International studies major and environmental studies minor Natalie Whitt ’19 (Owingsville, Kentucky) is interning this summer at Counterpoint Messaging in Nashville, Tennessee. The firm works for various Democratic candidates across the nation on political messaging.
“My internship has consisted of various tasks, but I have most consistently worked on researching political candidates, as well as news headlines the candidates are associated with,” Whitt said. “I have also been tasked with gathering information on voter demographics in particular areas of the country, including the most relevant issues that those voters are concerned with.”
Since social media continues to play a large role in political races, Whitt explained how she had the opportunity to regularly assess the current social media presence of their clients and offer advice on how they might refine their persona to relate to the target audience.
“Another important piece of political messaging is advertising, and that is but another service Counterpoint has the capability of offering clients,” she added. “That being said, I have been afforded the opportunity to sit in and offer my own input on advertisements in the creative meetings that are held at the earliest stage of the process. In addition, I have been able to present at production shoots that have taken place here in Nashville.”
Whitt said this internship experience with Counterpoint has given her rare insights into another side of politics that she didn’t realize existed in such breadth. Her interest in this opportunity came from wanting to learn more about a potential future job that deals with assisting Democratic candidates in how they might reach audiences that identify and always vote conservatively at the polls, and in general, how a Democratic candidate should brand themselves in different environments.
“There is a lot of strategizing that goes into a campaign and image—how one conducts themselves in various settings is everything,” she said. “The difference a well-curated advertisement or a revitalized social media presence can have on an election outcome is substantial. It can be the one factor that dictates whether a candidate wins or loses.
“I feel very lucky to have been afforded such an opportunity and will always be thankful for this experience,” she concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 17, 2018