Campbellsville University hosts Kentucky High School Journalism Conference

April 23, 2012
For Immediate Release

Hagit Limor, past president of the Society of Professional Journalists, who has won 10 Emmys, spoke to the Kentucky High School Journalism Conference at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

Hagit Limor, past president of the Society of Professional Journalists, who has won 10 Emmys, spoke to the Kentucky High School Journalism Conference at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

By Deborah Tiedemann, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Ten-time, Emmy Award-winning journalist Hagit Limor recently shared a lesson with aspiring journalists, “There is no such thing as a vacation.”

Limor shared this advice and more with 116 high school journalism students and their teachers recently on the Campbellsville University campus. All attended the 2012 Spring Conference for the Kentucky High School Journalism Association hosted by the Department of Mass Communication at Campbellsville University and the institution’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Seven high schools were represented: Bryan Station, Campbellsville High, Central Hardin, Fern Creek High, Trinity High School, Taylor County High and Southern High School.

“I really liked the luncheon guest speaker; she was very informative and had some really cool stories to share,” Trinity High School student Matt Shuts said. He was one of 14 students who attended from the Louisville school.

Limor told the students that she took a pleasure trip to Japan last year, armed only with a BlackBerry and note pad, but wound up being the first reporter to cover the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan her fourth day there.

Limor is the immediate past national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and an investigative reporter with WCPO-TV’s in Cincinnati. She is the key investigative reporter for the award-winning I-Team and has covered news stories throughout the United States, Central America, Europe and Asia receiving dozens of national, state and local awards.

“Journalism is the key, the core of our democracy,” Limor said during her luncheon speech.

Leading seminars from the Department of Mass Communication were Stan McKinney, associate professor of journalism at CU; Dr. Russ Barclay, visiting professor in public relations; Rick Wilson, graduate assistant in the department; Dr. Thomas Jeffrey, instructional technologist and assistant professor; and Jeannie Clark, broadcast digital media producer; and Dr. Keith Spears, vice president for regional and professional education, who are adjunct instructors.

Others on campus leading seminars were Joan McKinney, an adjunct instructor in the Department of Mass Communication and news and publications coordinator with the Office of University Communications; Christina Kern, office assistant, and Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator, both from the Office of University Communications; Dr. DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs and assistant professor of political science; Chris Megginson, sports information director; and Richard RoBards, assistant to the sports information director; and Ed Goble, admissions marketing specialist with the Office of Admissions.

David Greer, who directs the Kentucky High School Journalism Association for the Kentucky Press Association, was also in attendance as were Jamie Sizemore, publisher of the Kentucky Standard and immediate past president of the Kentucky Press Association, and Jeff Moreland, publisher/editor of the Central Kentucky News-Journal.

Jason Nemes, law associate at Fultz, Hovious and Dickens and an attorney for the Kentucky Press Association, also spoke during the workshop. He led a session explaining what high school students and their teachers need to know about mass media law.

“Knowledge is power, it is crucial for student journalists, broadcasters and publishers to study their constitutional right to report so they can be prepared to defend it when challenged,” Nemes said.

His was one of the 29 sessions available at the conference.

Tony Lococo, advisor for the Echo online newspaper and teacher of print journalism at Trinity High School, attended the sessions on high school media law and sports writing. Trinity High School had 14 students who participated in the conference.

Lococo was pleased with the workshop.

“I really feel it was beneficial for my students,” Lococo said.

“The nuts and bolts of how to write a good sport story is primarily what Richard RoBards and I covered in the sports writing and sort section contents sessions,” Chris Megginson, CU sports information director and webmaster for, said.

“I have received emails from school advisors stating that were implementing some of the ideals from these sessions in the next edition of the school newspaper.”

RoBards also the facilitated the sports photography session showing examples of sports photography and giving students pointers on how to position themselves to get the best shot possible. A retired newspaper publisher, he is the assistant sports information director and primary sports photographer at CU.

Another session was on writing for broadcast. Students got to record a DVD on the set of CU’s television station of the newscast they had written. Spears and Clark presented the session.

Clark also led a session on basic videography and basic film editing.

“I liked the basic TV news casting session the best because I plan to be a news broadcaster when I get older and this gave me hands-on experience,” Tiffany Lawson said. Lawson is on the staff of the Taylor County High School student newspaper The Cardinal Times and attended the conference with 15 of her classmates and two advisors.

“It was rewarding for me to see my students benefit from several sessions on branches of journalism such as broadcast, public relations, blogging and advertising. I saw several light bulbs go on throughout the day, and I was so glad that I brought them,” Susan Sherrard, adviser for the Central High School’s newspaper, The Central Times, said. Seventeen students from her school attended.

Gerry James, president of the CU Student Society of Public Relations (PRSSA), used Twitter to keep up the chat about the conference, giving away prizes.

“Had a lot of fun. Definitely coming back next time!!!” tweeted Keaton Blair who attended the conference with four advisors and 35 other students from Jefferson County Fern Creek Traditional High School.

Stan McKinney, associate professor of journalism, lead professor of mass communication and key organizer of the event, said he was pleased with the comments he heard about the workshop.

“Everyone really seemed to enjoy the sessions and to benefit from them,” McKinney said. “This was a great way to get prospective students on our campus and to share with them our passion for mass media.”

McKinney said none of presenters received payment for their time.

“All willingly volunteered their time to share their expertise,” McKinney said. “Many of our students, faculty and staff also participated, giving up much of their spring break to do so. I am very grateful for that.”

As a result of this year’s workshop, the Kentucky High School Journalism Association has asked the CU Department of Mass Communication to help sponsor a statewide workshop in late January in conjunction with the winter convention of the Kentucky Press Association, the Kentucky News Photographers Association and the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association, McKinney said.

Plans are already being made to offer a spring workshop on campus next year.

Joan McKinney, news and publications coordinator at Campbellsville University, who led a session on editing and using Associated Press style, said, “The sessions were insightful and engaging for the students, and we hope it sparked interest in coming to Campbellsville University.

“We heard many positive comments from participants and teachers about how the workshop was well organized with great content. They loved the food in the Winters Dining Hall!”

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is