CU, CKNJ Join Partnership to Preserve McKinney’s 21-Year Collection of Negatives

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The negatives of Stan McKinney, third from left, assistant professor of journalism at Campbellsville University and former editor of the Central Kentucky News-Journal, are being preserved by Campbellsville University’s Montgomery Library. At a presentation at the Kentucky Press Association to explain the process were Dr. John Burch, from left, dean of distance learning and library services; Pat Keefe, new publisher of the Central Kentucky News-Journal; McKinney; and Tim Hooper, CU archivist. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Negatives from more than 20 years of newspaper work by Campbellsville University journalism professor Stan McKinney are being preserved and catalogued in a unique arrangement between the Central Kentucky News-Journal and Campbellsville University’s Montgomery Library.

McKinney’s 35mm negatives, taken from 1980 to 2000 when he was editor of the Central Kentucky News-Journal, a twice-weekly newspaper in Campbellsville, are being scanned and placed in a digital collection which the public ultimately will be able to access.

McKinney and John Burch, dean of distance learning and library services; Library; and Tim Hooper, the library’s archivist, gave a presentation on the preservation effort at a recent Kentucky Press Association convention in Louisville. Several images from the collection were shown.

The collection includes images from all types of events – including tobacco fields, feature stories on individuals, car accidents, everyday life, fires – the stories that make the news. The collection also includes many images of Campbellsville University.

“I’m very honored to have this arrangement with the CKNJ and Campbellsville University,” McKinney said. “This project is ‘near and dear to my heart.’ I know of no other newspaper and university that have made this type of collaboration. It’s a great sense of pride for my work to be memorialized and be available to the public at their leisure at the university’s library.”

The image collection will be known as the Stan McKinney Central Kentucky News-Journal Central Kentucky News-Journal Digital Image Collection, A.B. Colvin Baptist Collection and Archives, Montgomery Library, Campbellsville University.

Several photos from the collection were used by McKinney in a textbook, “Beginning Photojournalism,” published in August of 2008.

McKinney estimated that he shot an average of five rolls of film a week with 100 exposures per week for a total of at least 100,000 images. He said some of the photos were of buildings that are no longer standing, people who are no longer with us and politicians through the years.

McKinney said he stored the negatives the best he could in protective envelopes and boxes, all labeled as to the month they were taken and subject matter. He said he had worked for other newspapers where negatives were thrown away after they were no longer needed.

“Our history is being lost with negatives like these not being preserved,” he said. “We can’t wait forever to do this type of work because the negatives are being destroyed by heat and moisture.”

McKinney encouraged other newspapers to also take steps to preserve the negatives they still have in storage before it is too late.

Hooper said that some of McKinney’s oldest negatives do shown signs of deterioration despite his attempts to preserve them.

Burch said the work of determining who owned the negatives, copyright issues and what the collection is really worth took time and investigation by legal experts.

The arrangement between the university and the Central Kentucky News-Journal is one in which the newspaper does not lose control, but the public will be able to view the images and in some instances obtain digital copies to make prints for a variety of purposes. Requests to make prints will go through the library and must be approved by the Central Kentucky News-Journal.

Hooper oversees five CU student employees who are involved with the daily digitization process. These students are learning valuable skills in the area of digital preservation and archiving, Hooper said.

“We presently have 13,000 images scanned consisting of years 1980 – 1985,” he said. “It’s an organized process, and we’re doing a good job of labeling the photographs.”

Images are saved as large TIFF files with master files saved on two separate local hard drives. Masters are then compressed to smaller files and saved on DVDs. He said he is using “very expensive equipment” including a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED scanner and a Dell Precision T5400 computer and LaCie hard drives. Three stations are working on the project.

McKinney, Burch and Hooper all said they hope other newspapers will also take steps to preserve their negatives and the history they recorded as did Pat Keefe, publisher of the Central Kentucky News-Journal who attended the meeting.

Campbellsville University 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 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.