An Intern's Perspective - Ellen McLaughlin

 Written by Ellen McLaughlin


The lovely folk at 3x1 Public Relations have rather graciously agreed to a student takeover of their company’s blog, allowing me to talk about my professional Masters placement hosted within their wonderful ranks... and what an education it has been!

Like most people in PR, my tale is a slightly unconventional one. Originally an English Literature and Sports Studies undergraduate, I had grand aspirations of involvement in sports journalism and broadcasting. Unfortunately, I was rather abruptly brought down to earth by a fledgling Irish economy which rudely informed me that my professional ambitions weren’t going to be so easily attained (or maintainable!). So, after taking a year out, saving, contemplating, umming and ahing a family friend advised me to look into public relations.

To cut a long and rather boring story short, I was accepted to study an MSc in Public Relations at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, which I began in September 2014. One of the things that most attracted me to the course was the practical experience it offered and I can retrospectively say I made the right choice. After a lecturer advised me to contact 3x1 which fortunately resulted in an interview with Katrine Pearson, my request to join the organisation for twenty days of action packed PR activity was kindly accepted.

Although I think academia makes an important contribution to public relations, the practical side of the industry truly is a whole new world. You have never been totally exposed to PR until you have worked in an agency that deals with diversity on a daily basis. Seeing theoretical concepts brought to life is rewarding, but an exposure to the PR that exists beyond the pages of a text book has been invaluable. From research and development involving Scotch Beef to photocalls with green witches, theory is no substitute for real life PR experience.

Post-placement, I have been asked to discuss a topic regarding the organisational culture I have encountered during the practical element of my course. The aspect I have chosen to examine regards the concept of social capital and how it increases the effectiveness of both people and organisations. Thanks to a patient, talented and knowledgeable team in 3x1’s Edinburgh office who have supported and nurtured me all the way through, I can safely say this organisation has it in abundance.

Whether you’re reading this as a prospective PR student or a PR employer, I can’t stress enough the importance of seeking out and giving people the opportunity to intern in public relations. I will fondly carry all the knowledge, skill refinement and professional development I have experienced during this placement, as tools which will equip me to continue to pursue a successful career in public relations. I would like to extend a massive thank you to all the team at 3x1 and wish them every success in the future!


Written by 3x1 Intern Ellen McLaughlin