Audrey Kinney, the widow of SJMC alumnus James M. Kinney, recently made a generous $100,000 gift to establish the James M. and Audrey H. Kinney Scholarship. In addition, Kinney has designated the University of Minnesota as a beneficiary of her estate. The scholarship will support students interested in a career in community journalism.
by Jen Keavy
Mrs. Kinney hopes the family's gift in memory of her husband, James, will make it possible for aspiring newspaper professionals to go on to fulfilling careers in community journalism.
Mrs. Kinney, along with her daughters, Kristin Hays, Allison Halvorson, Ann Allison and Dr. Jane Kinney, made the gift in gratitude for the journalism degree James Kinney received from the University and his life's work as editor and publisher of the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood, Minn., which was informed and shaped by his training at the J-school. The family hopes the gift will make it possible for other aspiring newspaper professionals to go on to fulfilling careers in community journalism.
Eldest daughter Kristin Hays recalls that when she sat down with her sisters and mother to discuss the specifics of the scholarship, her father's passion and dedication to community journalism emerged as the central theme. "I think Dad would be pleased to know that community journalism isn't just alive and well, it's growing," she says. "Even though he wasn't averse to writing editorials, he believed strongly in the neutrality of the press and he felt the job of a journalist was to present the facts in such a way that people could make up their own minds about an issue."
Hays adds that the Kinney family is thrilled to honor her father's legacy in this way and that his work at the Pope County Tribune was a family affair. "All of us in the family were connected to the newspaper," she says. "My mother worked for the paper on many occasions, and all four of us girls had jobs at the newspaper through junior high and high school. We were all involved with and passionate about the paper."
A native of Alexandria, Minn., James Kinney grew up in a newspaper family. In 1932, his family moved to Osakis, where his father published the Osakis Review. Kinney graduated from Osakis High School in 1942 and immediately began his college studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. World War II cut his college studies short, however. From 1943 to 1945, Kinney served as a medium tank gunner in the 717th Tank Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge, Central Europe and eastern Rhineland campaigns. After he returned to the United States in 1945, he served as an Army public relations officer until January 1946. He then studied journalism and political science at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1948.
After college, Kinney worked for the Swift County Monitor News in Benson, Minn., where, as would be expected at a small newspaper, he wore many hats--editor, reporter, advertising salesperson, and even typesetter and printer. "For as unhandy of a man as Dad was, he could set type, run a line of type and run the press," Hays remarks. "In fact, one of his favorite things toward the end of his life was setting type and running the press at the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation Museum Exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair each year."
For the bulk of his career, however, Kinney was owner and publisher of the Pope County Tribune. He purchased the paper in 1955. He also served as director of the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 1968 and as a member of the association's board for several years. Throughout his career, Kinney received many awards for his editorials and editorial pages. He also co-founded Quinco Press, a newspaper printing business in Lowry, Minn., and had a financial interest in a number of other west central Minnesota newspapers. He passed away in 2003.
When asked, "If you could do just as you wish, what would you be doing 10 or 15 years from now?" in his application to the University's journalism program dated Sept. 21, 1946, James Kinney responded, "owner or general manager of a daily newspaper."
More than 60 years later, Kinney will help make a similar wish come true for many SJMC students.
Add impact to your giving--be a "double donor"
In these tough economic times when resources are precious, you may be trying to maximize existing assets while maintaining support for everything that is important to you. By applying the same creativity that goes into stretching your budget, you can stretch the impact of your giving. Become a "double donor." In other words, extend your support and the impact of your generosity by giving in two ways: Make both current and future gifts.
No matter what size your individual gifts may be, by stretching your giving to include both the present and the future, you can extend your philanthropy and truly make an impact. Through your generosity as a "double donor," you can multiply your support for the SJMC and have the satisfaction of knowing your gifts will make a difference now as well as in the future.
For more information about ways to give, contact Mary Hicks, director of external relations, College of Liberal Arts, at (612) 625-5031.