Source: Sherman Publications

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Mackinac Island summer

by Susan Bromley

August 22, 2012

Mackinac Island summer

Katelyn Crain knew her internship at Mackinac Island this summer would be far different than her internship last year with the Lake Orion Review newspaper.

"In journalism, you have to be neutral and portray the good and the bad," she noted. "But in public relations, you have to portray everything in a positive light. What was great about my pr internship on Mackinac was that I didn't have to lie, because everything is positive there. People want to be there and I let people see the full extent of what they can do on their vacation."

The 2009 Brandon High School graduate learned about the internship from one of her professors at Ferris State University, where she will be a senior this fall, majoring in journalism and technical professional communications. She applied for the 12-week internship and was notified in April she had been selected. She arrived on the island May 12 and started work two days later.

Crain's internship involved a wide variety of tasks, including writing press releases, pitching story ideas to Mackinac Island's newspaper, The Town Crier, and also to St. Ignace News. She conducted media tours, escorting journalists from various travel publications around the island. One of her favorite days was helping a television crew from Cadillac with their live broadcast that featured events marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812, commemorated this year.

Crain and her supervisor, Kelsey, walked around with the crew, escorting them to historic downtown buildings and an art museum.

Crain took many photographs herself at both day and evening events throughout the summer, in particular, the daily happenings at Ft. Mackinac. Besides the bicentennial, an archaeology excavation was also taking place at Colonial Michilimackinac this summer, with digging at different sites in the fort.

"Things were burned down and they had to dig to find out what kind of buildings were there," said Crain. "They found fish hooks, broken plates, and buttons."

Crain wrote about the excavation and findings in a bi-weekly newsletter she was responsible in putting together for the 150-160 employees of Mackinac State Historic Park.

"A lot of the internship was about communication and working with people," she said. "I sat at the desk and just wrote some days, and other days was running around with a camera and taking pictures. All the people I got to meet was my favorite part. I heard a lot of stories you wouldn't hear elsewhere and met a lot of people that are very talented. People come from all over the place, workers and visitors."

Crain also worked at a coffeehouse on the island because Mackinac Island is not cheap to live on and her internship was unpaid. On her days off, she explored backtrails and the interior of the island.

"People see the main strip and bike around the island," she said. "It's not the outside of the island you want to be, but the inside, in the middle, it's beautiful. I went for a lot of runs, a lot of walks, I biked. I spent as much time outside as I could."

"It was an irreplaceable experience and one of the best I could have asked for. As much as they said I gave to their organization, they gave me so much more and I couldn't have gotten that anywhere else. I was blessed this summer."