Students compete for PR intern supremacy

Mimicking Donald Trump, Kidd Group Public Relations, a full-service public relations firm established in 1980 has offered their latest internship opportunity in the form of the reality show “The Apprentice.”

This competition, for an offer of a full time position at Kidd Public Relations, has been adequately named “The PR Apprentice.” After careful consideration of a pool of 200 applicants, six students deemed the “stupendous six,” who will compete for the full-time position- two of whom are Florida A&M students.

“We have selected the very best students in the area for this experience,” said Public Relations Director Tom Derzypolski. “Our goal is to provide a true, real world experience that is both challenging and rewarding.”

Kamaria Hopkins, 21, a senior public relations student from Petersburg, Va., and Shaletha Litt, 22, a senior public relations student from Camp Zama, Japan, represent FAMU among four other undergraduate students, all of whom attend Florida State University, with majors ranging from English Literature to Marketing and Theatre.

The demands of this internship require real world public relations tasks, such as client meetings to press releases and special events for local non-profit clients.

“They want this to be as real world as possible…there’s no hand holding,” Hopkins said.

However, a confident Hopkins reminds herself, “I know what I’ve learned in FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communications, and student media has prepared me, and given me insight as to how media operates so that I can be a better public relations representative,” Hopkins said.

Although she finds herself nervous at times about the “stiff and talented competition, it’s a good nervous.”

All six contestants began the 13-week “battle of endurance, skill and creativity,” and will begin every week with a board meeting where challenges and assignments are given out. Then students begin their 20-hour-per-week endeavors.

Assignments thus far, in the three weeks since the competition has begun, consist of a ‘request for letter proposal’ to clients, presentations to clients, and developing a survey instrument and proposing it to the board.

Unfortunately, like the original reality show, one contestant is fired each week. FAMU student, Shaletha Litt was fired in week two. That hasn’t gotten her down; she spoke of the internship as “a good experience off hand.”

“Being among the six selected out of 200 definitely adds to a resume,” Litt said.

Litt also learned an important lesson from the entire experience.

“It was my first experience working with an agency public relations group,” Litt said. “I’m used to in-house work, and I think I’m going to stick with that.”

She admitted that it was her failure to submit three total proposals to clients that got her fired, and not a lack of skill and ability.

Fortunately, for every intern, there are weekly prizes for weekly winners, in addition to the ultimate prize of a full-time position at Kidd Public Relations, for the last one standing.

“Its kind of like Top Model,” Litt joked.

Alternate prizes vary from food gift certificates to clothing prizes, according to the website, all awarded by the 13 boardroom sponsors.

The winner of the PR Apprentice will be announced on April 18 but keep up with the competition through its website,