Advice comes best from those advisers with the most experience, and UK’s Kentucky Kernel sought to find the best adviser for the newspaper.
After a six-week search, Ryan Craig has been named as the Kentucky Kernel’s adviser. The announcement was made Wednesday.
Craig was 2017 KPA President and is serving this year as Immediate Past President on the KPA Board.
“It’s a great honor,” Craig said. “It is one of the premier journalism schools in the country and the Kernel has been and will continue to be a shining light for journalism in Kentucky. I’m very proud of it, and I’m looking forward to being able to help the students.”
Kentucky Kernel Board Chairman Duane Bonifer and the Kernel board recommended that outgoing dean of the College of Communications and Information, Dr. Dan O’Hair, name Tom Caudill as the search committee’s chairman. Caudill is also a retired managing editor from the Lexington Herald-Leader.
O’Hair then put a search committee together to find a new adviser for the independent, student-run newspaper.
The search committee’s members also included Kernel Editor-in-Chief Bailey Vandiver, Associate Journalism Professor Scoobie Ryan, Assistant Journalism Professor David Stephenson and the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Editorial Page Editor Vanessa Gallman.
“It was a unanimous decision,” Caudill said. “We studied the applicants carefully and we interviewed them, some on the phone and others in person. We were really pleased with the overall quality of the applicants and delighted, really, with the response to the job being open. We had a number of people who would have been good at the job.”
According to Caudill, there were 42 applicants for the position as the new Kentucky Kernel adviser. Among those 42, Craig had particular qualities that the search committee was keen on.
“Ryan has a solid background in news reporting and editing,” Caudill said. “But he also has a background in media management and ownership. The combination of all those things, we think, is really important for somebody who is going to be both advising the Kernel staff and in managing the business of the Kentucky Kernel.”
Craig, husband of Jennifer and father of their four children– Owen, 13; John, 10; Summer, 7; and Sparrow, 6– graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He then returned to WKU and in 1999 received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations.
Not only has Craig worked at multiple daily newspapers, but he has been a long-time editor, publisher and owner of the Todd County Standard since 2005, a weekly newspaper in Elkton.
“He has proven himself to be a top-notch journalist in addition to being the publisher and the owner of that paper,” Caudill said.
The Todd County Standard has won 207 Kentucky Press Association Awards for its merits and ability as a small, weekly newspaper to hit such important stories.
“He is someone who is well known in the newspaper industry around Kentucky,” Caudill said. “He has contacts that could be valuable for the students.”
As of right now, Craig is in the process of selling the Todd County Standard, owned by him and his family.
“I began looking for other opportunities, but I still technically own the newspaper,” Craig said. “It is in the process of being sold, but I came across the advising position as I was looking for other opportunities and was very excited about it.”
As for the College of Communications and Information as a whole, which houses many of the Kentucky Kernel’s writers, O’Hair is hopeful for the future of the college and the newspaper.
“I think [Craig] is going to be an outstanding addition to an already award-winning newspaper,” O’Hair said. “We are happy to welcome him to the UK family.”