— Bobby Schrader, ’13
Every semester, COMM 309 Introduction to Public Relations completes a media release project, where students practice their media relations skills with a local organization or company, who serves as the class “client.” For the 2012-2013 academic year, the Food Bank of Delaware has served as the client. Kim Turner, a 2006 graduate of the Department of Communication, serves as the food bank’s communications director.
Turner manages all media relations for the organization. Anytime the organization wants to pitch a story to a newspaper or to a media outlet, it falls under Turner’s department. She also manages the food bank’s numerous social media outlets and the organization’s website, including updates, writing blogs and anything that involves communicating their message to the public, she says.
“It’s different every day,” Turner says. “You think you’re going to go in and you’re just gonna have an easy day or you’re going to go by the schedule of the day, and then a reporter calls and wants to do a story.”
When Turner first started at the Food Bank of Delaware in 2008, she says food banking was popular within the media. A lot of families were experiencing hunger for the first time, she says, so there was a lot of media attention surrounding the issue. In her first few days, she says she was getting multiple interview requests.
Turner says her favorite part of her job involves knowing that she works in an organization where they know they make an impact in the community. The food bank helps one in four Delawareans.
“It’s nice to make the community aware of the need and that ultimately helps people who don’t have the resources to purchase enough food for their family,” Turner says.
In high school, Turner worked on the school yearbook, which she says added to her interest in working in the communications field. Turner says since some of her strongest skills included writing and speaking, communications seemed to fit.
Before her position as communications director, Turner served as the programs and communications specialist at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. She started at the Food Bank of Delaware as the community relations manager, and last May, the organization made the communications department an individual entity. Turner became director of the one-person department.
As a Department of Communication graduate, Turner remembers the engaging professors and interesting classes. She says Dr. Caplan and Dr. Mortenson were two professors that taught her to think of things in a different way. Turner wrote for The Review, was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and a member of PRSSA.
“Try to make as many contacts as possible,” Turner says. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who are currently in the field.”
Turner’s most recent intern reached out to her in Professor Bartoo’s Introduction to Public Relations class. She encourages students to reach out to alumni and other professionals because she knows most would be willing to sit down and talk about what it is they’re doing.
“And I always stress the importance of good writing,” Turner says. “I think it’s important for all communication students to be both excellent speakers and excellent writers.”