Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dead Pigs and Bomb Squads

I've been in the public relations field for almost five years now. I love it. Every day is something new and different. PR is hard to explain to people because any given day we can be doing something completely different. Whether it's handling media at a press conference, calling a reporter to get them to write a story on something going on with your company/institution, planning a major event, writing an article, mitigating a crisis, preparing response statements - it runs the gamut.

Before working at NC State, I worked for one of the world's top PR firms. I had a wide variety of clients - from one of the world's most beloved doughnut brands, to the largest furniture store in the world, to a high-powered law firm, to a company marketing a procedure for metastatic liver cancer. When I left to try my hand at working for a single institution (as opposed to various clients) - I was a bit worried it would be stale. I was used to doing tons of different things every day.

Let me tell you, I was W-R-O-N-G.

NC State has different colleges - from textiles, to engineering, to education to agriculture. It's a little big of everything. So one day I could be pitching a fashion show and the next, talking about a blanket that could protect astronauts against space radiation. For a person who HATED science throughout my schooling, I sure talk (and write) a lot about it now!

So today is just a sample of the crazy things I get to do. This morning I met with NC State's Patrol Divison Commander to discuss an event in mid-June. State law enforcement - including the state's head of homeland security - are headed to our campus to conduct a full-scale exercise testing their response capabilities to a terrorist attempt on campus. They will go through an entire morning-long scenario where people will be playing terrorists. They will actually be deonating a small bomb and testing their response to it. It's going to be VERY intersting. My part is twofold - 1) Making sure the NC State/Raleigh community know that this is a DRILL so that students aren't calling their parents crying thinking there is a terrorist on campus. 2) Getting the local media out there to cover the drill, while also wrangling them so they don't get in harm's way. Nothing more I like more than a good reporter wrangling. ;)

And now - I'm about to head over to NC State's Lake Wheeler facility to prepare for a video segment I'm shooting tomorrow (I get to be the Ann Curry for NC State) about NC State's Forensic Science program. They are hosting a weeklong workshop for law enforcement personnel to hone their crime scene skills. To practice? They've buried dead pigs so that SBI agents can find them, dig them up, examine the crime scene and determine a cause of death. Pretty cool, huh?

In between I've been on the phone with a reporter at NPR to coordinate an expert for a segment she's working on about American-made products and helping prepare some responses to the state budget crisis.

See what I mean? Just a little of everything. Looking for an interesting career - consider public relations!

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