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Meet Andy Kanengiser


Hey Writing Center family! I hope this final month of school is treating you well. Things can get pretty hectic when finals are approaching, so I’m going to give you a little break from the stress! I recently interviewed Andy Kanengiser, Mississippi College’s news coordinator and table tennis sponsor. He told me about his unique story as a writer and offered some helpful writing tips. His interview was very interesting and I would love to share a little bit about him with you!

Andy. Kanengiser, Mississippi College’s news coordinator and table tennis sponsor

Mr. Kanengiser grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, where his father, a 1940 graduate of the well-credited Missouri School of Journalism, helped cultivate his love for writing. He explains, “My dad would read the newspaper, then throw it across the living room to me. I started reading it myself and became quite the editor. I would always say, ‘Hey dad, I noticed the headline was wrong or they’re missing a word in his paragraph.’ I loved the newspaper so much that I started my own newspaper about the wiffle ball games my siblings and I played in our backyard. I reported on who won the game, the amount of home runs each player had, and other statistics.”

Mr. Kanengiser’s love for writing may have begun on his living room floor, but it led him across the country. He wrote for the college newspaper at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, before transferring a few hours away to Penn State University. He soon was accepted as a reporter for the Penn State newspaper, as well. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he pursued a graduate degree in library science and worked as a reporter for the newspaper at Florida State University. Upon graduating, Mr. Kanengiser worked for newspapers in Tallahassee, Florida, and Albany, Georgia. He eventually came to Jackson, Mississippi to report for the Clarion Ledger and kept this position for 28 years before becoming the news coordinator at Mississippi College.

Mr. Kanengiser reporting on an event at the Brick Streets for Mississippi College in 2014

Reflecting back on his time at these various newspapers, Mr. Kanengiser misses the thrill of creating stories when technology wasn’t as advanced. He explains, “I learned how to write on a typewriter and I actually became pretty fast with just two fingers. By the time I was working for a newspaper, I could quickly type a story on a piece of paper and hand it over to the editor. Once the editor revised the story, he would use scotch tape to put all of the stories together. I also could go to an event out of town, call a reporter over the phone, and have them write the story as I talked.” While Mr. Kanengiser loved his beginning days as a reporter, the changes in technology and the advances in his journalism career has made him a very experienced writer.

As an experienced writer, Mr. Kanengiser believes almost every person will have to write to some extent in their occupations, whether that writing is for newspaper stories, presentations, or emails. Since so many people will be faced with writing tasks, it’s important for students to grow their writing skills while in college. Mr. Kanengiser suggests students turn to the MC Writing Center for help, because the Writing Center will help students improve their writing in any academic field they study. Even if students don’t need specific writing help, Mr. Kanengiser encourages them to take part in the events hosted by the Writing Center. He expresses, “The Writing Center hosts very fun events, and I think everyone should go to as many as possible. Last year, I attended the Writing Center’s National Day of Writing event and wrote a letter to my daughter in Texas. It reminded me of writing letters home from summer camp when I was a child.”

Mr. Kangengiser suggests that you visit the Writing Center!

Not only does Mr. Kangengiser advise students to interact with the Writing Center, but he also urges them to never quit. He reminisces, “When I was given my first assignment for a newspaper in Tallahassee, Florida, I was told to cover an event at a local university. I didn’t have a car and it was raining, so there was no way I could make it to the event on time. Instead, I called the library the next day and asked if they had a recording of the event. They said yes. I was able to listen to the tape, write the story, and the people at the paper never knew I missed the actual event. So, in my opinion, there is always a way to finish the story or get your writing done. You just have to keep trying.”

You can follow Mr. Kanengiser on Twitter @akanengiser and take his advice to visit the Writing Center by making an appointment today!