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This summer, Rob McKinney, junior sports broadcasting and sports information major, learned exactly what it meant to work in the news business.

The news industry has a history of early mornings that start well before 9 a.m. This is the time during which McKinney thrives in action. He began interning with WJPA Radio Station in Washington, Pennsylvania, in May 2016.

McKinney’s title as news reporter led him to covering a variety of events. He covered Washington County council meetings and different trials. He also worked Saturday morning news.

“I went into the station at 3:30 a.m. and read the day’s updated news every top of the hour,” said McKinney. “My favorite experience thus far was my first Saturday morning by myself.”

McKinney noted that he may have made his share of mistakes, but learned quickly what to and not to do in just eight short hours. He also had the opportunity to interview Governor Tom Wolf and State Representative Pam Snyder while working on different news stories. Through all of his early mornings, McKinney persisted because he said that he loves what he does and that it is worth it when you have a passion for the field of broadcast.

When he reflects on how his experience at Waynesburg helped him prepare for his summer internship, he noted that Lanny Frattare has helped him become the professional he is today.

“I applied to this internship because my advisor, Lanny Frattare, gave me the opportunity, and I knew it would give me tremendous professional experience,” said McKinney. “All of my radio and announcing classes with Lanny helped prepare my voice and my pacing to be an effective broadcaster.”

McKinney’s internship was not exactly what he had expected because he did not think he would be able to be as involved as he was. When thinking about his future endeavors, McKinney speaks highly of his internship with WJPA.

“My internship helped me by showing me how professional radio works,” said McKinney. “I hope to be on television one day reporting the news, and working with news currently can only help.”

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Posted by on in Internships

b2ap3_thumbnail_Drew-Brown.JPGJunior communications (sports broadcasting and sports information) major Drew Brown has always shown a strong interest in video editing and production work. This past spring, Brown began to put those skills to work at ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fulfilling a dream come true.

“Ranging back to when I was in ninth grade, I always told myself I was going to apply for an internship at ROOT Sports once I went to college, in hopes that I could further my career in the field of video production,” said Brown.

In March, Brown started a year-long role as an in-studio video production intern. He works alongside the ROOT Sports game day production staff, assisting with the creation of highlight packages that are used for Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins pregame and postgame shows, as well as in-game highlights.

Other responsibilities have included the creation of video packages pertaining to storylines and talking points which are discussed on the pregame and postgame shows. Brown has also experienced writing “shot sheets” for the on-air talent personalities, such as Rob King, Stan Savran, Paul Alexander and Dan Potash.

All of his work so far has certainly exceeded Brown’s expectations, providing him with an experience that is grateful to have.

“I have enjoyed it more than any other job or internship I have worked before,” said Brown. “I spend my days at work doing something I have wanted to do since I was 14 years old.”

Even though he doesn’t always consider his work to be “work,” the internship has provided a few challenges, namely how quickly projects move.

“Working on the fly has been one of the more challenging aspects,” said Brown. “My “Around the League” videos, for example, where I am cutting together plays and highlights from other MLB or NHL games, need to be done at a quick, busy rate.”

Of course, the exciting aspects of his job have outweighed the challenges. Brown’s timing for experiencing the Stanley Cup playoffs could not have been more perfect. Because of ROOT Sports’ coverage of the Penguins, Brown was able to see the Stanley Cup in person and take pictures with it.

Another fun experience for Brown was being interviewed for a series of commercials that have been airing on the station.

“A quote of mine was used in an Andrew McCutchen commercial,” he said. “Seeing myself on TV along with receiving texts from friends and family saying they saw me has been a cool feeling.”

Brown realizes how fortunate he has been to study with professors such as Bill Molzon and Lanny Frattare at Waynesburg University. Their knowledge and expertise, combined with his ROOT Sports experiences, will be priceless in the future.

“This experience has given me the chance to see the daily operations of a major sports network, one like I hope to work for one day,” said Brown.

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Posted by on in Internships

b2ap3_thumbnail_Kimmi-Baston.JPGOn the fifty-seventh floor of the US Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, Pa., soon-to-be senior Kimmi Baston is working as a summer intern for the largest employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC.

Baston, a journalism major with minors in marketing and public relations, is serving as a summer associate in the Marketing and Communications Department for Clinical Marketing at UPMC.

Baston is creating promotional materials for clinical services and works specifically with emergency/trauma medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and urgent care. She also interviews former patients about their treatment at UPMC. Among a list of other tasks, she will be planning several marketing initiatives.

The biggest challenge thus far has been familiarizing herself with the medical lingo she has to incorporate into her writing.

“I have to research and learn about every condition, treatment, policy, hospital, doctor and service before I can even have a prayer of writing about it,” said Baston. “It’s awesome – I love getting to learn so much about medicine in addition to what I’m learning about my field.”

More than 5,000 applicants applied for the Summer Associate Program, while only 94 were selected.

“That’s such a small percentage of people to be hired, so I’m so honored and in awe that I am one of them.”

Baston credits Waynesburg for helping to prepare her for this opportunity. As the executive editor of the student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a leading scholar, among other accolades, her experience at the University is what set her apart from the competition.

“I have to be professional, take initiative, work well on a team and communicate effectively,” she said. “I’ve developed all of those skills through all of my WU activities. It’s possible I could be in an elevator with one of our four chief officers at any time, but thanks to WU, I’m not nervous about it.”

Baston talked about how Waynesburg further prepared her for her internship at the healthcare company that is highly involved with the surrounding region.

“The fact that I possess the skills to do my work is a total tribute to being so involved in journalism and having such great instruction at Waynesburg,” said Baston.

Baston’s favorite experience thus far was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ victory parade after winning the Stanley Cup. She and her fellow interns were recruited to pass out posters to fans to promote the “Thank You Pens” initiative.

“Pittsburgh pride is infectious, and I am honored to be a part of an organization that, despite its enormous size and many responsibilities, continuously cares so much for the community and its people,” said Baston.

Along with her daily tasks, Baston also has the opportunity to attend networking events. Working along fellow interns, she is experiencing life in a corporate world and is putting into action what she has learned at Waynesburg.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Oland_Kyle_5.JPGWhen he accepted a prestigious media relations internship with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kyle Oland thought he had put the finishing touch on his summer plans. The senior public relations major from Westminster, Md., planned to commute from Waynesburg to the city for every home game and looked forward to spending the summer doing what he loved, while also supplementing his income with a job in fast food. 

But in the spring 2013 semester, when Oland opened an email from a professor at Waynesburg University and found a link to an application for a part-time internship at the Smith Brothers Agency, Oland figured that applying to the agency position couldn't hurt. The Agency, an acclaimed full service integrated advertising and digital agency in Pittsburgh, Pa., focuses on consumer packaged goods. 

“I talked to the Pirates’ vice president of communication and he said that having both sports and agency background makes you more marketable,” Oland said. “I always like a challenge, but I didn’t think I would actually get it.”

Two weeks later, God revealed a more exciting summer plan for Oland than he could have hoped. He notified his food-industry job that he wouldn’t be able to work that summer, because he now had two big-name internships competing for his time. 

“I am glad I opted to do two internships in two very different spectrums of public relations,” Oland said. “I discovered what I excel at and what I dislike, which has made me realize what I want to do upon graduation.”

Throughout his Pirates’ internship, Oland compiled media and press kits, wrote for and the Pirates website and interviewed players and coaches. He distributed news publications to members of the media, broadcasters, TV crews, camera crews, the executive offices, players and coaches before each game. 

“During the game, I sat in the press box and communicated via Google Chat with the Pirates' announcers,” Oland said. “Following the game, I compiled box scores and stat packs and then distributed these packets to the visiting clubhouse and the media.”

During games in which he worked for Major League Baseball, Oland served as a real-time correspondent. In this role, he provided in-game coverage of the night's game by finding unique stories via pictures or video interviews. He worked hand-in-hand with the Pirates' social media manager and the visiting public relations manager and even had the opportunity to eat dinner with the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Frank Coonely, and other team executives. 

Across the street as a digital strategies intern for Smith Brothers, he monitored clients’ and competitors’ social media accounts, compiled weekly reports and researched trends in the field. Oland’s research was used by the firm’s public relations team to better plan and execute social media strategies. Additionally, he assisted in the planning and writing of various posts for the social media platforms of brands including Nestle Drumstick, Skinny Cow, Frosty Paws and Dolce Gusto. 

“Kyle worked on a Twitter strategy for one of our clients. He provided a very thorough analysis with great recommendations,” said Kaitlyn Kline, social media coordinator/acting analytics coordinator at Smith Brothers Agency. “He always handled his workload very well and was eager to learn all the nuances of agency life – even if they weren't strictly related to social media and public relations. His drive is really something to note.”

With major brands and one of the season’s best baseball teams to represent, Oland faced a full schedule of events each day. Each morning, he drove into the city to work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Smith Brothers, and then walked across the street to PNC Park. From there, depending on the game, he might not get home until around midnight or later. 

“Working two internships was definitely a challenge,” Oland said. “While the days were long, it didn’t bother me because I understood that many would love to be in the position I was. I counted myself lucky.”

Approaching the summer, Oland’s biggest concern was balancing the two internships, but said that his days were quite comparable to his fast-paced, comprehensive days as a student in the Department of Communication at Waynesburg University. 

“The Department of Communication teaches you to get involved and to manage your time well. It was no different than a day at Waynesburg where I could go from working in the Sports Information Office, to writing a Yellow Jacket article, to attending a PRSSA networking event, to covering an athletic game and of course classwork,” Oland said. “In so many ways, Waynesburg University prepared me for both internships. Waynesburg helped me gain the ability to juggle a variety of tasks and perform those tasks at a high level.” 

After a strenuous but rewarding summer immersed in the world of public relations, Oland felt more motivated than ever to pursue his ultimate goal. Since freshman year, he has dreamed of returning to beloved Maryland to work for the Baltimore Ravens. 

“The summer of 2013 has not only been a reward for the hard work I have put in the last three years, but also as a reassurance that I am on the right path to achieve my goal.”


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b2ap3_thumbnail_Bombalski_Riverhounds-web.jpgWith her ponytail tightened, bright athletic clothes donned and an infectious smile displayed, Taylor Bombalski entered class to pursue the only thing she loves as much as soccer: her major at Waynesburg University. In class, the junior public relations student learned about internship requirements for the Department of Communication at Waynesburg University. She listened intently, taking notes and racking her brain for a way to unite her two passions. 

Later that evening, she saw a television commercial for The Pittsburgh Riverhounds, the city’s premier United Soccer League’s Pro Division team, and its inaugural season at Highmark Stadium in downtown Pittsburgh. Something clicked. She logged on to the team’s website and inquired about a public relations internship for the summer of 2013. 

“I love soccer. I have been playing since I was four. I just looked up the Riverhounds and saw they had interns for the summer and felt this was the perfect opportunity to learn the ropes,” Bombalski said. 

Bombalski, who feels at home on the field, with the turf gliding under her cleats and the crowd roaring above her, said she experienced complete comfort at her internship location. After securing the job and learning about her public relations, sports marketing, sales, media relations and event management responsibilities, she decided she wouldn’t be intimidated by those either. 

“My public relations writing and production class helped me with writing tips, and advanced PR strategies helped me to plan and implement an event,” said Bombalski. “As a member of the Waynesburg women’s soccer team, I understand the lingo and tactics of the semi-professional soccer team.”

With a combination of athletic experience and public relations knowledge, Bombalski created overviews for game day programs, tracked statistics, wrote articles and planned a special “Latino Heritage Night” event for the team.

“The internship was a little bit of everything so that I could figure out exactly what I love to do,” Bombalski said. “My favorite part was planning my event.  I got to meet with key spokespeople and network; it was a challenge but I learned so much.”

Her internship supervisor, John Rotz, assistant coach and member of team operations for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, wholeheartedly agreed that Bombalski grew as a young public relations professional during the summer. 

“Taylor was a quick learner, which enabled her to be trusted with many new facets of the day-to-day operations of the club, which in turn accelerated her exposure and enhanced her experience,” Rotz said. “If I knew that Taylor was handling a responsibility, I was at ease due to her professionalism on all fronts.”


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