All Over the FMAP
Lobbying in the Social Media Age

From the Mouths of Interns

Intern-where-is-my-report 

Last week, Roy Wells and his blog explored the question of whether it is better for a public relations firm to hire an experienced, traditional practitioner, or an inexperienced yet social media-savvy youngster.

Two people who followed this conversation very closely were Triad Strategies’ summer interns, Adrienne Hodson and Justin Molitoris.  Justin, 21, and Adrienne, 20, are Penn State students who gave up a substantial portion of their summer to toil away in underpaid anonymity, doing thankless research jobs that our senior associates felt would mold them into better human beings.  Or perhaps they were jobs nobody else was particularly thrilled about doing.  Either way, as two young adults matriculating at PSU during one of the worst job markets in history, we thought we’d ask them about their experiences, and share the results with our readers.

NOTE:  Triad’s intern program has produced many superstars from days past, three of whom are Josh Scacco, currently on track to become President of the United States in 2024; Elizabeth Gray Smith, who was an early cog in the Harrisburg Young Professional empire, and used her Triad training to become a champion kayaker; and Erika Jeannette, who is poised to become a partner at Triad any minute now.  So to Justin and Adrienne: you have hope!

8 Burning Questions for Triad Interns, Summer of 2010 (with our interpretation in italics)

Triadvocate:  What was your favorite client that you did work for this summer?

Adrienne Hodson: The scope of Triad’s clients is far reaching but UPAC stood out. I wrote a resolution for UPAC naming the third week in September “Pennsylvania Urological Health Awareness Week.” The resolution encourages family, friends, and members to attend free screenings at the Capitol during that week. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago so working with UPAC was meaningful.

Justin Molitoris:   I would have to say my favorite client was Gavin Kerr and the Inglis Foundation. This is mainly due to the fact that I actually got to work closely with Gavin for a day and saw how he interacted with members.

T:  What did you learn about state government this summer that you did not already know?

AH:  NOTE:  At this point, we are still anxiously awaiting a response from Ms. Hodson, who is wracking her brain to figure out if there is anything she didn’t know already.  We'll update you if she has an epiphany.

JM:  I learned that the state government is based on too many dated ritualistic practices that really slow down an already inherently slow legislative process.  (Yes, Justin, but remember:  Someday the inherently slow legislative process might work to your advantage!)

T:  What did you learn from the public relations side of Triad?

AH:  Everything social media related was interesting. Having been active on sites like Facebook and Twitter prior to working for Triad was helpful but using social media for business purposes versus recreation is a whole different ball game. Triad provided me with a new perspective on social media and its content. (This is Adrienne’s not-so-subtle attempt at boosting Roy’s ego.)

JM:  One thing I became aware of after working with the PR side of Triad is the incredibly influential future Social Media potentially has.  (Justin obviously took notes from Adrienne on this one.)

T:  What will you bring back from Triad that will make you a better Penn State student?

AH:  Cliché? Yes… but real world experience. You can read as many textbooks as are written but until you actually spend time in the Capitol at hearings, committee meetings, and session, textbooks don’t compare. I have a much better understanding and appreciation for the laws and policy that I will study. (Adrienne should probably just consider dropping out now.)

JM:  One of the new skills Triad has taught me is the use of Google Reader. By monitoring most of the news sources throughout the state for much of the summer, I have a much greater understanding of the distinct local challenges different communities face.  (Google Reader is sort of the Bible of Triad’s social media practice.  Treat it well, Justin.)

T:  Any funny moments you wish to share that are printable for wide blog distribution?

AH:  While monitoring session, I watched a lawmaker (who will remain nameless) scamper to the back of the floor because he was unsure of how his party would vote and evidently forgot that his name was one of the first to be called. We saw him peeking out from behind a door. That image still makes me laugh.   (Democracy is a wonderfully messy thing, Adrienne.)

JM:  One of the funnier moments of this summer came during my first week here. At the first hearing at had to attend, two committee chairmen got into a screaming match that lasted 5 minutes. It’s always amusing to see public figures lose their cool in, well, public. (The really amazing part is that it doesn’t happen more often!)

T:  Would you recommend this experience to a friend, or to a grave enemy?

AH:  Definitely a friend. I had such a great time that it didn’t feel like work.  (Adrienne’s real response was “Like I would be honest.”)

JM:  Since Triad takes more than one intern, I’d say both.  (Covering both bets.  Nicely played, Justin.)

T:  Did you find it odd that we never asked you to make coffee?

AH:  I would have done so gladly! But I would hate to step on Randy King’s toes. He does a good job. (Randy grinds his own beans, keep that in mind for next year.)

JM:  Slightly, and I’m quite proficient with a Keurig Coffee Maker.  (You are re-hired.  See you Monday, Justin.)

T:  If we promised to pay you above slave wages, would you rejoin our esteemed intern program next summer?

AH:  Absolutely. I live in New Cumberland, Roy. You will not even have to wait until next summer. Tweet me. (Adrienne knows how to get the attention of the president of the firm.)

JM:  Money speaks to every American, especially poor college ones looking ahead to thousands upon thousands of dollars in grad school debt. Sure.  (Grad school, shmad school!)

Triad wishes the best of luck to Justin and Adrienne!

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