Exploring strategic communications

In this week’s lesson, we have been exploring strategic communications careers and the types of writing you will encounter in the media professions.

For this assignment, you will locate a strategic communications professional, and interview them about their career and the work they do. You will then write a paper describing your findings. Through this process, you will explore how one person’s success might apply to your own career path and professional development.

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You might consider an organization/employer where you would like to work or be promoted soon. Perhaps this interview could lead to new career connections for you.

Getting Started

Consider which aspects of strategic communications (public relations, advertising, marketing) are most interesting you. Which ones might you wish to pursue as a career?

Locate your interview subject. You could start by going online and running keyword searches for the organizations that interest you. For example, you might enter “Healthcare PR professionals in Pittsburgh” if you are interested in healthcare PR, or “advertising agencies in Seattle” if working at an ad agency captivates you.

You can also draw upon personal connections or look around in your own community. For example, if you are interested in nonprofit work, call your local United Way or Red Cross chapter and speak with their public relations manager.

Note: Your interview subject must be an actual strategic communications professional working in some aspect of public relations, advertising, or marketing. A business owner or someone in sales or management is not suitable for this assignment.

Introduce yourself and ask for the interview. Verify that your subject is an actual strategic communications professional, or that they perform strategic communications duties as a part of their job.

Schedule the interview. It can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes.

The interview must be conducted in person or on the phone.
E-mail is not allowed. It will not give you the conversation and depth you need to make the interview worthwhile.
In your interview, consider the following questions:
How did this person enter the field and succeed in it? What were the some of the ups, downs, and lessons learned along the way?


How and why did they enter this sector of the strategic communications industry (agency, corporation, nonprofit, etc.)? What entry-level skills are required? What is most rewarding or frustrating about it?
Which type of strategic communications work (media relations, community relations, crisis communication, etc.) does this person enjoy the most? Why? What knowledge and skills does it require?
What types of writing do they do in an average week? What knowledge and skills does this require? How did this person become proficient at writing?
What advice would they offer you as a newcomer to the field? How do their experiences match your own pursuits? Here, you will need to describe your own strengths, experience and interests.

You are free to ask your own questions and conduct the interview as you wish. Remember — the main idea is to explore this person’s career path, they writing they do, and learn from it to apply to your own career path and professional development.

In addition to the quality of your writing, I will pay special attention to the quality of the insights that come from your interview. Good luck!

Skill Assignment Requirements
500 word minimum
Double-spaced
12 point font
5 point penalty for formatting errors. For more information, click here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/not-your-grandparents-str_b_600888

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