Editorial: UK should remove propaganda from around Grehan

Promotional banners line the fences surrounding the Grehan Journalism Building. Students walk by a “Kentucky Can” graphic on their way to and from classes on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Lexington Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

The Kernel Editorial Board

If you’ve had to walk past the area of campus surrounding the Grehan Journalism Building, you’ve likely seen the UK promotional materials surrounding the Kernel’s former longtime home. 

This building is being renovated and is not currently being used for journalism purposes. However, many people still associate this building with the Kentucky Kernel and with journalism in general. Earlier in the semester, when the Kernel held an information meeting for new writers in our new McVey office, many still tried to go to Grehan first. These people, who had never worked for the Kernel, associated us with Grehan immediately.

In light of the ongoing lawsuit UK has against the Kentucky Kernel, for the administration to allow this canvas fence that clearly promotes UK school spirit to be placed around our old building was in very poor taste. This not only confuses people who look to the Kernel as their objective source for campus news, but it gives them a warped idea of the relationship the Kernel has with UK. Never should a journalistic institution be associated with the institution it covers.

The Kernel has been independent from UK since 1971. As such, we are student run but not school run. This is a crucial differentiation that has been blurred by UK’s administration making the decision to allow this propaganda around a building that people associate with journalism.

Furthermore, UK’s administration should be aware that by having a journalism school on campus, they are promoting the training of journalists, whose ethics determine that we cannot be fans of the person or institution we are  covering. This association they have allowed is a direct violation of what we stand for as journalists.

We recognize that UK’s administration has put similar canvases around all their renovations. A large strip of Limestone, for example, is covered with a similar canvas fence. We do not assert that this is a fluke meant to attack us or our building. We do, however, feel that our situation is unique given the above reasons.

The canvas does recognize a few UK journalism Pulitzer-prize winners: Angelo Henderson, Michael York, Richard E. Whitt, Don Whitehead and Ben Van Hook. This is a small nod to some successful journalists, but this piece of the fence is mostly hidden from the heavy foot traffic. The other strips celebrate UK sports and reconstruction in the Chemistry-Physics building.

For these reasons, the Kernel editorial board requests the timely removal of this propaganda and that if the canvas was meant to serve a practical purpose, that it be replaced with a generic covering that does not directly associate journalism with UK fandom.