Senior Interns at 2012 Summer Olympics in London

photo of Nicollete Coontz

An Eastern Kentucky University student has a front-row seat for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and earning academic credit in the process.

Nicolette Coontz, broadcast and electronic media senior from Stanford, has been preparing public relations coverage for her two-month internship with the London-based Channel 5 television network since the last week of June.

Outsourced through the Outside Organisation Public Relations Agency, Coontz began June 8 and will continue through Aug. 4 as part of the in-house production press team, as well as working with Channel 5 employees to coordinate press and publicity events. Coontz also distributes materials and attends events to promote Channel 5 shows, forwards planning campaign strategies, assists journalists with network information, designs press-packs and gathers daily clips of coverage.

In addition, Coontz also acts as a freelancer, covering the London Olympics and writing insider summary columns for media distributions. Her press team may assist with athlete publicity coverage as well.

Coontz will be on call with the press team to report any Olympic event from July 29 to Aug. 4.  “I am most looking forward to two events,” Coontz said. “The first is covering two of the Olympic men’s football (soccer) games, Brazil versus Belarus and Egypt versus New Zealand, both on Sunday, July 29 in Manchester. The second (July 30) is working the Founders Forum: UK’s Creative Industries Reception, in which the Her Royal Highness Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton will be in attendance along with numerous music, film, art and entertainment celebrities.”

The Outside Organisation was created roughly 40 years ago, and it is Great Britain’s most firmly established entertainment public relations company. Covering much more than strictly entertainment, Outside Organisation works to cover the corporate world, theater, sports and more. Clients have included such stars as David Bowie, Michael Jackson, the Beckhams, Prince, Sony Music and many others.

Coontz has worked in the EKU Scholarships Office since 2009 and as an Orientation Leader and Colonel Camp Leader the past two summers. She would like to work for a small-market local news station in the future.

“My dream would be to report for a Lexington affiliate,” Coontz said. “I would like to make the switch to PR and work as a media relations PR practitioner.”

Coontz said her years at EKU have prepared her well for the Olympics internship and other future opportunities.

“First and foremost, the Department of Communication faculty and staff encourages each student, including myself, to directly experience techniques in a hands-on learning environment,” she said. “Instead of book-heavy work, my professors have always maintained a balance that has allowed me to obtain direct experience with numerous software programs, camera equipment, real-life campaign solutions, PR case studies and more. This type of learning prepared me with updated technical knowledge, correct writing formats for various outlets (PR, broadcast, script, etc.) and other professional skills that not only helped me adapt to my internship, but also offer productive suggestions to my employers.

“EKU truly does promote critical and creative thinking, which has polished my communication skills in a professional environment.”

Published on July 26, 2012