Posted 02.09.14 by prhcareers
Save for the countless picture and chapter books stuffed into every nook and cranny of the surrounding area, the PR department of Penguin Children’s is a far cry from your typical primary school classroom, where my recent academic training prepared me for work. Having completed a few publishing internships before and during teacher training, my interest in children’s publishing was alive and kicking, and so when Penguin advertised a summer internship within their children’s department, I chased it with (somewhat manic) enthusiasm. Weeks spent drafting and editing my cover letter (and chasing down friends and family to proofread every version) paid off as I finally found myself at 80 Strand, where I would spend the next 10 weeks as a PR intern.
Perhaps the most striking observation I’ve made during my time here (and one I’m reminded of daily) is the incredibly fast pace of the PR department; numerous projects running alongside each other require a dedicated team with high levels of energy and enthusiasm in order to be carried out effectively, and every day the team displays nothing short of superhuman qualities when it comes to getting the job done. Their passion for what they do is infectious; whether proudly leading the way in the YA movement with John Green’s phenomenally successful novel, The Fault in Our Stars, or inspiring a love of reading in a generation of children because of the Wimpy Kid series, the PR and Marketing teams pull out all the stops when it comes to promoting the products of a business they truly believe in.
As for my own role within the department, I look exclusively at the current events programme, measuring its overall effectiveness and making recommendations based on observations and research. It’s a job that strikes a nice balance between desk-research and being out and about; one day I’m in the office looking at sales data, the next I’m taking notes at a sing-along event for toddlers at Edinburgh Book Festival! I am also regularly invited to sit in on meetings and brainstorming sessions, which offer an invaluable insight into the inner-workings of the department, and am lucky that, for the odd time I feel I can contribute something, I feel listened to and valued. While everybody has their own individual jobs to complete, PR is also a very collaborative process, and the team are very welcoming of any thoughts or ideas they can bounce around.
As I write this, I am halfway through my 7th week at Penguin, and it feels like time has been robbed right from under me. It has been a truly wonderful experience, steeped in learning curves, challenges and opportunities, and I’ll be sad to swipe my ID tag for the last time come September. I am so grateful to the inspiring and supportive people I’ve met along the way, for the interesting and engaging tasks I’ve been set, for the opportunities I’ve been presented with and for being invited to be part of such a brilliant business, if only for a short while.