Sally Renaud Turner

Associate Professor of Journalism at Eastern Illinois University

Degree(s): BJ '81

Whereabouts: United States, Charleston, Illinois

What do you do?
I teach print journalism at Eastern Illinois University, including History of American Journalism, inspired by Dr. Taft’s History and Principles of Journalism class. I also advise the yearbook and direct the Illinois Journalism Education Association and the Eastern Illinois High School Press Association.

How did you get your job?
I had worked in newspapers, then had gone back to school to get a master’s and doctorate. I wanted to teach at an accredited school with a daily newspaper, and this job came open. It is also exciting for me that the state’s high school journalism organization and state high school journalism contest are housed here, and I work with both.

What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
That there are lessons to be learned from the past. Whether to add context to a news story or to understand current events, one has to know what has happened before. I loved learning about how things evolved, whether it was typography or coverage of women on the sports pages or newspaper censorship; the lessons of the past give us perspective, which is vital for everything we do as journalists and as journalism educators.

Who influenced you while at the J-School?
My career has been influenced by several of my professors, some of whom would not even know me because of the size of the classes. Some, of course, have passed away, but I thought the world of all of them, the ones who were kind and the ones who were curmudgeonly. They loved the world of journalism, and they made me love it, too.

What advice do you have for current students?
Be interested in everything around you. Stories are everywhere, from the young boy who bags your groceries to the elderly gentleman sitting beside you on the bus. And take that bus: Get out of the office and pay attention! Ask questions. Learn how most Americans really live.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
Graduating at Peace Park. It was a lovely day but rain was threatening, so they hurried it along. I think the speaker talked for only 10 minutes. The ceremony was intimate, and you could tell the faculty members were proud of us. It was a really nice day.

Updated: November 11, 2011