Hi everyone! My name is Paige Brooks and throughout the most recent Fall Semester term, I was given the opportunity to work in the Communications Department at the Diocese of Orange Christ Cathedral, just right down the street from Chapman here in Orange County! I am currently wrapping up the first semester of my junior year as a Communication Studies major and Creative and Cultural Industries minor and have been the acting intern at the Diocese Communications Department for the past three months. This position was perfectly structured as a means for me to not only utilize past knowledge I have garnered through instruction at Chapman thus far, but also provided me with the unique opportunity to delve into other relevant aspects that exist in and around the communication field such as journalism, public relations, and social media management!
The Diocese of Orange is a subsection of the Catholic Church that oversees 57 parishes, 5 pastoral centers, and 36 schools all within the greater Orange County area. Within this institution, the Communications Department works tirelessly to ensure that cohesive messaging and consistent branding and media outreach are maintained throughout various internal and external communication endeavors. Whether those endeavors entail creating content for social media engagement, sourcing information from relevant individuals to craft press releases for local news usage, or simply editing content to release within in-house informative briefings, competent and effective communication exists at the center of all of the aforementioned projects. Therefore, it was quite pertinent that I relied on my knowledge as a communication student to successfully contribute to each task I was assigned to.
Throughout my position, various projects I was tasked with included writing press releases, interviewing parishioners, editing, captioning, and posting to social media accounts affiliated with the Diocese, assisting with the set-up and monitoring of multiple press conferences and events that required the presence of the communications team, and most recently I was assigned with the editing of a dozen videos that will be used as interactive informational sources in the newly instated Virtual Tour of the Christ Cathedral campus. This actually ended up being quite the learning curve for me as I had to become very familiar with editing software that was once extremely foreign to me.
With that said, I think the most rewarding and validating project in terms of seeing my work come to fruition, was when I crafted a Press Release that highlighted an event that was held on the Cathedral grounds. The event and my transcript commented on a topical political issue in regard to the most recent midterm elections, and as a result, I was able to see how my written press release was picked up and utilized verbatim by a local media outlet, KCAL-TV, in a segment that provided direct TV news coverage for the event and the Diocese of Orange. It was extremely exciting to not only work with a team that entrusted me with communicating pertinent information but provided me with the guidance that was necessary to then see and hear my own written words spoken by prominent reporters on a legitimate news source.
Seeing as this internship was located within a literal Communications Department, I found many lessons learned throughout my undergraduate educational journey to be relevant in my day-to-day operations. Most recently this semester, in SCC 305, Marketing Through the Communication Lens, I have learned about the importance of maintaining a consistent brand image across all marketing material. This notion of consistency and reliability in a brand was quite pertinent to the creative development of graphic design material and my subsequent social media upkeep as there seemed to be a certain level of reverence and simplicity associated with the material I was tasked with creating, especially when it came to the Diocese’s association with the Cathedral itself and of course the surrounding Catholic community. Therefore, keeping the lessons I learned in this class in mind while in the design process proved to be extremely helpful when it came to maintaining the Diocese’s established image.
Having the ability to explore all of the different communicative aspects that exist within a Communications Department was an eye-opening experience that I will not take for granted. I feel extremely fortunate to have been given this opportunity to learn and network with such experienced professionals and I cannot wait to carry this knowledge with me to whatever industry I delve into next!