Three Kernel staffers earn top 20 spots in Hearst journalism awards

Kernel staffers Arden Barnes, Rick Childress and Bailey Vandiver placed in the 2018-2019 Hearst Journalism awards. 

Kernel News Staff

Three Kernel staffers placed in the top 20 in two Hearst journalism award categories: art director Arden Barnes placed 7th in Photojournalism I, while editor-in-chief Bailey Vandiver and news editor Rick Childress placed 14th and 19th in Feature Writing, respectively. 

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program has several categories that recognize the best in collegiate journalism.

“I think this goes to show that the Kentucky Kernel has some of the more talented collegiate journalists in the nation,” said Kernel student media adviser Ryan Craig. “Bailey, Rick and Arden are leaders in the newsroom and always strive for excellence.” 

Craig said these three along with the rest of the Kernel staff are “part of a bright future for journalism.”

The photojournalism category is based on a portfolio of eight photos. Barnes’ portfolio was a mixture of photos taken for the Kernel, on freelance assignments, at her summer internship and at WKU’s Mountain Workshop. The photo below, taken at a vigil for a UK student who passed away, was part of her portfolio. 

Barnes said she is happy to be named in the top 10 alongside some college photographers she’s familiar with, such as Western Kentucky University’s Gabe Scarlett and Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Brian Munoz. 

“I have a lot of hope for the next generation of journalists,” she said.

Kernel photo adviser and UK professor David Stephenson has mentored Barnes since she joined the Kernel staff. 

“I’m so proud of Arden that all of her hard work, dedication and fantastic photos are being recognized at the national level,” Stephenson said. “She and her photos deserve it and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Each school can submit two entries per category, and each student’s entry for Feature Writing is just one story. With both entries placing in the top 20, UK placed 7th out of all schools for this writing category. 

Vandiver’s 14th place story was “Iconic: After a lifetime of breaking barriers, Alice Dunnigan is memorialized in bronze.” The story focused on the biography of Alice Dunnigan, a Kentuckian who became the first black woman to gain White House credentials as a journalist, and the married couple who created a bronze statue of Dunnigan.

“It’s my favorite story I’ve ever written, without a doubt,” Vandiver said. “It highlights the work and importance of journalists, women and Kentuckians, all of which are incredibly important to me.”

Vandiver said that having three staffers in the top 20 is incredible for the Kernel.

“I’m happy for myself, of course, but I’m even more thrilled that the Kernel is having this success,” Vandiver said. “It’s clear to me every single day that every member of our staff is amazing, regardless of awards, but I love when my friends and coworkers get the recognition they deserve.”

Childress’ 19th place finish came from his feature on the UK club hockey team, called “‘Fraternity of brothers’: Inside UK hockey’s culture change.” 

“It’s very exciting and it’s a definite confidence booster,” Childress said. “It’s always a lot of fun to have your work recognized on the national level.” 

This story was also part of a three-story portfolio that won Childress the honor of being named Associated Collegiate Press Reporter of the Year in October.

READ: Kernel news editor wins national Reporter of the Year award

“I think the hockey story does well because it allows the reader to really go behind the scenes of a competitive club hockey team filled with a bunch of college guys who really love their sport,” Childress said. “We were really lucky and thankful that UK Hockey gave us so much access into their locker room, hotels, their bus and at their practices.”

Childress said these awards reflect well on the Kernel staff and advisers as well as UK School of Journalism and Media faculty.

The Hearst awards deadlines and judging are spread out over the academic year, so more submissions and results will come in the spring.