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State Theatre Marketing and PR Internship Reflection

September 8, 2010

By State Theatre Marketing and PR intern, Matt Lipsky

Every summer thousands of college students from around the country emerge from the safety of their dorm rooms and lecture halls and return home. They trade their cargo shorts and hoodies for slacks and ties and for some inexplicable reason, subject themselves to the internship process. As a student, especially a business student, this tradition of unpaid employment is inescapable. “If you want to get a job when you graduate,” we are told, “you have to have a strong resume of internships first.” Moreover, as useful as a college degree is, much of what one needs to know to work in an office is overlooked by professors and theory textbooks. As a student looking for an internship, it is difficult to know what to expect. Every employer says the same thing—something along the lines of, “you will have to do some filing or data entry, but I promise you will learn a lot here too.” It is hard to know when selecting an internship where on the continuum it falls – will this one be more filing and less learning, or more learning and less filing?

In the case of the State Theatre Marketing and PR internship, the scale is tipped heavily towards the learning end. Although not every task was exciting work, I was never asked to do anything that is not marketing related. Admittedly, many of the projects I worked on earlier in the summer were centered around the slow process of posting State Theatre events all over the internet, even this task was fundamentally the leg work of the theater’s online marketing strategy. As the summer progressed, my list of tasks quickly shifted away from mind-numbing website postings toward the writing of press releases, researching and contacting organizations with which to cross-promote and planning the promotion of the NJ Blues & Jazz Festival featuring Sugar Blue, Eddie Palmieri, Maria Muldaur, and Regina Carter (hey, I’m in marketing). Working in a theater, especially one with such a diverse season, proved to be a great experience. Instead of spending all day, every day promoting the same product to the same potential clients, this venue offers an opportunity to experience the promotion of very different events to very different groups. Marketing strategies for such exciting upcoming shows as Michael Feinsten: Sinatra Project and Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick and Inch by Inch (what, did you think the shameless marketing would stop?) differ immensely.

Of course, as anyone who works in an office knows, much of what makes a job enjoyable or not is the people you work with. In that respect, the State Theatre certainly has not disappointed. The staff is fun, extremely good at what they do, and most of all dedicated. The fact that everyone here likes what they do is certainly reflected in the quality of the product they provide – excellent shows year after year. As an intern, I have learned as much about what it takes to enjoy office life as I have about marketing and PR.

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