Aoife Johnston is a recent UCD graduate who has been participating in DHR Communications’ internship programme for the past 12 weeks. Here, she looks back at her time spent at DHR, what she has experienced and everything she has learned along the way.
The past 12 weeks have been some of the busiest and most fun weeks of my life so far. I had decided in my final year not to pursue a Masters degree, at least not straight away, but instead I would try to gain as much experience as possible through internships. To only just graduate from university and be lucky enough to get the opportunity to work as an intern in one of Ireland’s leading PR agencies is definitely not something I would have expected to achieve so soon! Every day in DHR Communications provided something new for me to do, keeping the work fresh and exciting. And although the time has gone by unbelievably fast, the amount of things I have done in this short period is certainly impressive.
Coming into this job I felt nervous about what kind of work I would be given. After hearing horror stories from people whose internships in other companies included tasks mainly revolving around coffee runs and sorting files, I was worried I would be left with similar responsibilities and nothing more. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong!
From the get go, I was involved in a number of different jobs for DHR and their various clients. One of the many things I was taught during my time here was how to draft press and photo notices. I then learned how to issue them, as well as how to issue a press release, and how to record media coverage for clients following their events. Another aspect I gained experience in was the administration side of things in the office throughout my time here too, with tasks like conducting research and gathering information, and compiling databases.
I was given the opportunity to attend meetings and recces of venues, which gave me great insight into the planning stages of events and the various needs and expectations of each individual client. I also helped out at and attended some of these events which I found really cool because I got to see every step of the process towards creating the event and then witness the end result. It really put into perspective the amount of work undertaken to create a successful event. One of my favourite events that I attended was the launch of Healthy Ireland’s Sexual Health Strategy. We had these excellent props created for the photos which made it look like you were in a Facebook or Instagram post by holding the frame around you and speech bubbles made with the hashtag used for live tweeting at the launch.
Another one of my favourite events was working at the launch of the National Library of Ireland’s 1916 Digitisation Project and their Programme of Events for 2016. I attended a recce for the lighting displays ahead of this event with Sebastian so getting to see the vision discussed at the recce come to life on the night was amazing. The room looked incredible, lit up with green lighting displays and Celtic symbols projected onto the ceiling, as well as images of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation projected onto giant white sheets.
A third standout event that I attended during my time here was the documentary filmmaking seminar organised by the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund. It was a full day event split into three seminars, each exploring different parts of investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking. I had my first experience of properly live tweeting at an event, taking photographs and posting quotes from the panellists on the day.
Throughout my time in DHR I was also given the opportunity to help out at training sessions with clients. I loved attending these because I learned so much from them while helping to run the sessions too. One particular highlight was a media training session where the clients were being taught how to conduct themselves for radio and television interviews. This was really interesting and I enjoyed learning all of the different tricks of the trade. Another was showing a client how to use Twitter as a platform for their business. Twitter is something I’m really familiar with so it was great to have the chance to offer my own input confidently and teach something to a client.
I explored the social media side of PR work too, by regularly updating the social media accounts of clients, posting on their behalf. It was really interesting getting to see this type of work that DHR do because I always wondered who exactly runs the social media side of things for businesses and organisations, and how they are run. It was exciting to be given the responsibility of providing the voice for different clients on social media. And you never know, in the past three months you could have liked a Facebook post or retweeted a tweet sent by me! I even had the chance to post on social media on behalf of DHR, as well as having the opportunity to organise and oversee the uploading of blog posts on DHR’s own website. I really enjoyed this side of the internship as it was an area I was already familiar with but managed to learn so much more about throughout my time here.
Towards the end of my time in DHR I even had the chance to show off my design skills by creating invitations and Christmas cards for the company which was a really fun task! The constant flow of work and the diverse workload was incredible and always kept me excited about what I was going to get to do next.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an intern here in DHR Communications. The past 12 weeks have flown by! I have learned and experienced so much, and even managed to upskill in a few areas, in what seems like such a short space of time. The amount of work involved in this job and the variety of tasks included is remarkable. Going into the internship I wasn’t completely sure what the work in this area would entail but throughout my time here I’ve gotten to experience every single side of it and would love a career in PR. I couldn’t have asked for a better company to carry out my first internship experience with. I can’t thank the staff enough for everything they’ve done for me and helped me to accomplish throughout my time here. I’m really going to miss seeing the DHR team every week and wish them all the best for the future!