Philly’s Student-Run PR Firms

While aspiring PR pros are still in school, they are constantly reminded that internships are essential if they ever want to get a job in the industry. In recent years, some college students have found an alternative to the traditional internship — joining a student-run PR firm.

Across the country, students at colleges and universities have launched their own PR firms and taken on a variety of “real-world” clients. Those who take part in these student-run firms are able to put their PR skills to work and enjoy a number of unique experiences. In the Greater Philadelphia area, there are three local schools that boast successful student-run PR firms: Drexel University, Rowan University and Temple University.

33rd Street Public Relations – Drexel University

What began as the communications senior project of Drexel student and PRSSA member Sarah Mason quickly developed into a functioning PR firm. Sarah’s goal was to form a student-run public relations firm as a tool for applied learning. Upon its launch, 33rd Street Public Relations only had one client (Drexel’s student-run literary publication, Maya) but in the years since, the firm’s client list has grown immensely. Today, 33rd Street Public Relations offers a wide array of communication services to both professional clients and Drexel University student organizations.

PRaction – Rowan University

PRaction was started by members of the Anthony J. Fulginiti Chapter of PRSSA at Rowan University nearly 3 decades ago. Their firm is all about putting the PR skills students learn in the classroom into action. PRaction’s past clients include Rowan University’s Department of Theater and Dance, Bogey’s Club and Café, Two Vic’s Sports Shop and Studio 24 Scoops and More. This year they are working with a number of clients, including the Greater Pitman Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Camden and Labrador Hill Farm. Students are encouraged to join PRaction at the beginning of each semester, and they can reach out to Vice President Henry Grant at granth31@students.rowan.edu with any inquiries. Potential clients can contact President Stephanie Russo via email at russos17@students.rowan.edu.

PRowl Public Relations – Temple University

PRowl Public Relation is Temple University’s first and only student-run PR firm. PRowl strives to provide clients with comprehensive PR strategies and solutions, offer Temple PRSSA members the opportunity to apply their knowledge and gain experience beyond the classroom, and build credibility while forming lasting student-client relationships. In recent years, PRowl has worked with clients such as the Lemon Hill Mansion, Temple University’s Department of Strategic Communication, and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Interested students and potential clients can contact Firm Director Kaitlyn Sutton via email at tuc50460@temple.edu.

Have you been a part of a student-run PR firm? What did you learn from the experience? Tell us about it in the comments section below. 

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3 Stories You Should Be Following Right Now

As someone working in the communications industry, a big part of your job is knowing what is going on in the world. You need to keep tabs on your clients’ competitors, happenings in the local news and more. No matter who you work for, these three stories could have an effect on you.

1. The Government Shutdown

Last week, the federal government of the United States began a partial shut down – something that hasn’t happened in nearly two decades. While not all parts of the federal government have come to a screeching halt, there are services that have been temporarily stopped, parks and buildings that have been closed, and hundreds of thousands of workers who have been furloughed.

Whether you (or your clients) are directly connected to the federal government or not, this  is impacting you. As long as the shutdown continues, it will dominate the national media conversation. Even on the local level, the government shutdown will make it more difficult for you to get a story placed.

2. The End of Unpaid Internships?

During the summer of 2013, unpaid internships came under serious fire. Numerous class action lawsuits were filed by unpaid interns against major companies such as Condé Nast Publications, Warner Music Group, Atlantic Recording, Gawker Media, Fox Entertainment Group, NBC Universal, Viacom, Sony, Universal Music Group, Bad Boy Entertainment, and Donna Karan.

In June, a New York Federal Court found that Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns were “employees” subject to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, even though they were receiving academic credit for the internship. The recent increase in cases (and the publicity surrounding them) show that hiring unpaid interns can be a real risk. Additionally, if employers become more hesitant to hire unpaid interns based on these lawsuits, then students will find themselves with fewer opportunities to gain on-the-job experience.

3. Miley Cyrus

Yes, you read that right. For months the former Disney star has been creeping into the subconscious of every American. Between her new singles, outrageous performances and countless interviews, Miley is everywhere.

You may not think Miley is important or even relevant, but she has certainly captured the world’s attention. She is on the cover of several magazines, she’s hosting Saturday Night Live, she has a new MTV documentary, and she trends on Twitter pretty regularly. Lately Miley has gotten more air time and column inches than anyone else in the entertainment industry. In fact, she has managed to overshadow many serious news stories as well. The media’s recent obsession with all things Miley serves as an interesting window into the current state of pop culture in our country, so use this window to help develop some of your own entertainment-related pitches.

This post was written by PPRA Blog Chair Lauren Cox. Lauren is a Public Relations Specialist in the Office of the CIty Representative, where she works on the City’s major events like the Wawa Welcome America! Festival and the Philadelphia Marathon. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.