Posts tagged politics

#Zimmtern Insider: Planning the Greatest Debate Watch Party Ever

By Amanda Benizzi

“I want you to plan a debate party, for around 300 people, in under a week. Go.”

Wait. What?

On October 19, Robert Zimmerman hosted a debate party, co-hosted by the Hillary Clinton campaign with special guest Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, for the third and final presidential debate of the 2016 cycle at the Paramount in Huntington, NY. In under a week, he invited more than 300 Long Island community members and local elected officials to watch history in the making. I was fortunate enough to work on the debate party in multiple ways, from inviting guests to preparing the room, all the way through the entire event and debate.

Public Relations is a fast-paced, ever-moving industry; practitioners have to be skilled in creating events swiftly to keep up with our 24/7 news cycle and generally fast-paced world. As an intern, working on the debate party gave me a real-life look at what work goes into planning an event in a small amount of time with a large amount of pressure. It made me realize that even the smallest things—like creating the actual invite, to mailing each individual letter, to the arrangement of the decorations in the room—make such a difference and can change the success of an event.

I don’t think we could have had a better night, to be honest. We arrived at the venue just two hours before the debate was set to start and just one hour before the guests were set to arrive. We decked out the room with games, posters, buttons and stickers. We assembled more than 50 Clinton-Kaine lawn signs, which to my surprise turned out to be the takeaway that guests were most interested in—some people even took them home for their friends and family.

Watching a debate with friends is an event in itself, but watching a debate among passionate members of a community next to their own elected officials is an electric feeling, not to mention a great opportunity for networking. It gives you the chance to meet other members of your field—those who influence the public relations world—and to build relationships with your coworkers outside of the office.

As an intern, if you haven’t had the chance to work on an organization or client event, ASK! It’s a very rewarding feeling to see the results of your hard work, and it shows your employer that you are engaged in the events your firm is holding and you’re willing to work on things beyond what you are assigned to do.

Working this event definitely put the perfect ending to a crazy debate cycle, one that’s been completely different than anything we’ve experienced. I’m grateful that I was able to take the opportunity to learn about event planning and combine them with my interest in politics. It’s true that you get out of something what you put into it, and if you put your time and effort you will come out with amazing experiences that will last beyond your time as an intern.

Public Relations, Politics and the New Hampshire Primary

By Marykate Guilfoyle

Being a student at Hofstra University, I’ve gotten wonderful opportunities to advance my education with personal experiences. In February, I had the chance to attend the New Hampshire Primary with Hofstra’s Political Science Department. This was an experience of a lifetime, in which I was immersed in the media and political culture of New Hampshire.

Zimmterns Jessica McNamara, Marykate Guilfoyle and Gregory Stengel at the NH primary.

Zimmterns Jessica McNamara, Marykate Guilfoyle and Gregory Stengel at the NH primary.

Being a public relations and political science major, the primary gave me a look into the world in which I want to be a part. I got to experience the middle of a media frenzy while also listening to candidates speak in intimate settings. I was able to attend small events for Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Jim Gilmore, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Being a New Yorker, this is something I would have never been able to experience.

New Hampshire is all about retail politics and authenticity; the candidates had to relate to everyday people. It was their job to make as much of a personal connection as they could to make sure their message was heard. If the people didn’t feel that the candidate’s message was genuine and authentic, the candidate has failed.

This is what PR is all about; you have to connect with people and deliver your message in a way that your constituents will understand it. At all of the different candidate’s events, staffers were handing out posters, flyers, pamphlets, stickers and more. Everyone that worked on the campaign did whatever they could to keep potential voters and guests of the event happy.

Sen. Rubio and Marykate

Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio pictured with Zimmtern and Hofstra student Marykate Guilfoyle.

Marco Rubio was late to an event and as we waited the staffers ordered pizza to keep everyone upbeat. At a Hillary Clinton event people got shut out of the event due to the gymnasium reaching capacity, so the staffers made it their job to give everyone waiting in line priority seating at the next Clinton event. This was all done to maintain the candidate’s image and reaffirm the importance of the guest at the event to the candidate.

Public Relations and politics go hand and hand, and I had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

zimmterns new hampshire primary 2

The Zimmterns got a first-hand look at campaign rally’s for both the Democratic and Republican Party’s.