As a 21-year-old senior journalism student at Temple University, I’ve spent much of my time surrounded by two types of career-oriented people – those who wanted to enter into journalism in a technical capacity, and those who wanted to enter into journalism as editors. Personally, an equal measure of ambition and subsequent dissatisfaction manifested itself as indecision; rigorous photojournalism courses spoiled me with the satisfaction of technical production as well as the engagement of writing and reporting. As a result, I valued both but could choose neither.
As my classmates excelled in a singular manner I was always jealous of, they accepted internships with small non-profits as copywriters or sold photographs on a freelance basis to the Metro. Wanting responsibility in a novel sense, with experience to gain in copywriting, photography, advertising, and marketing, I found and applied for an internship with Graham Media Partners – a boutique marketing agency based in Wayne, PA.
Of course, my photojournalism background is not exactly common for such internships, but during my interview, Steve and Lisa Graham analyzed my strengths, though atypical of an advertising and marketing applicant, and measured how I may contribute to the company in a unique and valuable way. I can’t overstate what a comfort it was to find a young, expanding business that was interested in growing along with me, and only two forward-thinking entrepreneurs would have proposed that.
Within the first few weeks of working with Graham Media Partners, I began to understand the ways in which journalism, photography, and marketing can overlap. An economy of words is absolutely necessary for social media management – understanding how to convey a positive message in few words is a lesson any journalist will retain from an introductory editing class. Similarly, this internship promotes a flexibility inherent to the on-call lifestyle of a photojournalist; sometimes a client’s website needs headshots with little-to-no warning, sometimes a daily special menu needs to be redesigned for digital use, and sometimes an opportunity for food photography springs up from a client meeting. These are the obstacles that Graham Media Partners trusted I could overcome, and expected excellence as a result.
And it has been a lot of fun! The young company works best in a communicative, positive, and constructive environment. We spend most afternoons out at some of the new restaurants in the Greater Philadelphia Area, taking inspiration for our clients and discussing the best ways to launch a new campaign. And when we’re not running over a marketing strategy in the office, we might be discussing the latest episode of True Detective over lunch.
At GMP I have learned a great deal about communication, design, photography, and marketing. When I began, I knew next to nothing about what advertising and marketing entailed, only that I had a few of the requisite skills necessary for its production. Now, I’m beginning to gather a valuable understanding of social media presence, media advising, marketing campaigns, and constructing detailed analytic reports for our clients. I still have a lot to learn, that’s for sure, but I’m glad I’ve found a small agency to continue learning with.
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