Monday, December 5, 2016

Media Relations: From Classroom to the Real World

Over the duration of the past semester, our class has been introduced to the wonderful world of public relations. During this time we have learned about a variety of elements that come together to make up the public relations profession. Upon completion of my public relations internship, I was able to apply these elements from the classroom into a real-life setting. Although I could discuss a number of items I applied from the classroom to my public relations position, I will be focusing solely on my experience with media relations.
This semester in our media relations class we have studied a variety of topics such as the role of media relations, ways in which to find the media, developing a media relations program, media events and much more. During my time at my internship, I was able to gain valuable real-life experience dealing with these elements of media relations. To discuss how I applied my classroom knowledge to my real-life experiences I will focus on two media relations topics from class and how I used them in my internship.

In our media relations course, we learned about news coverage analysis and evaluation tactics to use when assessing coverage from a media source. In this class, we learned that the assessment of media coverage is significant in public relations to understand whether or not you reached your objectives. Throughout my internship, I was given the task of evaluating media coverage each week. Whether it was scouring the web for stories about a new product we launched or hunting down the social media channels of media who attended a media event; I was tasked with the challenge of evaluating that media coverage. Through this real-life experience, I was able to understand the crucial role that news coverage analysis and evaluation plays in understanding how a public relations plan performs.

Another topic we learned about in the media relations class was the use of media events as a strategy in a public relations plan. Through my internship, I had experience with a variety of media events. One of my favorites was the launch event for Dimplex’s new fireplace. At this product launch event, I was in charge of greeting media, assisting with the overall workings of the event, and providing each media with a thank you bag on their way out. Through this experience, I was able to put my classroom knowledge to work and experience how a media event works.

I gained further experience with media events as I recently completed my second large-scale media event with my internship. The media event was for the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights and the launch of their new holiday walking tour “Deck the Falls.” Deck the Falls is a project I worked on throughout my internship this semester. It is a walking tour that includes stops at thirteen local venues in Niagara Falls, five of which were transformed by celebrity designers. In preparation for this event, I assisted in contacting media and organizing their trips to Niagara Falls to experience "Deck the Falls" on its launch weekend. During the event and after the event I assisted with the analysis and evaluation of media coverage.

Overall, through these real-life experiences, I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom and truly understand the vital role that media relations plays in public relations. 

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