The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas provide many internship opportunities for students who are interested in public relations careers. Students regularly intern in both business and non-profit environments, providing ample exposure to real-world public relations. Examples of companies and organizations where Coe students have recently interned include:
- Alzheimer's Association
- American Red Cross
- Cedar Rapids Kernels
- Coe College
- Community First Credit Union
- Four Oaks
- Mercy Hospital
- Uptown College District
An organization's reputation, profitability, and its continued existence can depend on the degree to which its targeted public supports its goals and policies. Public relations specialists—also referred to as communications specialists and media specialists, among other titles—serve as advocates for clients seeking to build and maintain positive relationships with the public. Their clients include businesses, nonprofit associations, universities, hospitals, and other organizations, and build and maintain positive relationships with the public. As managers recognize the link between good public relations and the success of their organizations, they increasingly rely on public relations specialists for advice on the strategy and policy of their communications.
Public relations professionals handle organizational functions, such as traditional media, social media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. Public relations specialists must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups to establish and maintain cooperative relationships between them and representatives from print and broadcast journalism.
In addition, public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. Sometimes, the subject of a press release is an organization and its policies toward employees or its role in the community. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does to advance that issue.
Public relations professionals also arrange and conduct programs to maintain contact between organization representatives and the public. For example, public relations specialists may speak to represent their organizations and/or set up speaking engagements and prepare speeches for others.