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Intern Blog

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Michael Valenti - Public Relations Intern

Future plans: Teaching English in South East or East Asia. Coming back to DC to work in communications or public relations. Get a masters degree in marketing and strategic communications.

I heard about VOA through some of my classes at American University, where I am a literature and political science major, and have been aware of the mission for some time. Coincidentally, a close friend and AU classmate, Zayne Patel, was an intern here in the PR office last summer in 2018 and told me many stories about his experiences in the office. Zayne shared with me descriptions of the many interesting events he was attending and the people that he was meeting while here and then suggested that I apply for a VOA internship the following summer. My previous internships and my focus has been on public relations and the world of strategic communications, something that I was able to really focus on with the important and lasting work that I completed here at VOA.

My work during my internship in the PR office consisted of aiding in the auditing and rebranding campaign in the main offices and across the world in the different bureaus, drafting copy and outreach emails for VOA materials and content, including the 2021 and 2022 audience calendars, as well as researching individuals and organizations who contacted VOA employees and the PR office and leading an outreach effort to generate new tour visitors from the academic community. On top of this, I fully participated and contributed to weekly meetings with the PR team and served as a regular studio tour guide. These activitiesallowed me to interact with a wide variety of people, including the VOA Director, the Peace Corps Director, government and organization leaders, and the hundreds of daily tour visitors to the building.

The chance to have this internship has opened my eyes to what I want my future to look like, both in the short term and long term. I understand now what a good internship is and what it feels like to be a part of a team and larger organization. The work that I completed here in the PR offices have been important and have made a genuine impact on Voice of America - something that not many interns can honestly say. I was encouraged to attend classes and events that could have only been discovered through VOA and I am truly thankful for all the opportunities made available to me through this internship.

With this experience under my belt, I know now that I wish to pursue the field of communications and public relations further, as well as expand into marketing, journalism, and working on broadcast television. I know that the connections and opportunities I’ve had here at Voice of America will allow me to excel in this pursuit to find similar work in which I am truly interested and can make a long lasting impact.

Diamond Fisher, VOA Intern

I have been on a long journey with Voice of America and have made lasting friendships and connections. I initially started in the summer of 2018 working on graphics in the Latin American (LATAM) division. In the brief time that I was with graphics, I was able to exhibit a combination of speed and accuracy that enabled me to produce a high volume of work while maintaining excellent standards for quality. I learned quickly and created broadcast and web content that aired to audiences in the Latin American region. I maintained a high level of professionalism and pursued opportunities to expand my skill set and involvement in many technical areas, this is also how I made my move into the public relations department for the fall.

During my time in public relations, I edited and created evergreen social media content, identified and catalogued diaspora media outlets throughout the U.S., researched and wrote copy for the 2020 VOA calendar (theme: national historical parks), participated in biweekly department meetings and other project planning sessions, and met some great people. Most importantly, I joined the tour guide cadre after just a couple of weeks of training and offered tours to visitors from the U.S. and overseas interested in learning more about this unique federal agency. The work I did for VOA public relations ensured that no matter, there was content that could be posted, whether it be during busy days or holidays. Some of the content I created will still be used even after I've left. I feel accomplished in the fact that I allowed my supervisors to focus on their many different and demanding tasks while I served as another resource that could take over tasks if they had to move to another project.

The most intriguing thing about VOA to me is that a number of people from all corners of the world and walks of life enter the Cohen building, the work never stops at VOA, it is home to many influential individuals who work hard at their jobs. I respect the impact VOA has and am amazed at just the number of people that tune in worldwide each week. I am grateful to have received the chance to learn and increase new abilities that are transferable to any profession I pursue in the future.

Without the support of the LATAM and Public Relations team, I would not have had the wonderful experience that I did. I am grateful for my time with Voice of America, as it was invaluable and I hope I genuinely had a positive impact on those I interacted with as well.

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