Media Relations Internship
The National Zoo invites applicants for a media relations internship in the Zoo’s busy Office of Communications.
The Office of Communications handles all media requests for the Zoo, as well as proactive media outreach about the Zoo’s collection, exhibits, and scientific research.
- Interns will gain public relations experience and shadow the communications staff as we escort media around the park. They will assist with press conferences and compose background materials.
- Interns will gain experience interviewing Zoo staff and scientists.
- Interns will learn how to write press releases/photo news releases.
- Interns will learn how to use Meltwater News and TV Eyes as outlets to collect media hits pertaining to press releases and other stories that may garner attention.
- Interns will write and develop content for the Zoo’s social media and learn the appropriate tones and messaging for representing an organization.
- Interns will gain marketing experience by writing/developing content for Zoo e-newsletters and Smithsonian Enterprises products.
- Interns will maintain Office of Communications media database using Meltwater News.
- Communications staff will act as mentors to the interns and ensure that they receive constructive feedback on all assignments.
- Materials prepared by interns (and reviewed by SI staff) will be used in a variety of communications, including press releases, social media, web updates, and e-newsletters.
- Interns will assist by staffing press events.
- Interns will assist by taking notes during staff meetings and relaying pertinent information to the Communications team.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Plan, research, write, edit, and design copy for the Zoo’s news releases, social media platforms, fact sheets, e-newsletters, web updates, and other external materials; including production and distribution of news releases and press kits
- Monitor news outlets for Zoo stories and assemble media reports
- Maintain an up-to-date media database with media email, phone, and postal mail
- Assist with the planning and production of press events
- Other administrative duties as needed
- Major in public relations, journalism, communication, English, biology, or related field
- Strong interest in science
- Excellent writing skills
- Strong organizational skills
- Willingness to take initiative and motivation to seek new learning opportunities
- Keen attention to detail when proofreading, copyediting, and fact-checking
- Flexibility and a good sense of humor
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Desktop publishing, HTML, and related computer skills
- Good research ability and command of the Internet
- Public relations experience or abilities
This is an unpaid internship. College credit is offered if desired; intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
Rock Creek, Washington D.C.
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C. area.
The National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns. There is limited parking at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia.
Term of Appointment
The Office of Communications holds three media relations internship sessions: spring, summer, and fall. Interns will work between 24 to 40 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions to session dates may be made in order to coordinate with university and work schedules.
- Spring session: January to May. Applications accepted September 15 through November 1.
- Summer session: June to August. Applications accepted February 15 through April 1.
- Fall session: September to December. Applications accepted May 15 through July 1.
To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu/solaa/SOLAAHome.html. ”Then select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here"
When you complete the information to create an account, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in.
You will select:
- Type of appointment: “Internship”
- Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
- Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
- Project: “Rock Creek-Communications/Media Relations”
Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:
- Basic personal information
- Resume or CV summarizing education (including current academic status) and employment experience.
- A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit” and when your references have been received (your SOLAA submitted application and references must be received by the deadlines as noted above).
For additional information
Questions about this internship should be directed to the
Office of Communications, or general internship questions to