20 Things I Learned as Scholastic’s Corporate Communications Intern

 

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In December, I applied for Scholastic’s Winter/Spring 2018 Corporate Communications internship. I really, really wanted it.

I say I’ve wanted to work at Scholastic for a long time, and that’s true, but here’s why:

I want to work at Scholastic because they are the American publisher of Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, the Bone series, Dear Dumb Diary, A Bad Case of Stripes, The Invention of Hugo Cabret… All of these books that made an impact on me as a kid and as an adult, but also children everywhere.  Scholastic publishes a lot of books that matter, and books that matter to me and helped shape who I am as a person today.

I want to work at Scholastic because Scholastic cares about children’s literacy and children’s education—with their educational tools, book deals, and reading initiatives, they want children to have access to books and they want children to read. I think that education is the first step in creating opportunities and a better future for yourself and for others. Scholastic wants to help kids have access to education and books, and encourages them to engage in reading in whatever ways possible, whether that be through the Summer Reading Challenge, book fairs, Kids and Family Reading Reports, the Teacher and Principal School Reports, My Very Own Library, Scholastic Book Clubs, and the vast amount of other educational resources they provide. Seeing what I value reflected in what Scholastic values and actions made me want to work there even more.

I want to work at Scholastic because Scholastic values telling genuine and meaningful stories. In the last few years, Scholastic has put out books like George by Alex Gino and Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! by Marley Dias among many others. These books celebrate diversity and inspire kids in the best ways— showing them that it’s okay to be themselves and love who they are. And I love that. I read so many stories growing up with protagonists who looked just like me and grew up the same way I did and felt how I felt. I didn’t realize how much it means to see yourself reflected in stories—and how much it means to not see characters like you in literature, or to see characters like you in literature but represented in ways that aren’t realistic or nice. I see now that diversity in literature is so important and the books that Scholastic advocates for and publishes reflect that, and I want to help promote and publish books that tell real and diverse stories just like these.

Basically, I really wanted/want to work at Scholastic. And then Scholastic hired me. (!) And I spent four wonderful months as their corporate communications intern—learning about all of their education initiatives and literacy research and programs that promote reading and support librarians and educators and community partners across the country. I learned about writing for public relations, I learned about writing for social media and content marketing, and I learned about the trials and tribulations of working together towards a common goal.

Is this a cover letter? It’s starting to read to me like a cover letter. (@Scholastic: hire me)

The past few months have been such a wonderful experience. I felt like a valued member of the corp comm team (thank you Emily, Mike, Anne, Morgan, Stephanie S., Stephanie A., Stefany, Julia, Loribelle, Nicole, Mariana, Jo, Alex, Gina, Brittany, Suzanne, Karen, Deimosa, Jeremy, and Chris for making me feel that way)— working there not only affirmed everything I loved about Scholastic and books already, but it taught me about the Scholastic brand, the company’s divisions and its culture, and also allowed me to be a part of it all and showed me why everything Scholastic does matters.

Today is my last day at Scholastic, and I’m really sad to leave, but I know one day I’ll be back.

Here is a list of some of what I learned/practiced while working here:  

  1. When you’re supposed to maintain a professional voice in e-mails, and when it’s okay not to maintain a professional voice in e-mails.
  2. Research and evidenced-based conclusions from research are likely to inspire action and change.
    1. I had to study and analyze Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Reports over the past few years as well as their Teacher and Principal School Reports, and I’ve learned so much about how kids learn and read, as well as how educators get families engaged and encourage kids to read.
  3. I learned the distinctiveness of the Scholastic voice when writing social media copy. Also, writing social media copy is a lot harder than it looks.
  4. How much planning goes into a single event, and how to handle yourself and others at events.
    1. Also, how to gather people you don’t know and get them pumped up to take pictures for social media.
  5. All about Sprinklr as a content management and social media scheduling platform.
  6. Representation in stories is so important.
  7. When you don’t know something or you’re confused about a project, ask questions.
    1. Also, if you want to be included in something that you know is going on, ask to be included and be proactive about being included.
  8. How I might go about handling crises in a communications leadership role, while still staying on-brand.
  9. The stories/books you read as a kid have a huge impact on you as an adult.
  10. There are a few facets to corporate communications, like social media and publicity.
    1. I say this because corporate communications can mean different things at different companies.
  11. All about the “summer slide” and how/why kids don’t read over the summer, as well as the best ways to get them to read over the summer.
  12. How to write and send out pitches to news outlets and not be disappointed when I don’t hear back.
  13. I learned that it’s okay and encouraged to stay connected with the people you work with.  
  14. The process of writing press releases, and the necessary elements and format of a press release.
    1. I learned a lot about writing for public relations, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I was given to practice writing things that really matter.
  15. Along those lines—writing, writing well, and being able to write in all different styles and voices are really important skills to have. And it’s REALLY hard to learn and get used to.
  16. The importance of getting to know your coworkers, especially when you work on a big team.
  17. When building media lists, quality contacts matter more than the quantity of contacts you collect.
  18. Participating in staff meetings gets you noticed and is also helpful.
    1. Mike advised me to speak up at least once per staff meeting.
  19. Scholastic has a lot of different divisions, yet they all represent one brand under the big Scholastic umbrella.
  20. I need to stop apologizing so much.
    Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.46.40 AM
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2 Responses to 20 Things I Learned as Scholastic’s Corporate Communications Intern

  1. Danny Livingston says:

    Terrific!!

    Danny Livingston

    Danny Livingston

    Like

  2. Bud Livingston says:

    Great stuff. I hope you get back there

    On Sun, May 20, 2018 at 2:19 PM, Amanda Under Construction wrote:

    > Amanda Livingston posted: ” In December, I applied for Scholastic’s > Winter/Spring 2018 Corporate Communications internship. I really, really > wanted it. I say I’ve wanted to work at Scholastic for a long time, and > that’s true, but here’s why: I want to work at Scholastic becaus” >

    Like

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