The concept of internships is a good one. From the beginning internships have been a great way for public relations students (and most other students for that matter) to learn how to apply the theory and practices studied in the classroom to real-life situations. And while experience isn’t all there is to sound public relations education, it remains a critical component.
In fact “The Professional Bond,” a recent report by the Commission on Public Relations Education, continues to characterize supervised work experience as an essential part of good public relations education.
Good internships require that interns be doing work that is of value to organizations. Without this, internships have little value for the intern or the organization.
Earlier this year PRSA issued a set of guidelines for the ethical use of interns clarifying its position that it is ethically wrong to employ interns who add real value to an organization or employer without compensating them for their work. However, as a recent Reuters’ story about older interns shows, some organizations still aren’t playing by the rules.