This week for my Interview Series, we have Aubrey Hamlett, an intern at Milkk PR and also founder of “”My Interning Life” – a blog about university students and interns in the media sector.
1. You run a fantastic blog called My Interning Life, dedicated to profiling university students. Where did this idea come from?
My Interning Life came about because of a university assignment. In Online Journalism Production, we are required to create a Twitter account, start a blog and create our own website. The website will also contain the content from our blog and we are required to blog once per week with approx 500 words.
I think the idea came to me just out of discussing it with friends. Or perhaps after waking up, because I have on my notepad on my desk “ideas for blog: interns.” It became the logical decision to create My Interning Life as it was something I was currently experiencing and was interested to hear other stories from students.
As I said in my introductory post, I was shocked to find so few students interned. At my uni, it’s not compulsory to do an internship or work experience, but there is a subject where students are required to participate in a certain amount of work experience.
2. What was it that attracted you to the PR industry?
To be honest, I knew little of the PR industry. I have literally fallen into it. My brother’s girlfriend Eden knew that I wanted to gain experience. Eden is a co-editor of a group of independent magazines and she messaged me one day saying that Milkk PR had an opening for an intern and said I would fit in perfectly.
I honestly thought nothing of the email I sent to my future boss, Shereen. I explained what I did at uni (Bachelor of Media Studies, majoring in Journalism) and said I didn’t know much about PR but was willing to learn.
I suppose PR has always interested me and that’s ultimately why I decided to email Shereen. It’s something that I felt was different and would challenge me outside of my university studies.
3. What was your internship there like?
Milk Kiddle Langmaid PR is not your typical work place. We’re based in Shereen’s home office in Brighton and we all bring our laptops and work together while gossiping, snacking on chips and dip, drinking beyond coconut water and chai tea.
On my first day I worked on updating databases, something which I learnt is crucial to PR. Databases and contacts are key to getting information, press releases etc. out to the media industry and pleasing the client.
It’s a very friendly and relaxed environment. But we are also very hard working. It’s always satisfying knowing I’ve done a good job or have found what Shereen needs on that particular day. I’ve been at Milkk for 6 ½ months now and am just starting to gain more confidence with my responsibilities at Milkk.
4. I’ve spoken to quite a few PR professionals in the past year and the issue that keeps coming up is the gap between what you learn in university and what actually happens on the job. Would you agree with this?
I would have to agree.
There isn’t any hands on experience, it’s all theory repeated in different ways in each subject. My university (La Trobe) has an online magazine upstart which is edited by a small group of chosen students in their third year or are grad students. However, if this subject was run for an entire class semester by semester, I think it would be beneficial to future students to learn how editing and publishing works.
If they made the internship subject compulsory for all media/journalism students, that would be the best thing. Getting out there and interning or doing work experience is crucial to understanding the industry you’re studying. It’s also crucial in deciding if your chosen industry is the right career path for you. Hence why I am going to seek out more work experience in newspapers and sports clubs, to see if those areas are what I really want to work in.
5. Did social networking services like Twitter, Facebook, etc. play a part in securing an internship?
Yes. Eden contacted me through Facebook and I believe Shereen ‘advertises’ on her Facebook page for interns. Twitter is also beneficial, as I have made contacts with media industry people, which I am hoping to make use of in the next few months. I tweeted an article I had written to a professional sports player and he read it. I then met him after a game and introduced myself. He has referred me onto the media manager. Fingers crossed I will be interning with this sports organization early next year.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is there a particular sector of the communications field that you’d really love to work in?
2011 has quite literally thrown me through a loop. I would have never imagined interning in PR, let alone be imagining a career in sports Media/PR. A year ago I would have answered this question as working for ACP, Cosmopolitan in Sydney. Today I don’t know where I’ll be in five years. I have a feeling I’m being nudged in the sports media/PR direction but I really need to find out if this is the right path for me.
In five years, I want to be happy, passionate and successful at my job within the media.
7. And lastly, what are the top 3 blogs you read to stay up-to-date with the PR industry?
I read a lot of blogs, that PR dude is certainly very good and insightful. I find that a lot of PR students are on twitter, but don’t necessarily blog about it. I also read my friend, James Purcell’s blog, The Purcell Report. As I am new to this whole industry, I recommend keeping tabs on Prospect 360 for their PR and media seminars.