Keith Hautala


College: Communication & Information

Kernel Writer's Calipari Profile Wins First David Dick Award

Published: Apr 10, 2012


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2012) — Aaron M. Smith, a University of Kentucky journalism junior from Oldham County, has been selected as the recipient of the first David Dick "What a Great Story!" Storytelling Award.  


Smith will be recognized for his story, "What Cal Left Behind," prior to the annual Joe Creason Lecture in Journalism on April 11. The winning story can be read on the Kentucky Kernel's website at


The UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications established the David Dick "What a Great Story!" Storytelling Award to honor the memory of David Dick, professor emeritus and former director of the school, who died in July 2010.


Dick was a champion of great journalistic storytelling. The award honors outstanding storytelling.


In selecting the winner, the judges were looking for the best in storytelling — that which enlightens and informs while captivating the audience so they get the full story. Great storytelling can break a heart or inspire it. It can be sublime or ridiculous, but it is always memorable. 


One judge said of Smith’s story: "The essence of storytelling is well-described characters in an engaging narrative. Aaron Smith does that with this story about the friends with whom John Calipari bonded secretly at a doughnut shop in Memphis, then left behind when he came to Kentucky. The story tells us more about the coach’s character than anyone else, but through the lenses of other characters and their great quotes. One example: 'Everybody in Memphis hates John Calipari right now. But they don’t have a clue who the real John Calipari is.... You want to talk to Cal right now? If I text him right now, he’ll text me right back.'"


Entries could be hard news, features, advocacy journalism, personality profiles, columns and even obituaries. No matter what the form, the story needed to be well developed and free from errors, possess sound journalistic mechanics and exhibit high ethical standards.


For the first presentation of the award, the school decided to focus on a student to honor the outstanding work of UK’s student journalists.  In future years, there will be two awards, one for a UK student journalist and the other for a professional journalist working in Kentucky.


The student award was open to UK journalism majors for work published or completed through student media, at an internship or at any recognized media outlet (radio, TV, newspaper, magazine or independently edited website).


The professional award will be for work done for any bona fide Kentucky media outlet (radio, TV, newspaper, magazine or independently edited website). The professional may self-nominate or be nominated by anyone.


Each year’s award will be for work published during the previous calendar year.  Smith interned last summer with the Commercial Appeal in Memphis as a multimedia intern.  This year, he is serving as a sports writer and columnist for the Kentucky Kernel.  He will continue to write for the Kernel next year, primarily covering UK basketball.  He plans a career in sports journalism.


Smith’s award presentation will be part of a day-long celebration of journalism in Kentucky on April 11. 


At noon that day, six new members will join the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame during a recognition luncheon at Fasig-Tipton.  The 2012 inductees are Albert B. "Ben"  Chandler, Jr., D.J. Everett III, Chip Hutcheson, Bill Luster, Bob McGaughey and Michael M. York.


The David Dick "What a Great Story!" Storytelling Award will be presented prior to the start of the Joe Creason Lecture later that day.  This year’s speaker is John Harwood of CNBC and The New York Times.  Harwood will speak on "What the 2012 Campaign Tells Us About the State and Future of Political Reporting."  The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.  It is free and open to the public.


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