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The New York Times’ Kathleen Kingsbury visits Auburn for journalism talent pipeline program

Destini Ambus and Kathleen Kingsbury talk to Plainsman reporters
Plainsman Editor-in-Chief Destini Ambus (left) invited New York Times Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury (right) to the Auburn Plainsman newsroom to talk to student reporters during their first in-person meeting at Auburn.

Journalism senior and Auburn Plainsman Editor-in-Chief Destini Ambus met her new mentor, New York Times Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury, for the first time this month as part of the New York Times Corps program.

The New York Times Corps is “a journalism talent-pipeline program” for underrepresented college students in the U.S. that pairs participants with a Times adviser for career guidance.

Ambus, a first-generation college student from Beulah, Alabama, said she applied to the Times Corps for its unmatched professional development resources.

“The New York Times is a really prestigious news organization, and I thought it would be good for me to get some professional development advice from a place where I eventually want to work,” Ambus said. “I really would like some direction on what to do after college, especially about how to prepare for working in a 24-hour news cycle. There are things specific to opinion, and things that are specific to journalism, that I’m excited to learn.”

Ambus said her experience at The Plainsman helped her build the confidence and experience to apply to the Times Corps. Throughout her time at Auburn’s student newspaper, Ambus has served in many roles, including campus reporter, opinion editor and as of this year, The Plainsman’s first woman of color to be named editor-in-chief.

Her vision for The Plainsman includes expanding outreach and ensuring the paper’s content reflects the diversity of Auburn’s campus. Ambus said everything she learns in the Times Corps program will benefit The Plainsman’s newsroom.

“At the Plainsman, it will help me be more confident in what I’m telling everybody, and I hope they take a lot from the things that I have to say,” Ambus said. “It’s different when I say something and they trust me to know it, and now I have this program to help share what’s right, and it’s also genuinely helpful advice.”

Ambus’ adviser, Kathleen Kingsbury, is head of Opinion at The New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and editor. Kingsbury said being paired with Ambus was a natural fit.

“Destini and I are just getting to know each other, but already her emphasis on leadership and trying to develop the talent of her newsroom is really impressive,” Kingsbury said. “We were absolutely delighted that she applied, and we were able to extend an offer to her to be part of our first cohort for the Times Corps program. The idea behind the program is to identify and foster up and coming talent in the journalism world, and Destini clearly qualifies.”

During her visit to Auburn in October, Kingsbury met with journalism students to discuss working for the Times and advice for their future careers. Kingsbury said these meetings, and her participation in the New York Times Corps program, is part of her priority to nurture new talent.

Mentorship, Kingsbury said, directly influenced her success and she looks forward to giving back in that way within the Auburn community.

“It’s been wonderful to be introduced to and welcomed by the Auburn journalism community,” Kingsbury said. “Everyone has been very generous and welcoming. My major reason for wanting to come to Auburn, besides meeting Destini, was the opportunity to talk to students about working at the Times in the future and beginning to develop a connection to the university.”

For more information about the School of Communication and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts, visit here.

Tags: Communication and Journalism

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