Communications Internship – Fall 2023
Come be a part of Public Citizen’s communications team and learn how one of Washington, D.C.’s original public interest watchdog groups spreads its messages and reaches out to the media. You’ve heard that corporations have lobbyists; we are the people’s lobbyists, representing the public in the halls of power on a variety of critical issues. We fight for public health and safety, champion corporate and government accountability, and campaign for fair trade, clean and safe energy, and consumer rights. We work aggressively to get our message out in print, radio, television and online. This is an opportunity to make a difference while getting some great experience for your résumé!
We seek a well-informed intern for a minimum of 15 hours a week (the schedule is flexible).
- Interns will have a varied and interesting range of assignments. Key components of the job are:
- Writing and proofreading press releases, media advisories, blog posts and articles for Public Citizen News, the organization’s member newspaper.
- Pitching upcoming press conferences and events to reporters.
- Taking photos and/or videotaping press conferences and other events, and creating videos for Public Citizen’s website.
- Providing administrative support with research, database management, press list maintenance and data entry, among other tasks.
- Helping us maintain our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Strong writing and communication skills, experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and Outlook), basic knowledge of the news gathering process and current events.
Public Citizen internships are available year round. Our internships are up to 40 hours a week for around eight weeks. **We accept unpaid internship applications on a rolling basis and currently are accepting applications for paid internships for Fall 2023.**
Public Citizen offers unpaid internships (credit can be arranged) and a small number of paid internships ($16.50 an hour). To be considered for a paid internship for Fall 2023, candidates must apply by July 10, 2023, and submit materials listed below. Chosen applicants will be notified by August 7th.
If you are applying for a paid internship, please include an essay outlining why you want to intern at Public Citizen and any other information about you that you wish to have considered, including your need for financial support (500 words or less). If you have completed the FAFSA, please also submit a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Please send your cover letter, résumé and a brief writing sample to Shauna Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to write “communications internship application” in the subject line and indicate if you are applying for a paid or unpaid position.
“From the time I began, I was given the opportunity to do substantive work with multiple different people on the team. The variety and breadth of work I was able to do in the internship was impressive—without being overwhelmed with tasks, I was brought in on ongoing projects and given the chance to start my own. I had the chance to make connections, build on skills I already had, and learn new things. This internship was a great way to end my undergraduate career. Going into my first full time job in the communications sector, my work at Public Citizen directly helped me prepare for my new role.”
– Lacey, summer 2022
“Applying for the communications internship at Public Citizen was the best decision I could have made. I grew an exponential amount both professionally and personally. My supervisors were there to support me throughout the internship, giving me both the guidance and independence to develop and learn new skills that I will definitely be using in my career. The work varied greatly, from the opportunity to write about various important issues which Public Citizen is fighting for and have my writing published in the member newspaper Public Citizen News, to utilizing complex software in collecting and analyzing data. Learning about the important work being done by Public Citizen felt fulfilling and inspirational. Knowing that the people of Public Citizen are working to advance social justice, and contributing to being a part of that change, is extremely encouraging. Overall, I feel more prepared and motivated to continue working in non-profit and political communications and am certain that anyone else in this role would feel the same.”
– Agnes, fall 2021
“A few weeks after I finished my internship with Public Citizen’s communications team, the university I attend released a piece of alarming news that required a rapid and effective response from the student body. For my own small part in this process, I was able to use the skills I had learned all summer to write a quick and effective press release, distribute it to the media, and field interview requests. My summer with the Public Citizen internship had given me invaluable know-how and connected me to a wonderful team of professionals. I highly recommend it.”
– David, summer 2021
“My internship with the communications team at Public Citizen was an incredibly rewarding and invaluable experience! I was able to develop many tangible skills that will continue to benefit me going forward, such as drafting memos, writing blog posts, compiling press lists, and tracking media coverage. This internship gave me the opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals on issues that I am truly passionate about, including public health, worker safety, and climate change. Everyone in the communications department was extremely supportive and I always felt respected as a valued member of the team. I’m truly grateful for this experience because it helped me develop confidence in the workplace and further inspired me to pursue a career in public interest advocacy!”
– Josephine, summer 2021
“Interning at Public Citizen taught me so much about how to blend policy and communications together and gave me so many valuable political advocacy skills. The PC team is wonderful—supportive, fun, thoughtful, and smart—and was a joy to work with and learn from!”
– Sara Kate, summer 2021
“As an intern with the Public Citizens Communications team, I was able to gain hands-on experience in the field of advocacy! It was an enriching and educational experience where I was able to not only learn tangible skills such as how to draft a press release or build a press list, but also be able to fight for causes I believe in. This internship also exposed me to a variety of aspects of working in the field of communications, with each day bringing a new and exciting assignment. I was able to write blog posts that mimicked op-eds, draft media advisories, create content for the Public Citizen Instagram account, and even conduct an interview for the Public Citizen News publication! Everyone in the Communications Department was encouraging, always ready to answer questions and provide support when needed. I was excited to return to the internship every day knowing that I was contributing to important efforts to enact progressive policies and fight for the public interest. As a result of this semester, I am more informed about a wide array of issues – from public health to trade to workplace protections – and more impassioned than ever to continue advocating for the public interest in the future.”
– Eva, spring 2021
“As a communications intern, I proofread constantly, undertook research to support organizing and lobbying efforts across Public Citizen’s various campaigns, identified media outlets and reporters to pitch communications materials to, and was trusted to help with outreach to national and local press outlets. I had the opportunity to write press releases and media advisories, summarize extensive research ranging from congressional conflicts of interest to white collar crime, and learn about social media strategies and graphic design. I was always encouraged to devote more time and energy to projects of personal interest. My supervisors were hilarious, supportive, and inspiring – even though we never got to meet in person, due to the pandemic! The communications team as a whole was always friendly and took my work seriously, offering valuable feedback and criticism as they would to other colleagues. After my internship, I feel ready to support a fast-paced political campaign, work in progressive media, or join an editorial team. I would recommend the internship to anyone interested in high impact, public interest work who wants to work with some real superheroes.”
– Diego, summer 2020
“Interning with Public Citizen’s communications team was a fantastic introduction to the field of progressive advocacy and media relations. As a political science and communications student, my experience allowed me to develop skills essential to the field, such as drafting press materials, designing social media content, writing for Public Citizen’s newsletter and so much more. I also couldn’t have asked for a better group of colleagues to help me grow as a young professional. In addition to being passionate about their work, the communications team is extremely welcoming, supportive, and will make you feel like a part of the office rather than just an intern. I never received any busy work, was taken seriously and was challenged every day. After my time at Public Citizen, I am more inspired than ever to pursue a career in the communications field and know I have developed the skills I need to tackle my next step!”
– Molly, fall 2019
“My summer with the Public Citizen Communications Department did so much to boost my confidence as a writer, photographer, and activist. Each day brought a new issue to tackle, and it was great to be able to tackle it alongside those who had spent decades learning the ins and outs of working on the Hill. My colleagues were friendly, helpful, and passionate about their work, which energized me in return. Even outside my department I met a number of people who were more than happy to sit down and talk about what led them to their chosen field. I was given the opportunity to write releases and articles that I could use for future applications, hone my photography skills at press conferences, interview people who were affected by the policies we were challenging, and join inspiring rallies around D.C. I was even encouraged to take the initiative to start my own projects, one of which involved a three-day trek around the city with the DSLR camera I had trained the department to use. It was so special to have my input valued, and I feel that this hands-on experience with the daily grind of advocacy work really prepared me for working in politics or in the greater nonprofit world.”
– Emily, summer 2018
“The Public Citizen communications department will immerse you in a wide variety of assignments and activities. I did what felt like it all: media relations, writing, proofreading, research and even got to go on a few “field trips” on assignments. All of this experience has really helped me appear like a well-rounded and prepared candidate for other communications positions. Not to mention, I was able to take some of the work I did with Public Citizen and use them as valuable writing samples for my career portfolio. All in all, my Public Citizen communications internship experience was great! If I could do it again, I would! I feel as if this experience prepared me for future success and it has the potential to prepare anyone else as long as he or she is willing to put in the work and be willing to learn.”
– Brianna, summer 2016
“Interning in the Communications Department of Public Citizen gave me a hands-on experience not only of consumer advocacy but of the U.S. federal government. Covering press events and congressional hearings allowed me insight to events that I would otherwise not have had access to. The diverse responsibilities of the internship allowed me to hone skills not just in written communication, but in videography, photography, and telecommunications and feel confident in designing media strategies. The other colleagues in the communications department were not just welcoming and friendly, but genuinely interested in teaching and mentoring me. I felt well supported and well challenged. Overall incredibly useful and exciting internship; I highly recommend!”
– Molly, summer 2016
“I really liked the office dynamic and how you the staff treated both the interns and each other as friends and not just cookie cutter co-workers. It was a huge incentive to have such awesome and friendly people around me. Not only that but I learned a lot during this internship. Coming in I didn’t really know anything about communications (as it was not my major), but after realizing what the communications department does and how closely knit the entire department is with everything inside and outside the organization, it made me think about possibly having a career in this. Whether it’s something as tedious as editing papers to creating an entire press release that undergoes edits before publishing, it was a very good learning experience and worthwhile above all else.”
– Brent, summer 2016