Interview with Caroline La Rose, Consultant at Max Australia

This week for my Interview Series, we have Caroline La Rose talking about her role at Max Australia, the gap between public relations in university and the real world, the importance of social media and improving her PR skills.

1. First off, tell us a little about your career path. What made you choose public relations as a profession?

As an undergraduate uni student, I did my bachelor’s degree in communication science which is very broad and touches upon a little bit of everything – public relations, advertising, marketing, mass communications, journalism, etc.

During my undergraduate course back in Mauritius, I did a few PR internships for not-for-profit organisations as part of my program. And as a result of some fulfilling hands on experience and all the high grades in my PR subjects, I decided to pursue my uni studies and do a Master’s degree in Communication Management majoring in PR at UTS.

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Interview with Aubrey Hamlett, Intern at Milkk PR

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.

**To contact Aubrey say hello on Twitter @aubreyhamlett or check out My Interning Life***

Interview with Jamie Garantziotis, PR Manager of Regional / Corporate Social Media at Southern Cross Austereo

This week for my Interview Series, we have Jamie Garantziotis who is currently working as the PR Manager of Regional / Corporate Social Media at Southern Cross Austereo. Jamie discusses his career path, internships, keeping up with the PR industry and provides some insight into New York’s PR scene.

1. You graduated with a BA (Media & Communications) in 2007 and went on to complete a Master of Communication in 2009. Were there any particular reasons this? Did you find that it benefitted during job hunting?

I didn’t have a straight path into the study of PR. When I finished school I realized that I really enjoyed the world of media and communications but didn’t know where within that broad field I wanted to focus my studies – hence the reason I chose to study Media & Communications  at The University of Melbourne.

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Interview with Abby Stollar, PR Student and Intern at Inside Out Creative

This week for my Interview Series, we have Abby Stollar, a senior at the University of Delaware, majoring in Mass Communication and minoring in political science, political communication, and journalism. Abby discusses working at Inside Out Creative, her determination to stand out in a competitive job market and how she manages to write great content on a consistent basis.
1. First off, tell us a little about yourself – why PR?

I’ve always had a love for communication, especially writing. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a novelist and then later a magazine journalist. Once I was old enough to understand what “public relations” was, I knew that was a great way to combine my love for writing and communication and decided to pursue it in college. Soon, I loved anything and everything PR-related!

PR is all about symbiotic, two-way communication, and I love that aspect. It brings people together; it encourages conversation. Good PR is never selfish; it’s all about what’s best for a key audience or public.

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Interview with Roger Christie, Head of Digital at Sefiani Communications

For this week’s addition to the Interview Series, we have PR professional Roger Christie discussing his transition from journalism to public relations, his role as Head of Digital at Sefiani Communications, internships, job hunting via social networks and his collaborative venture PRINKS.

Q1. First thing’s first, tell us a bit about yourself. What was your career path like?

I left school wanting to become a journalist as I had a real passion for writing.  After two-and-a-half years of my course, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t so sure and decided to give PR a go instead.  The appeal of working alongside businesses to advise on their communications needs appealed to me and gave me that corporate edge that I was after.

I did my first internship at Edelman working with their Health team, before moving to Five Star PR in Manly – a two-person team.  Having exposure at both ends of the spectrum gave me an early look at agency life and where I saw myself working best in the future.  As I finished my degree, an opportunity came through at Sefiani and I jumped at the chance, as a friend had recommended the firm.  Almost five years on, I’m still here.

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Interview with Tabish Bhimani, Deputy Convener, Media Relations at World Partnership Walk

This week in the Interview Series, we have Tabish Bhimani, a communications professional from Montreal, Canada who is currently working with the World Partnership Walk; Canada’s largest fundraising event against global poverty. In this Q&A, Tabish discusses his love for PR, career paths, time management and the importance of social media and blogging for job hunting.

Q1. Looking back, what do you think was the number one reason that made you realise you want to work in the Public Relations and Communications industry?

When I took my first and only PR course, I learnt that PR is about creating win-win situations. It’s about creativity, its about people, and its about trust. This is in line with the way I think, and what better way to sustain that faith than to be a part of an industry that exists in that mindset? Every single person I have come across in PR or a similar field is about people. They are about helping people, about connecting with people, and about building relationships. And we’re about telling stories. These are the most natural human instincts. Getting paid to live life? Heaven yes!

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Interview with Dan Fonseca, Blogger and Communications Student

This week in the Interview Series, we have Dan Fonseca, blogger and communications student from New Jersey, talking to us about blogging, time management, personal branding, internships and job hunting.

Q1. What do you think was the one main reason you chose the media and communications industry?

Essentially, music was my gateway drug. My high school years were spent writing, playing, recording, and promoting my own music online. That was when I really first got exposed to social media. After initially going to Northeastern University for Music Industry, I found that it was too limiting and that I wanted to think about media on a larger scale. I had watched how the Internet had disrupted the music business and began to see the trends take hold in other industries. I guess my curiosity took over from there.

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Interview with Vu Nguyen, Director of Advertising at Residence Hall Association

This week in my Interview Series, we have Vu Nguyen, an advertising student from Lansing, Michigan, talk about his internship experiences, using LinkedIn to network and the importance of a portfolio.

Q1. So currently you’re completing a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising. What was it about the advertising industry that drew you in?

The creativeness of the field! I learned Photoshop my Sophomore year in high school and I thought it was the most amazing thing ever! So coming to college, looking at all of the different majors, minors, and specialization’s was quite overwhelming. After talking to some counselors about advertising, I had found my perfect degree!

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Interview with Kelly Ahern [Blog and Content Manager at Astonish Results]

Up to this point in the series, we’ve had Gregory Tan, digital analyst at Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence, talk about his career path and the importance of internships. Next was Lauren Gray who provided some fantastic insight into her life as a PR student and intern.

This week, it’s Kelly Ahern from Rhode Island USA.

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