Storytelling awards to honor best in Kentucky journalism

Megan Ingros

The annual David Dick “What a Great Story!” Storytelling Awards honors the best in Kentucky storytelling.

Entries of work published in 2015 and 2016 will be eligible and accepted through March 4. The School of Journalism and Media gives the award out annually. 

With the goal to enlighten and inform while capturing the attention of the audience, the story should also be free of errors and exhibit ethical standards. Entries may be hard news, features, advocacy journalism, personality profiles, columns and obituaries. 

Two awards are given. One is given to a UK student journalist and the other is given to a professional journalist working in Kentucky. 

David Dick, a former director of the School of Journalism and Media, taught Associate Professor Kakie Urch’s Journalism 101 class when she was an undergraduate here.

Urch said storytelling is the true cornerstone of quality in a journalistic piece, which was something Dick knew well.

“He was very famous for certain stories and certain touching stories,” she said. “We have people that are great researchers, (and) we have people that are great synthesizers, but the ability to put that with the facts of a narrative and time and human experience in quotations and carry interest — that’s a true art.” 

The student award is open to UK journalism majors for work published through student media, at an internship or any recognized media outlet. The professional award is for work done for any valid Kentucky media outlet.

“I chose a story called ‘Loosely-based’ that I wrote as a sort of compilation of events that I experienced over Christmas break,” journalism senior Dimitri Silva said. “I felt like I had a series of crazy and enlightening experiences back-to-back, and I wanted to chronicle them like they were scenes in a novel or movie. I titled it ‘loosely based’ because it’s all coming from memory.”

Mike Farrell, an associate journalism professor and director of Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, organized the event this year. He said Dick was an extraordinary journalist with an amazing career.

The journalism school’s new director, Lars Willnat, would have been in charge of the event but was unable to do it because of his schedule.

“Normally, a new director would have started last summer and had time to address so many issues Dr. Willnat has run into headfirst, but he was already committed to teach overseas in the fall,” Farrell said.

Journalism senior Kacie Kelly said she chose a broadcast story she did about how to care for pets properly in cold weather.

“I thought it would be a good choice because of how much Lexington loves animals,” she said. “We have so many dog parks and organizations that want to help people care for their animals properly, but so many people still find their dogs getting injured or sick over the winter.”

The school established the award to honor the memory of Dick, a former professor and director of the school, who died in July 2010. An award-winning broadcaster for CBS for 20 years, Dick was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 1987.

Entries to the contest can be submitted here