Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

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When English Meets PR and Journalism


Erin Dwinnells

Erin Dwinnells


Guest Blogger: Erin Dwinnells, English major, student intern, Flash Communications

The great thing about being an English major is that I can utilize adjectives to their utmost potential. Never has an English professor said that I elaborate too much or explain too little, and over the years I’ve fallen into a comfortable pattern of verbosity and complexity.

Needless to say, I was rather nervous about starting an internship with the University Communications and Marketing division. I failed epically at writing for my high school newspaper (although my articles about cheesestick day did make the front page a few times), and I’ve never been a big newspaper reader (except for the crossword puzzles and horoscopes of course).  However, after a couple quick interviews and numerous story revisions, I had my first big article published on e-Inside.  It’s choppy and somewhat difficult to follow perhaps, but essentially more refined than I ever imagined.

The biggest difference between writing for the English department and writing for UCM involves not so much the command of the language, but rather the refinement of it.  The essay I’m currently writing about Mark Twain for my English Literature from 1865-1945 class, for example, emphasizes the importance of artistic embellishment in his novels. And what better way to illuminate artistic embellishment than to use a trove of adjectives, compound sentences, and vivid imagery?

Writing an informative news article, however, involves a dissection of the language into its most simplified and concise state. I admire journalists because it always seems more difficult to write about truth than to write about speculation and theory.  Words need sifted and weaned into their most simplified form so that the story not only satisfies the author, but also satisfies a vast audience. It’s cosmopolitan, it’s accessible, and it’s the opposite of English essays. The journey has been difficult, but I feel so lucky to have this experience.

Plus I feel pretty cool strutting through the English department with my AP Stylebook. Take that Mark Twain.