Insight Communication: Students gain real life public relations experience

Insight communications students in class. Photo by Erin Ortiz.

Share This:

When Naomi Vazquez, a senior media studies student from Park City, first began Insight Communication two semesters ago, she never dreamed she would make connections with local businesses that would help “catapult” her networking and get her involved on campus and in the community. Insight has helped her feel more prepared for her future in public relations. 

Dixie State University’s Insight Communication program is a student-run public relations agency focusing on helping students gain real world experience with clients, strengthen students’ skills in public relations, marketing and advertising, and prepare students for their careers. It is a practicum course that gives students a chance to build a professional portfolio with a range of work experiences with different companies. 

Vazquez said: “The best thing about Insight is the real world experience that we get. There’s no specific curriculum or structure, [and] every semester is different based on the students in the class and their skills.” 

The students work in a small group with their clients, but also collaborate with other students, receiving feedback and suggestions from peers. Vazquez said during class there’s “a lot of creative energy.” 

Erin Ortiz, associate professor of media studies, and who has been the advisor of Insight Communication since 2015, said: “I understand that people may feel intimidated to join a course that seems out of the ordinary, but I would encourage students to get outside of their comfort zones and engage in communication skills that will be valuable throughout their entire lives. Plus, it is tons of fun with a tight-knit group of students.” 

Ortiz said all of the students in the class have become good friends due to the nature of the work in this course.

“One of the most important things that Insight teaches is that client relationship,” Vazquez said. “Working with a client and making sure that your communication is on point, and making sure that you’re following up with the client, and overall being able to help the client with what they need.” 

Each semester students have an opportunity to work with different clients. Their clients range from non-profit organizations to local businesses. The students work on projects such as event planning, promotions and outreach, creating flyers and social media posts for their clients. 

Allie Garrow, a senior media studies major from Monticello, Minnesota, explained the process once the students are assigned their clients. Students will schedule a time to have an initial client meeting to sit down face-to-face with their client to discuss the needs of the organization and to learn about the company’s values and mission. 

Garrow said: “Throughout the semester, Insight Communication [students] work diligently on the tasks they put together for their client. Each client has different needs and different courses of actions. Some clients may need a stronger social media presence, while other clients may need to focus on creating a strong website to explain their company and product better to draw in consumers.” 

Brynn Swavely, a junior media studies major from Reading, Pennsylvania, is the student director of Insight Communication. Her favorite project this semester was working with a local standup comedy company, Electric Comedy. 

Swavely said: “One of the most fun things I have done for them, up to this point, is the video editing. It means I am just sitting there for an hour and two, watching comedy, picking out the best jokes. This is a dream.”

Swavely said to anyone thinking about joining Insight next semester: “Do it. You won’t regret it. It’s super fun, I can’t think of anything that is equally as fun as it is useful if you’re interested in pursuing any kind of media relations. There’s room for everybody.” 

Insight Communication is a course that will provide students, from all backgrounds, with the opportunity to learn how to make connections, navigate client relationships and prepare them for their futures in media.