A Month in an Edinburgh PR agency as a Television Graduate

by Holyrood Partnership

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

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On location shoots, a varied range of clients & a Jerry Maguire style awakening

Lewis McCathie part of Holyrood PR Intern Programme June 2016

By Lewis McCathie

AS a Television Graduate, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Holyrood PR’s intern programme. I’d heard stories of PR from journalists and seen some characters in TV shows and movies – so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Here follows a tale of my month at an Edinburgh PR agency as a TV graduate.

In fact PR has proved to be different in reality to how it is depicted in film & TV, with Tom Cruise’s eccentric portrayal of Jerry Maguirebeing the one that stands out in my mind.

Show me the money GIF

There’s nobody running around shouting, “Show me the money” and there’s certainly no need to write a pamphlet full of industry challenging ideas. It’s a perfect way to experience a PR agency for the first time – on the other side of the camera.

The Dreaded First Week

On my first day I was tasked with news-gathering, but from a PR perspective. Being a news addict myself this is an area that almost passes as a hobby, as I’m always keeping up to date with happenings both online and in print journalism. Following on from this I accompanied Craig to film on location. Given my television background at university it was good to go out on a shoot for the US Kids Golf Tournament with Craig for a couple of days; the weather was perfect for it at 20 degrees! I also managed to capture some nice snaps at North Berwick.

PR image of May 2016 golf shootI was then involved in creating a PR report for CALA Homes on a local community they were involved in. I now consider myself to be a moderate expert on the goings-on of East Lothian!

I have also written plenty of press releases for numerous clients like Sick Kids Friends Foundation, BUPA and others. Writing press releases has proved to be an ideal learning curve for myself and one that I have been looking forward to for some time. Writing is one of my strongest passions so it was a personal thrill to do so in a media context in a way that piqued my interest.

Digital Challenge

My digital skills were challenged next, as I began a daily morning routine of writing social media posts for three of our clients. Learning how to construct a tweet and how best to spin it was great fun – as a regular tweeter I am firmly aware of how social media can be utilised to interact with the online community while at the same time getting a message out there for the world to see. So to do this for different clients in different sectors, was a welcome insight into the digital world.

Story Pitching & Phone Call Nerves

Phoning up newspapers like The Herald, The National and Daily Mirror to pitch a potential news story was slightly daunting at first. I’ve always worked on the opposite side of the spectrum, but it wasn’t long until I was enjoying being on the opposite side it. Working each day as a PR agency professional has been a real eye-opener in to how much public relations dictates what we see in the 24 hour media cycle of today.

So how has it been overall?

Overall this month has been a welcome change of work experience having done different placements at STV amongst others. To say this has been a varied experience would be an understatement; from phoning radio stations around the country for Mackie’s ice cream to issuing and seeing my Sick Kids’ press release being covered in newspapers like Edinburgh Evening News, there has been plenty for me to get stuck in to.

A prominent highlight has been being treated as a valued member of the team. As I have been given a considerable amount of responsibility as an intern, I find that this is the best way to learn – “practice makes perfect” as the age-old saying goes.

In comparing PR to broadcast TV I find public relations to that bit more controlled in contrast to the hectic climate of live television (especially during Election Night). Although life at a PR agency isn’t easy either!

Most of all this internship has been ideal in gaining a more broad understanding of the Scottish media industry, while getting involved in professional projects at the same time for a wide range of high-profile clients.

by Lewis McCathie for Holyrood PR

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