PR Professional Interview

Kanika Whipple was born in Los Angeles, California and is 32 years old. She graduated from Pepperdine University, with her B.S degree in Public Relations. Kanika currently runs the PR department for the American Cancer Society here in Kennesaw, Georgia.  I am currently volunteering with Kanika at the American Cancer Society as her helper and I shadow her at her programs. The interview was conducted face-to-face on June 9, 2010.

The interview took place in her office, which provided a calm and relaxed environment to gain information.  I started the interview off by asking her what a typical week is like for her.  

Well, there’s not really a typical week.  Last week was determining the needs for my programs.  If I am focusing on promotion, I make sure a release is written and send it through to our Marketing Director for any input.  I then refer to our media list to send the information out.  Often, if a volunteer I work with has relationships with any media, I forward it to them.  Besides that, I am generally in the community talking to nurses, doctors, MAs,

Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

While at Hill and Knowlton, I was a part of a team that worked on Sony Playstation.  This was awhile ago when the Xbox was coming out and threatening to take over a huge portion of the market share.  Most recently, we created the first Survivor Concert this past year in Cobb County and it garnered great press in the local media.

What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

I read a ton!  PRSA is a great resource.  And, continuously writing to promote our programs helps a lot, too.  It kind of keeps me in practice though that is not a real function of what I currently do.

What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

I wish I would have known to stay in the field longer than I had, if I were to make this a lifelong career.  I exposed myself to agency pr, but not much else.  I would have taken the time to delve into other areas.

How important is writing in your career? 

It is extremely important to know how to write, particularly in AP style.  I think it is important to know how to write in a way that would catch the reporter’s attention – get your client noticed. 

What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

    • Network, network, network
    • Fine tune your writing
    • Learn the preferences of the media you are targeting
    • Expect to work hard


Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How? 

My education definitely prepared me for public relations in a theoretical and broader sense.  But, most of my education in public relations was developed by working hands-on.

What has surprised you the most about working in PR? 

How much people really don’t know or understand about the field.  It’s often confused with advertising and is thought of as something easy to do, when it really is a lot of work.

How has PR changed since you entered the field? 

Yes, I think the way that information is gathered has changed and social marketing has also altered how things are done.  Blogger relations….people pitch bloggers now which is amazing because they are not reporters.  But, they still have a voice and a following.  I also remember the days of Media Map.  Now, there are web-based directories that I understand companies to use more.


June 10, 2010. PRCA 2330, Uncategorized.

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