‘I am elated.’ Kernel staff wins General Excellence award from KPA for the fifth consecutive year


David Stephenson

The Kentucky Kernel staff poses with its awards from the Kentucky Press Association News Excellence awards on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by David Stephenson

Kernel Staff

The Kernel won the General Excellence Award for the fifth straight year and placed in numerous news contest award categories at this year’s Kentucky Press Association (KPA) Winter Convention on Friday, Jan. 27.

Newspapers across the state were allowed to submit articles and photos for award consideration, and the KPA organized and judged the submissions based on categories.

For the fifth year in a row, the Kernel was recognized with the most prestigious honor in the collegiate class—the General Excellence Award. The accolade will be perched upon a shelf for future Kernel staffers to admire.

Several of the Kernel staffers also won individual awards. Out of all news contest award categories, the Kernel received 13 first-place finishes, 11 second-place and 14 third-place, often winning entire categories.

Kernel Editor-in-Chief Rayleigh Deaton took home several of these individual awards.

“I am humbled, thankful and incredibly proud for both the individual and Kernel-wide [awards],” Deaton said. “The staff has been an opportunity of a lifetime to work with. I’m thankful to the judges and my team for making this possible.”

Some of the individual awards came as a shock to the winners. Abbey Cutrer, the Kernel’s Assistant Photo Editor, won first place in the Best General News Photo category for a photo she took as a first-semester freshman. The Kernel staff erupted in cheers.

“I am elated,” Cutrer said. “Winning an award for it is just something I don’t feel that I deserve because I’m so young, but it’s very exciting.”

Much of the Kernel staff is pleased with the outcome of the awards and the reputation it displays for the newspaper.

“For the fifth year in a row I feel that we have proven to the state of Kentucky and its journalists that we are one of the best newspapers, not only in this state but in all of collegiate America,” Kernel Media Adviser Ryan Craig said.


Complete list of Kernel KPA winners:

Best Editorial Writer

1st place – Brooklyn Walters, Gillian King, Rayleigh Deaton


Best Breaking News Coverage

1st place – Sarah Michels

Best General News Story

3rd place – Natalie Parks


Best Columnist

1st place – Sarah Michels
3rd place – Brooklyn Walters


Best Sports Columnist

1st place – Cole Parke
3rd place – Hunter Shelton


Best Sports Story

3rd place – Hunter Shelton


Best Sports Feature Story

1st place – Cole Parke


Best Enterprise or Analytical Story

3rd place – Sarah Michels


Best Investigative Story or Series

1st place – Natalie Parks
2nd place – Rayleigh Deaton
3rd place – Natalie Parks


Best On-Going/Extended Coverage Story

2nd place – Sarah Michels, Rayleigh Deaton
3rd place – Hannah Stanley, Gracie Moore, Bryce Towle


Best Business/Agribusiness Story

2nd place – Alexis Baker


Best Lede

1st place – Rayleigh Deaton
2nd place – Sarah Michels

2nd place Best Video: Haley Simpkins
1st place Best Breaking News Photo: Michael Clubb
Best Breaking News Photo

3rd place – Maria Rauh


Best General News Photo

1st place – Abbey Cutrer
2nd place – Jack Weaver
3rd place – Jack Weaver


Best Feature Photo

2nd place – Jack Weaver
3rd place – Jack Weaver


Best Picture Essay

1st place – Jack Weaver, Michael Clubb
2nd place – Michael Clubb, Jack Weaver
3rd place – Jack Weaver, Amanda Braman


Best Sports Picture

2nd place – Michael Clubb
3rd place – Jack Weaver


Best Sports Picture Essay

1st place – Michael Clubb, Jack Weaver


Best Special Section/Best Sports Special Section

2nd place – Staff

Best Sports Section/Page

1st place – Ryder From
3rd place – Ryder From


Best Editorial Page

1st place – Staff
2nd place – Staff

Best Front Page

3rd place – Ryder From