Kelley French

Professor of Practice in journalism

Contact Information

  • Office:
    Franklin Hall 230R
  • Office Hours:
    Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30 p.m – 5 p.m., otherwise just text me. I'm usually here.
  • Email:
  • Phone:
  • Website:
    Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon

  • Research and Creative Interests

    narrative journalism, reporting, writing and editing, storytelling, extreme prematurity, interviewing, longform journalism,


    Kelley Benham French came to IU in the fall of 2014 after a career as a reporter and editor at Florida's largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times. She was a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Never Let Go, a three-part series on the birth of her extremely premature daughter, Juniper, who was born at 23 weeks gestation. The series, published in the Tampa Bay Times, explored the science and ethics of saving babies born at the edge of viability and told the story of Juniper's 196 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. 

    French is the editor of three stories that were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: Winter's Tale, by John Barry for the Tampa Bay Times; For Their Own Good, by Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore for the Tampa Bay Times; and Speak No Evil, by Joan Garrett McClane for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. She continues to edit newspaper projects, magazine stories and book manuscripts on a contract basis. In 2017 she edited two projects for the Oregonian newspaper: About A Boy and The Loneliest Polar Bear.

    French is the recipient of a number of national awards, including SPJ's Sigma Delta Chi Award and Bronze Medallion, Scripps Howard's Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing, The National Headliner Award, the Casey Medal and the Dart Award.

    With her husband, Professor of Practice Thomas French, she is the author of Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon, published by Little, Brown. The book was an Best Book of the Month and was reviewed in the Washington Post, USA Today and many other national publications. Read more about it here

    She is a frequent speaker in newsrooms and at journalism conferences around the world, as well as at medical and nursing conferences, where she speaks on the importance of language in critical care conversations and other subjects related to extreme prematurity

    At IU, she coordinates the introductory reporting course, C225, with Professor of Practice Joe Coleman. She has taught the following courses:

    J460: Narrative journalism

    J460: Story mechanics

    J351: News editing

    J560: Storytelling

    J260: Interviewing

    J260: Public records in journalism

    J360: Advanced reporting

    J401: Depth reporting

    H225: Honors reporting, writing & editing for Ernie Pyle Scholars

    MSCH C-225: Reporting, writing & editing

    She has bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Florida and a master's degree from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.