James Kenney | Department Head
Professor James H. Kenney received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno, and his master’s degree from Syracuse University. He has taught at Western Kentucky University since 1993 and has been the coordinator of the photojournalism program since 2001. Kenney has taught courses in photojournalism, multimedia, design and picture editing. He is also the director of the Mountain Workshops. He received the WKU Teaching Award in 2001.
Kenney was a photographer and photography editor for newspapers in Las Vegas, Nevada, before entering the teaching profession. He has spent his summers photographing projects in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, Nigeria and Jamaica. He spent a summer as a photographer for the Lexington Herald-Leader and worked a summer for National Geographic in their faculty fellowship program.
In 2012, Kenney made three trips to Haiti for a documentary project that was part of his sabbatical.
Some of Kenney’s professional credits include still photography and multimedia awards in the Best of Photojournalism 2007 and 2008 contests, a multimedia award in the 2008 Pictures of the Year International contest, a Best of Show in the 2007 Southern Short Course, AEJMC’s 2008 First Prize in its Creative Project Competition and multiple awards from 2000-2016 in the Kentucky Newspaper Photographers Association’s Photographer of the Year contest.
Kenney has spent the last two summers teaching in the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program in Louisville, Kentucky, and he is currently freelancing for the Associated Press photographing Tennessee Titans football games.
Kenney’s greatest reward in life is being blessed with a wonderful wife, Nancy, and six incredible kids – James III, Weston, Will, Olivia, Luke and Ian.
Tim Broekema | Professor
Tim Broekema is a busy man. So busy that he didn’t even have the time to write his own damned biography. He had a ghostwriter do it. Tim is a very powerful man if he can command ghosts.
As a tenured professor of Photojournalism at Western Kentucky University and 2016 recipient of the Robin F. Garland Educator Award by the National Press Photographer’s Association, Tim has helped shove hundreds of students out into the real world of photojournalism and they still love him dearly. His students have won truckloads of individual top Hearst honors, NPPA, CPOY and POYi awards and accolades for their work. Since 2000, he and his colleagues have lead their students to 12 Intercollegiate National Photojournalism Championships in the Hearst Competition and they have won the Multimedia Intercollegiate National Championships every year since 2012, the first year of the contest. His students have landed jobs at various alphabet-laden organizations like CNN, MSNBC, TIME, the LA Times and the other Times on the right coast as well as places in the middle. Tim has taught them well.
Apart from being the type of teacher other teachers strive to be (note from ghost writer: that will be an extra 20 bucks), Tim has a long and successful career as a visual journalist. He originally attended WKU himself back in the Stone Age. He worked first as a photog, then an editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal, The Providence Journal, The Kalamazoo Gazette, The Chicago Tribune and Pravda (just seeing if you’re paying attention).
He is generally the consummate professional except for the time he tripped over a video camera crane while filming a room full of journalists. If he breaks out a dolly, hoist or boom, take my advice and run for the exits (or set your cameras on AUTO and wait for the hilarity to ensue.)
Tim is one of the movers and shakers behind the storied Mountain Workshops held every year in small Kentucky towns. And if you can believe it, he is the Creative Director for the University of Kentucky hospital’s 100-foot multimedia installation located in the lobby of the hospital’s ICU and Acute care wing. He may someday actually perform routine gall bladder removals.
Did we mention his 2011 participation with SHOWTIME / CBS that won an Emmy for best sports documentary, his 1988 team Pulitzer with the Courier-Journal, his National Press Photographer’s Association Best Of Pictures award-winning Obama’s first inauguration coverage, his 10 Pictures Of the Year International “thingys” including Sports Photographer of the Year in newspaper and magazine in 1994, a 2016 Telly Award for online video direct marketing, a Governor’s Award in the Arts in 2017 from the Commonwealth of Kentucky as part of his involvement with the Mountain Workshops and some crazy honor from The Daughters of the American Revolution? He was a member of the Chicago Tribune design team in 1994 when The Society of News Design recognized the newspaper as the “Best Designed Newspaper in the World.” He even won something called the Talisman Award which, quite frankly, sounds a bit frightening so don’t mess with him; sit quietly in your seats and don’t make any sudden movements.
So like the old saying goes, if ain’t Broekema, don’t fixema, (note from ghost writer: I’ll give you back those 20 bucks).
Jeanie Adams-Smith | Professor
When Jeanie Adams-Smith left the Chicago Tribune in 2002 to take a position at Western Kentucky University, she was looking forward to sharing her expertise with students in one of the nation’s premier photojournalism schools.
Her 10-year career at the Tribune culminated with her in the position of national/foreign picture editor during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, which forever changed America. By then, Adams-Smith had already published a photo-documentary book on minor league baseball, and a multimedia piece on the children of divorce that won first place in Pictures of the Year International.
In the years since she joined the staff at WKU, powerful and affluent media outlets have collapsed or downsized and a “leaner and meaner” news industry is emerging in fast-paced and ever-changing web-based multimedia outlets. Adams-Smith is fully engaged in the technologies that drive these changes, while stressing that they are simply new tools that can help journalists accomplish their mission of gathering and communicating news in a professional and ethical manner.
Since arriving at WKU, Adams-Smith published two more books of social documentary photography and was named 2006 Photographer of the Year by the Kentucky News Photographers Association. The university nominated her book, Survivors: The Children of Divorce, the culmination of six years of work, for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction.
Adams-Smith has also won international awards for photography documenting women’s health clinics in Chicago neighborhoods, Vanderbilt University’s burn unit for children, a family’s struggle with traumatic brain injury, and a photographic testimonial by survivors of rape and sexual assault in Kentucky.
In the past several years, she has traveled twice to Cuba, documenting the everyday lives of people in Old Havana, a World Heritage Site as yet untouched by international commerce. She has also been to western Ireland to document family farms threatened by industrial agriculture. The work has won her several regional and national awards. She recently returned from England where she taught at Harlaxton College for a semester and worked on a project on family farms in Europe.
Adams-Smith has been asked to judge regional and national photo competitions, including the White House News Photographers Association, Photographer of the Year International, and the Society of News Design. She regularly spends several weeks each summer teaching journalism to selected high school students in Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program, and she takes great pleasure in introducing the joys of photography to children in two local programs.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in communication from Western Kentucky University; she earned a master’s in visual communication from Ohio University.
Adams-Smith has been married 19 years to her husband David, and they share the joy of raising their 12-year-old daughter Abigail. Besides her family, her other passion is CrossFit and training for half-marathons and triathlons.
Jonathan Adams| Visiting Professional-in-Residence
Jonathan Adams is a 1993 graduate of Western Kentucky University’s Photojournalism program and gained experience working at newspapers in Michigan, New York, Maine and Wyoming. He is the former chief photographer at the Jackson Hole Guide in Jackson Wyoming where he gained an appreciation for small town journalism and big national park mountains.
In 1999 he quit his job to spend a year traveling around the world photographing as he toured through 23 countries. Since then, his passion for traveling has taken him on many more extended journeys around the globe as a photographer.
Searching for a better balance in work and travel, he has spent the last 10 years running his photography business focused in wedding, editorial and commercial photography.
He earned his Masters in Visual Communication at Ohio University with the goal of teaching photography at a college level during this next stage in his photographic career.
For the past two years he has taught in the photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University as a Photojournalist-in-Residence and has organized the Video Storytelling portion of the Mountain Workshops for seven years.
While not teaching, he often lives in his cabin in eastern Kentucky.
Miranda Pederson| WKU PJ Lab manager| Mountain Workshops Coordinator
Bio coming soon.