Over my farewell lunch this week when Jeff asked me what I learned this summer, I couldn’t help but hesitate. Of course I paid attention to what I was learning – I thought about it each day on my train ride back to the ‘burbs. My pause, of course, was because I didn’t know what to say first, what to rattle off as my list of learned skills – many of which are intangible.
As I sit down to write this blog entry on the last day of my internship and I’ve had some time to reflect, the most important lessons and takeaways from this experience are crystal clear. The contrast between my pre-internship self and last-day-internship self is very evident.
Most significantly, throughout the course of my internship I started to develop a confidence that I never had before. I initially felt apprehensive about making a follow-up call for a pitch; I was nervous that I would get rushed off the phone or shut down completely. However, through my experiences, I learned it only gets easier with practice. In the beginning of the summer, I received responses to my follow-up calls that were along the lines of: “Yes, I got it. I’ll look at it later.” More recently, I’ve heard a different kind of response at the other end of the line: “The story will run next week. Thanks for sharing!” – definitely a confidence-booster in my book.
In addition to gaining more confidence through the practice of pitching, I’ve become more successful with pitching because Jeff instilled in me the importance of looking for a natural fit. When you have a good story and it is matched with the right reporter at the right publication, it is a natural fit. Doing your homework to find these natural fits and pitch accordingly inevitably makes your job and the reporter’s job a lot easier – not to mention, it saves a lot of time and effort otherwise wasted on sending lots of pitches that never get read.
One of the best feelings during this entire experience has been seeing my work come to life either in print or on the web. It is so fulfilling to see a story get published after the lengthy process of researching, crafting and pitching it to the media. I’m proud that I could tell a client to pick up a copy of the local newspaper so the story could be displayed on the fridge at home. Seeing the fruits of my labor in physical form provided another boost to my newfound confidence.
As you might expect, I have also become more familiar with the press and media outlets across the region. In just a couple of months’ time, I’ve established contacts at publications in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and South Jersey. In addition, I have a better understanding of specific publications and which ones to target for particular clients or types of news. I now know who to reach out to for a health feature, executive promotion news or to announce a community event. I can call a news desk and confidently ask to speak to someone who will recognize my name.
Jeff and Johanna have given me the responsibility to take on tasks and challenges. They trusted me to do things on my own while providing me with the guidance I needed to be successful. I feel as though I’ve grown up a lot this summer, and my time at Jubelirer Strategies has certainly contributed to that.