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Kentucky Kernel

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Kentucky Kernel and KRNL editors-in-chief named for the 2024-25 school year

Abbey Cutrer and Laurel Swanz pose for a photo at the KRNL launch party on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Manchester Coffee in Lexington, Kentucky. They were named the Kentucky Kernel and KRNL editors-in-chief for the 2024-25 school year. Photo by David Stephenson

The Kernel Media Board of Directors has appointed Abbey Cutrer and Laurel Swanz as the next editors-in-chief of the Kentucky Kernel and KRNL Lifestyle + Fashion for the 2024-2025 school year.

Cutrer, a University of Kentucky junior majoring in journalism with a minor in photography, currently holds the positions of managing editor and photo editor at the Kernel. She has been with the Kernel since her freshman year and has held positions as assistant photo editor and staff photographer, as well as a photographer for KRNL. 

“It was something that I’ve been preparing for for a really long time. I put a lot of work into my proposal, I wrote a 15-page proposal for the board,” Cutrer said. “And so it was just really reassuring to hear that they felt that I was equipped for the job.” 

Cutrer also said she has a goal of creating a more inclusive and welcoming space while she serves as editor-in-chief. 

“I really want to, first of all, create an environment that people feel really comfortable in. I know in years past there’s been a kind of assumed hierarchy, and I really want to get rid of that quality and just focus on everyone coming together in the name of journalism,” Cutrer said. 

Cutrer thanked current Kernel Editor-in-Chief Hannah Stanley for her support and guidance leading up to her interview with the board. 

“I’ve learned a lot about how to lead and how you have to act as a person,” Cutrer said. “I got a lot better at putting my foot down. There were definitely times where I played too much of a good cop and didn’t really put my foot down when I needed to, and so I’ve definitely learned that a lot from her.” 

Cutrer also extended thanks to Assistant Professor David Stephenson, UK Student Media Advisor Ryan Craig and Journalism Sequence Coordinator Jennifer Smith. She said she would not be the journalist she is today without those three individuals. 

Swanz, a UK sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism, found her start as a staff reporter with the Kernel. After moving over to KRNL in the spring semester of 2024, Swanz took over the role of managing editor and currently holds the position.

“I’ve known since I got here that I wanted to one day be editor-in-chief of one of these publications, and there was a while there where I didn’t see how it was going to be possible and it was just really exciting to watch it fall into place,” Swanz said. “I did start at the Kernel, but I’m so glad that I’ve ended up at KRNL, it really feels like where I’m supposed to be.”

Swanz has goals of leading KRNL to a more expansive multimedia organization. 

“I want to do more video stuff, I think we can definitely do better with making videos. I think that is something that is very well received by my generation specifically,” Swanz said. 

Swanz thanked current KRNL Editor-in-Chief Emma Reilly for trusting her to be a leader within the organization. 

“I came into KRNL pretty blind,” Swanz said. “I’d written for KRNL before but that was it, I hadn’t been on the editorial board. I really didn’t have a clue how the magazine worked and Emma let me step right into being her managing editor, she trusted me without really even knowing who I was and let me be her right-hand man for the semester and she showed me all the ropes.”

Craig said the board of directors made an excellent choice in appointing Cutrer and Swanz as the next editors-in-chief. 

“To me, it’s a sign that the leadership is strong,” Craig said. “They felt good about their choice and both Abbey and Laurel are very strong journalists, both visually and with the written word. With what we are doing now with the convergence of all media into multimedia, both are very suitable and very strong editors to have at a time of complete turnaround of how the business has been done.”

The Kernel and KRNL owe Stanley and Reilly a debt of gratitude for the job they have done this past academic year, Craig said. 

“I would say that we are among the top 10 percent of all collegiate media outlets across the country right now, and I do feel like we’re coming to a good place. We’re still growing and doing new and different things every single week and I can’t wait to see what happens next,” Craig said. 

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