Student News

Wrapping up award-filled year, Kentucky Kernel ends weekly printing, focuses on digital

The Kernel will move to printing only special sections with a focus on primarily online publication.
The Kernel will move to printing only special sections with a focus on primarily online publication.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2023) — May 2023 brought a plethora of awards for student media, however, it also marked the end of an era for the Kentucky Kernel, the student-run, award-winning newspaper for the University of Kentucky, as it published its last weekly print edition. The Kernel will move to printing only special sections with a focus on primarily online publication.   

Student media advisor Ryan Craig, 2022-2023 editor-in-chief Rayleigh Deaton and incoming 2023-2024 editor-in-chief Hannah Stanley all played a role in making this decision.  

Deaton said the group’s decision to move away from weekly printing was not made from necessity or cost, but rather because of the media industry’s shift toward digital-first publication and consumption.  

“The ways that people are consuming news are changing and it’s our responsibility to adapt how we disseminate information to best serve the needs of the public,” Deaton said.   

Deaton said this decision was not made lightly, but she and the Kernel team know it was the right move for the future of the outlet.  

“I know all of us at the Kernel have a special place in our hearts for printed media and there is truly nothing like holding a physical manifestation of your hard work in your hands and seeing it shared across campus, but we know it was the right decision, as it will allow the staff to focus its energy on better serving the campus community,” Deaton said. 

Stanley said she is looking forward to what this change will mean for her upcoming time as editor.  

“With the shift of becoming a special edition paper, there comes a much larger responsibility on timeliness online and in our social media. My staff and I have come up with a set plan in hopes we can produce the best and fastest stories for our readers,” Stanley said. “I am beyond excited to be the catalyst behind such a drastic change to our paper and I believe it’s going to make us stronger as a paper and to other news outlets.”  

With the idea of better serving the campus community in mind, Craig expressed that this change also allowed the Kernel to serve UK beyond the restrictions of a printed product.

“We are no longer just a student newspaper; we are a media company,” Craig said. “Nothing is out of bounds for us with this new model, whether that be video, interactive elements or some other new feature that the digital space allows us to explore.”  

KRNL Lifestyle + Fashion, the student-produced lifestyle magazine for UK and the surrounding Lexington community, will continue publishing a print magazine once a semester, while maintaining and building its online presence as usual. The magazine made waves this year as the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 5 Mark of Excellence award winner for Best Student Magazine. 

“We published two incredible issues this past year, both of which pushed boundaries I don't believe KRNL has ever done before, and I'm beyond proud of all our staff's work,” Rana Alsoufi, 2022-2023 KRNL editor-in-chief said. “It means the world to be acknowledged and supported as student journalists by others from across the nation. It was an honor to get the opportunity to lead such a fantastic and talented staff as KRNL's.”

This wasn’t the only award that students received in recognition of their work this year. A full list of student journalism awards is as follows:

2021-2022 College Media Association Pinnacle Awards 

  • Kernel, six national awards, earning one first-place finish and six honorable mentions 
  • KRNL, one national award and one honorable mention 

2021-2022 Associated Collegiate Press Best of Show  

  • Kernel, four national top 10 finishes 
  • KRNL, national second-place finish for four-year campus feature magazine and one top five finish 

Spring 2023 College Media Association Apple Awards 

  • Kernel, two first-place finishes, one second-place finish and two third-place finishes 

2021-2022 Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Awards 

  • Both the Kernel and KRNL magazine were national finalists, meaning they were in the top 10% of student media outlets. 
  • Kernel, seven national awards, including two first-place finishes for breaking news and editorial as well as three second-place finishes, two top five finishes and an honorable mention 
  • KRNL, two national awards, both top three finishes

2022-2023 Hearst Journalism Awards 

  • School of Journalism and Media students took home a top-10 finish In the Multimedia Innovative Storytelling and Audience Engagement Competition, a top-15 finish in the Photojournalism Picture Story/Series Competition and a top-20 finish in the Multimedia Digital News/Enterprise Competition. 

2021-2022 Kentucky Press Association Awards 

  • Kernel, 38 awards, sweeping three categories and earning 13 first-place finishes. The newspaper also won General Excellence for the fifth year in a row. 

2021-2022 Society of Professional National Mark of Excellence Awards 

  •  Kernel, two national awards for Breaking News Reporting and Editorial Writing 

2022-2023 Society of Professional Journalists Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards 

  • Kernel, eight regional awards, as well as being named a finalist for the Corbin Gwaltney Award for Best All-Around Student Newspaper. 
  • KRNL, named Best Student Magazine in the region 

To view the last weekly, printed edition of the Kernel, visit To follow along with the Kernel’s digital coverage, visit and to follow along with KRNL’s digital coverage, visit Follow both the Kernel and KRNL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to stay up to date with the latest campus news and happenings.  

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.