UK Student Breaks Top 20 in Hearst Awards in Multimedia Narrative Storytelling

Watch Arden Barnes' video for "The Courage to Win" above.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 4, 2021) — May 2020 journalism graduate Arden Barnes placed 13th in the Multimedia Narrative Storytelling Competition of the 2020-2021 Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

Barnes’ project, titled “The Courage to Win,” focused on 15-year-old Dani Brown from Lexington, who is an eight-time National Boxing Champion and current Team USA boxer set to compete in the 2024 Olympics. Brown began boxing at 9 years old when she joined Legends Boxing along with her older brother, Dale, who started boxing to help rehabilitate his lungs after having a double lung infection and pneumonia while he was in high school. “Brown said that her brother is her biggest inspiration,” said Barnes, when commenting on her work.

“The Courage to Win” comprises of a written portion, a YouTube video, several photographs and a content plan for Instagram. “The Courage to Win” can be found in its entirety at

Barnes’ project was initially a product of her capstone JOU 498: Advanced Multimedia class, which is a requirement for journalism majors in the School of Journalism and Media within the College of Communication and Information. According to Barnes, Assistant Professor David Stephenson was her navigation through the unusual Spring 2020 semester. “Professor Stephenson was incredibly helpful in guiding the project, especially when we went completely virtual in March,” Barnes said. “It’s wonderful to see that good work can come out of different times of learning, even in a pandemic.”

"I'm so proud of Arden for being recognized at the national level for her talent and hard work. Our class and her project were completely upended in March by the pandemic, yet she persisted and finished with a great story," Stephenson said.

Barnes is happy to see her hard work pay off in the Hearst Awards. “It’s always really exciting to see the University of Kentucky alongside other nationally renowned journalism schools.”

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program was founded as a way to support and assist journalism education at the collegiate level. The program awards scholarships to students with outstanding performance in divisions including writing, photojournalism, audio, television and multimedia competitions. To enter any competition hosted by the Hearst Awards, students must be involved in campus media and must have published articles, photographs or newscasts that can be submitted.

Photo by Arden Barnes
Photo by Arden Barnes.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.