In the summer of 2016, I was lucky enough to intern at the U.S. Senate for Senator Rob Portman. Some of you may be asking, “How did a journalism student get an internship in politics?” Believe it or not, journalism students THRIVE in politics. To make it in politics, you need to have the mind of someone in public relations. Here is why the two universes mix well…
1. You are representing a brand.
In politics, you interact with people from different industries and walks of life. For someone in the Senate, you not only represent the people of you state, but also the federal government. For me, I talked to thousands of people in my couple months at the Senate, and I knew in every interaction could mean a life touched forever or even a vote (it was Portman’s reelection year). Some people may not realize this, but politics is as much of a brand as any Fortune 500 Company.
2. It requires clear communication and research.
While in DC, I learned that employers are always looking for people who know how to communicate clearly. Being a great writer and having an outgoing personality can help you go far in a job that relates to politics. I didn’t expect to write so much during my internship, but there was always a letter or memorandum that needed to be sent out. Research is vital in politics, as legislation and forums require vast amounts of information to make sure citizens get the correct facts. In PR, great writing and research is key to great marking campaigns and strong relationships between a client and agency.
3. Maybe PR and politics are the same?
This may be line that you hear during the Twilight Zone, but PR and politics share a lot of qualities. Other than the before mentioned qualities, the two constantly change the way we view our world. Maybe laws affect our lives more than an advertisement, but these two worlds are reliant on the people’s opinion. Even though my internship didn’t include conference reports or client meetings, I still sat through meetings with citizens and wrote many memorandums. I loved the work I did in the Senate, and if you ever want to work in politics, that journalism degree may come in handy.
Post by former Account Executive Brendon Embry