Vandiver chosen as new Kernel editor-in-chief


Bailey Vandiver, the Kernel’s new editor-in-chief poses on the concrete rail in front of the Grehan Journalism Building on March 23, 2018. Photo by Rick Childress

Rick Childress

Before she even stepped into her first class at UK, she knew she wanted to work for the Kernel. As a high school senior, Bailey Vandiver took a visit to the basement newsroom.

“A couple editors were there and they said, ‘As soon as you come to campus next year come right to us,’ and I did,’” said Vandiver, a Bowling Green, Kentucky, native and South Warren High School graduate.

Many stories, deadlines and late nights later, Vandiver was chosen as the next Kernel editor-in-chief.

The Kernel Board selected Vandiver, a journalism and English sophomore with a political science minor, for her creativity, ideas, passion and ability to pilot the Kernel in a time of transition for journalism.

“I think she’s more than up to the challenge of helping the Kernel continue this transition,” said Duane Bonifer, the chairman of the Kernel Board. “I think she is both very creative in the short term and in the long term and I think that’s what the Kernel needs for its next editor.”

Vandiver’s first Kernel story was published early in her freshman year in September 2016, then served as assistant news editor in the spring semester. Vandiver started the 2017 fall semester as news editor, and finished the semester as managing editor after being promoted in November 2017.

“She has a natural instinct for leadership and she’s beyond her years in intelligence and precision,” said Paidin Dermody, the now former editor-in-chief. “She knows the content that the Kernel should be producing and she has a fine grasp on what will draw readers and potential new employees to the Kernel.”

Vandiver said she wants the Kernel to be the number one source of news for people in the UK community, because “we are the closest to what’s happening, we hear what’s talked about, what they’re interested in.”  

“We have a really strong staff that’s coming back and I know we’ll have a lot of new great people that will come in next year and we do have an exciting opportunity to do new things,” Vandiver said.

Bonifer, a long-time Kernel Board member and Kernel editor-in-chief during his own time as a UK undergraduate, said that Vandiver is stepping into a tradition of Kernel staffers who have served in one of the most important positions in the UK community.

“I think the editor of the Kentucky Kernel is really the leader of the most important student organization on campus,” Bonifer said. “I think the Kentucky Kernel provides the most important service to the university community because of the role it plays as both the storyteller of the university and also its watchdog.”

Former lifestyles editor McKenna Horsley was also a candidate for editor-in-chief, and will serve alongside Vandiver as managing editor. Horsley has also served as news and opinions editor in the past.

“We had two great candidates this year,” Bonifer said. “I think that’s a testament to the professional staff that they’ve been mentoring students and getting them to the point where they’re letting them take over the leadership of the Kentucky Kernel. I think it’s also a testament to the journalism faculty that they have students well-prepared to lead the Kentucky Kernel as well.”