The PR Intern Who Pitched the Media

September 30th, 2010
by Guest Blogger

Kion Sanders is a recent communications and public relations graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the former Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) national vice president of chapter development and a current member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Recently, he officially started his career in Cleveland, OH as an account associate for Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations.

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As a student, I was fortunate to have internships that provided me with pitching responsibilities. One of the major roles of entry-level PR professionals is building and maintaining relationships with media representatives. My relevant experience made the transition from student to professional that much smoother because I was properly prepared for future responsibilities.

A model from the Nicholas Lindsey Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show

A model from the Nicholas Lindsey Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Show. (Image Rights: Nicholas Lindsey Brand)

 A few weeks ago, I concluded my post-graduation internship with Weber Shandwick – a global public relations agency. As a consumer brands intern, one of my major responsibilities was pitching the media on behalf of clients I represented. I was able to practice everything from writing and distributing pitch e-mails, using social media tools to engage my targeted journalists, the proper way to pitch bloggers and of course, jumping on the phones to tell my client’s story.

This experience prepared me for one of my most challenging roles to date – serving as a PR manager for a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show. Nicholas Lindsey, a brand designer and one of my fellow PRSSA graduates, was in need of last-minute PR support for one of the biggest shows of his life. Immediately, I jumped at the opportunity; it was a great way to help a friend in need and a way to practice what I learned from my internship.

As PR manager for the show, my main responsibility was media relations. On show day, I had journalists present from Essence Magazine, NBC Universal and fashion bloggers from around the country, including an NYC Fashion Examiner. To solidify these high profile media representatives, I used everything I learned from my internship, especially social media for media relations purposes. My wonderful PR agency allowing me to pitch as an intern led to something I am very proud of – my first national magazine placement: NYFW Designer Q/A: Nicholas Clements-Lindsey.

To answer Tressa Robbins’ question, posted on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, “Should PR Interns Pitch the Media?” … YES, they should – I am a living example of how it can prepare interns for the “real world.” In fact, I recently accepted a full-time position with Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations where I … pitch the media on behalf of clients.

Giving the valuable experience interns can learn from pitching, can you think of any reasons why they shouldn’t? 

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8 Responses to “The PR Intern Who Pitched the Media”

  1. Kion, I completely agree with your answer. Working with the media during an internship is the best way to gain practical, real world experience. I had opportunities to conduct media relations throughout several of my internships before also landing a job with Fahlgren Mortine, and those opportunities have translated well into my helping clients today. As an intern, I was able to secure placements in a variety of national and international media–including The Boston Globe, The Martha Stewart Show and CNN.

    It’s a daunting and somewhat intimidating task, and regardless of a securing a successful placement, I think it teaches young PR professionals the value of understanding and working with media.

  2. Kion Sanders says:

    Great points, Janelle! The pitching experience allows PR interns to gain a full understanding of what their full-time responsibilities will be in most entry-level positions. Working with the media is an experience that is needed by anyone who wants to pursue a career in public relations.

  3. This is so spot-on. I tell people all the time, building a good PR professional MUST be done from the ground up. Pitching is the core of what we do, because it’s the most direct form of wielding influence, which is what PR is all about! Learning how to convince a person one-on-one builds the skill to run a campaign where thousands, if not millions, are convinced. If you can’t pitch, and pitch well, then you’re simply in the wrong business.

  4. Kion Sanders says:

    Glad you enjoyed the post, Matthew! Pitching is indeed a major PR responsibility and should be learned before entering this business. The ability to pitch could come off as simple to some but your example makes a great point — “Learning how to convince a person one-on-one builds the skill to run a campaign where thousands, if not millions, are convinced.”

  5. [...] original here: The PR Intern Who Pitched the Media « BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Written on September 30th, 2010 & filed under Blogs, Comentário, Media, TV Tags: Comentário, [...]

  6. [...] what a lot of professionals do on a daily basis,” shared Kion Sanders, BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas guest blogger and recent communications and PR graduate who is now an account associate for Fahlgren Mortine [...]

  7. Alan Freitag says:

    Kion — Very impressive beginning to what I know will be a highly successful career in our challenging and increasingly valued discipline. You make me proud, and you reflect the highest standards of our PR program at UNC Charlotte. I’m particularly proud to have been one of your instructors.

    Alan R. Freitag, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

  8. Kion Sanders says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Dr. Freitag! It all started in the UNC Charlotte PR program. I am very happy I was able to learn under professors who all were as passionate as you are for this discipline.

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