Campbellsville University Students Learn from New York Times Editing Workshop

By Joan C. McKinney, director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s Campus Times top editors visited The New York Times recently to learn more about the craft of editing.

Maegan Kennedy, the Campus Times editor, from Elizabethtown, Ky., and Madeline Kitchens, assistant editor, from Rineyville, Ky., who will become the editor next fall, joined about 75 other students from across the country as they studied in the “Inside the Times” workshop.

“From the seminar, I learned a lot of important editing tips. I learned how to be the best editor I can be so that the writer becomes the best writer they can be,” said Kennedy, who will graduate in May with a major in mass communication.

“Everything we learned can be applied to the Campus Times,” she said. “When I edit the stories of my staff, I’ll use the advice I was given at the Times and hopefully do a better job of editing.”

Kitchens, a junior public relations major with a minor in English, said, “The people we met who worked there didn’t constantly speak in the most eloquent sentences or throw thesaurus-worthy words into casual conversation. They were real people who mixed up their words sometimes and had normal lives. They just happened to be normal people with an eye for quality writing and great story ideas.”
“Just to be invited was an honor,” said Stan McKinney, assistant professor of journalism and adviser to the Campus Times.

“The New York Times is one of the most respected newspapers in the world. What a great opportunity for students to spend time at the newspaper and see how such a large, respected publication is assembled.

“I’m jealous. I got to go to New York but the workshop was for students only.”

The students met with Felice Nudelman, director of education marketing, and CU is now talking with The Times about becoming a partner with The New York Times Council of Independent Colleges.
Such a partnership would allow CU to have access to resources such as Newspaper Readership Programs, campus speakers, support for campus contests and events, faculty and student workshops, online research tools and more.

McKinney said a partnership with the New York Times and the Council of Independent Colleges could open many doors for students.

“I’m always looking for ways to broaden students’ horizons and enjoy great relationships with many media. The New York Times is a resource I believe any university would love to have,” he said.

Kennedy and Kitchens also met with Bill Schmidt, assistant managing editor; Karen Crouse, a sports reporter; Don Hecker, managing staff education training, who conducted the editing seminar; and Ethan Bronner, deputy editor of the foreign desk.
“Everything we learned was informative,” said Kennedy. “Mostly I enjoyed just being in the company of some of the world’s best journalists, editors and staff,” she said.

Kennedy said the students learned how to write catchy headlines in the editing seminar and also how to write interesting leads that will draw readers into a story.

“Being a good writer will never hinder you and often help you,” she said. “I think that learning how to be a good editor helps me become a better writer and that will stay with me always.”

The New York Times offers internships for student journalists, and Kitchens said she is considering applying for an internship as a copy editor at the Times or at least interning somewhere in the copyediting department.

“I can’t say that I would’ve considered that without this trip,” she said.

Kitchens said she and Kennedy discovered the “basic problems they had putting out the paper (The New York Times) mimicked our own here at the Campus Times, and the basic news process they went through were all so understandable and comfortable it really bolstered my confidence in what we’re doing.”

“Maegan and I got into some great conversations with the people who sat around us, and we were able to learn a lot from their experiences and processes. Hearing the other students’ goals and plans was a great way for me personally to set some new goals for myself, my role as editor next year and my career plans,” Kitchens said.

Although both Kennedy and Kitchens said they were disappointed a tour of the newspaper wasn’t included in the seminar, they said they would like to visit the newspaper again and also take in more of New York City. Because of weather issues, there was not much sightseeing during the trip.

Kitchens said, as she plans for next year, “I learned a lot about how to attract more student writers and how to gather info from the student body about what they want in a paper. Surveys, forums, etc. with giveaways to gather attention, are some of the ideas they gave us. Also, I personally learned a lot about how to hone my writing into more of a newspaper focus,” she said.

“I really want to get info from the campus about what they want to read about. We have a very world-minded campus, and I think a new section about outside the community would be good and it was suggested by the NY Times to focus in that way,” she said.

Kennedy is the daughter of Scott and Claudia Kennedy, and Kitchens is the daughter of Dennis and Roxanna Kitchens. Both are graduates of John Hardin High School; Kennedy in 2003 and Kitchens in 2004.

For more information about the mass communication department at CU, contact McKinney at or (270) 789-5035.

Campbellsville University, now celebrating her Centennial year, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 14 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.

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