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KU senior selected for White House College Reporter Day

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Maddy Mikinski’s first trip to the White House next week will include a visit to the West Wing.

The University of Kansas senior on April 28 will join dozens of student journalists from across the country as part of the first White House College Reporter Day. During the event, she will meet with senior administration officials about campus-related issues, interact with members of the White House press corps, and attend a briefing with Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

“I have always wanted to go to the White House,” said Mikinski, selected among student reporters producing content for newspapers, radio and TV stations and campus blogs. “I hope to gain a better understanding of how the press corps works in covering important issues.”

As part of the program, Mikinski plans to report afterward about the experience for various KU media outlets. The application process required students to share an example of how a newspaper covered a problem affecting the campus community. Mikinski submitted a University Daily Kansan story from the spring 2014 semester featuring a KU alumna known to care for cats on campus and finding them permanent homes.

“That story has been my pride and joy since I started working at the Kansan,” said Mikinski, originally from Linwood, Kansas, and a Basehor-Linwood High School graduate. “I left a notecard in a cat bowl for the woman, saying, ‘I’d like to interview you.’ It’s been one of my favorite stories.”

Mikinski has made the most of her opportunities with the Kansan. She has written for the entertainment section, news and features, and copy edited. This semester, she serves as the opinion editor.

Scheduled to graduate in December, Mikinski said attending law school was an option. Her long-term aspirations include being a travel writer and working for National Geographic. She is enrolled in First Amendment and Society, which focuses on critical-thinking skills and analyzing cases focusing on the roles, rights and responsibilities of the news in a free society.

“Exploring how the laws work fascinates me,” she said.

Among her classes this spring is Statehouse Reporting. Students develop story ideas based on legislative actions, report accurately and ethically, meet deadlines, explain complex legislative action in simple terms and help readers understand the legislative process and its effect on their lives.

“I have always been encouraged to find stories and get to know people you normally wouldn’t talk to,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to know what is going on. I think that really prompted me to pursue journalism. It’s the best way to be informed; plus, I love writing.”

Steve Rottinghaus

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