University of Ky media adviser Chris Poore honored by alma mater for contributions to Journalism

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By Mike Farrell
Special to KyForward

Chris Poore, media adviser for the Kentucky Kernel, has chalked up another award for his efforts.

Western Kentucky University’s (WKU) College Heights Herald honored Poore, a WKU alum, with its 2017 award for outstanding contributions to journalism. The award was given Saturday, Oct. 14, during the 67th annual Student Publications Homecoming Breakfast at Bowling Green.

Poore received the Distinguished Newspaper Adviser Award at the National College Media Convention in 2015. Poore and the Kentucky Kernel have received several prestigious awards, most notably the National Pacemaker Award three times in the span of 10 years. This award is the highest honor that can be given to a college publication that is student-run.

“The award from my college newspaper means a lot to me,” Poore said. “Being recognized by a place I loved, for doing a job I love, is altogether wonderful. I can’t imagine being more proud of an award.”

Poore became media adviser for the university’s independent student newspaper in the summer of 2001 after working at a newspaper in Georgia and at the Lexington Herald-Leader. Since Poore moved to the Kernel, the newspaper has won repeated General Excellence Awards from the Kentucky Press Association, overshadowing WKU’s College Heights Herald.

Rachel Aretakis, editor of the Kernel in 2013-14, said Poore is most deserving of the outstanding contributions to journalism award.

“Chris taught us the practical skills we’d need for a career in journalism,” Aretakis, a digital producer for the Louisville Courier-Journal, said. “I will always remember how we made fun of him when he posted ‘news is now, not later’ posters around the newsroom. Now looking back, I know I couldn’t be successful at my job without that sense of urgency he drilled into us.

“A couple things about Chris I really appreciate: He took me and the Kernel staff seriously, he pushed us to try harder, he didn’t take our excuses and his story ideas were endless.”

Another former Kernel editor, Taylor Moak Poston, now a federal law clerk, also gives credit to Poore for the success of the student newspaper during her year at the helm.

“During my year as editor-in-chief of the Kernel, my staff covered the men’s basketball national championship, men’s football breaking the drought against Tennessee, tuition increases, a devastating rash of tornadoes that swept across the eastern part of the state, and President Eli Capilouto’s first year at the helm of the university.

“Whether Chris is encouraging the staff to think creatively about how to cover UK Athletics or editing and offering suggestions on a long-form story, Chris helps young journalists to confidently report on issues facing the university, the community and the state. My year as editor-in-chief of the Kernel would have been far less rewarding without the examples all of my staff had to look up to in Chris and our other advisers.”

The Kernel is overseen by a board.

“Chris has been such an outstanding adviser and mentor to Kernel staff members over the past 16 years, while at the same time working to elevate the Kentucky Kernel to even greater heights,” said Duane Bonifer, a UK journalism graduate who is chair of the board. “He constantly teaches students about what is relevant and important now in the profession while also keeping an eye on what’s coming next. Because of Chris, working at the Kentucky Kernel is one of the best experiences a college student can have. A big reason the Kernel continues to be one of the best college newspapers in the country is because of Chris’ leadership, vision and commitment to students.”

Another member of the Kernel board is Associate Professor of Journalism Scoobie Ryan.

“Chris has been a tireless advocate for student journalists since he came to the Kernel,” Ryan said. “He’s patient, yet persistent. He lets students reach their own decisions about what stories to cover and how to cover them, but he’s always available for consultation.

“Advising an independent student publication requires delicate balance, and I’m always amazed at how well Chris strikes that balance. Every editor has had a different style and personality, yet Chris has managed to gain each editor’s trust and help each one achieve his or her goals and keep the Kernel moving forward during very difficult times for all media and especially for student media,” Ryan said.

Dr. Mike Farrell is director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky.

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