or all of the written pieces can be printed off to make a hard-copy portfolio. Both have their personal benefits and disadvantages. An online form would mean easy public access, potentially making it easier for a company to find you. However, a public blog does mean a constant upkeep. A hard-copy portfolio would be beneficial because it doesn’t require a lot of updating. Unfortunately, a hard-copy would also mean that professional businesses cannot easily find one’s published worked which could hinder career opportunities.
I am pusuing a career in a writing field, so I started a WordPress blog. At the end of each blog post, I hyperlink to the UWGB webpage. This will show future businesses that my works have been published through an actual organization. I’ve also set up a LinkedIn account, and linked my blog to my LinkedIn profile. In short, the editorial internship at the Marketing and Communications department provides the student intern with many opportunities.