Michele Kenner

News Design Coordinator at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Degree(s): BJ '83 (News-Editorial), BS '83 (Economics)

Whereabouts: United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What do you do?
I design both covers and inside pages for the main and Metro sections. I occasionally design the Business section. I also fill in on the National Desk.

Best professional lesson learned at the J-School?
Journalism ethics. Every day at the Journal Sentinel, we struggle with ethical questions that came up both in class and in practical situations at the Missourian and the Maneater. To this day, I can hear my professors’ words bouncing around my head.

What would be your best advice to current students?
Three things:

  • Learn as much as possible about different platforms – tablets, smart phones, Web, print and broadcast – and software but always put your journalism knowledge to work first. We run into many young “journalists” who know a lot about software but don’t know the name of the mayor.
  • Most journalists are not in this for the money.
  • Continue your education with professional seminars and workshops. In addition, take courses that focus on technology. Do not expect your employer to develop your skills. That is your responsibility.

What are you currently working on?
We are trying to do a better job of integrating the print and online products. I am learning more and more about our online design and editing needs.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
Three things:

  • Copy editing our Pulitzer finalist series on Vietnam in 1989.
  • Helping my boss encourage and develop our younger staff members.
  • Teaching design at Marquette University and mentoring a journalism class at a local high school.

What are your next career steps?
Developing the skills to assist with our online needs and trying to serve as a role model for the next generation of journalists at our paper.

What did you want to be as a kid?
As a child, I wanted to work on a newspaper. In high school, I wanted to be a pharmacist, accountant or a journalist. A scholarship to Mizzou made up my mind for me.

What is your secret to success?
My secrets to success: High standards for myself and those around me, plus the foundation of my journalism education at Mizzou. I’m not kidding.

Updated: November 8, 2011