The University of Kentucky's student newspaper won the highest award for college journalism this weekend.
The Kentucky Kernel, an independent newspaper published by UK students, was one of nine daily papers to win a 2007-2008 Pacemaker award Saturday night at the Associated Collegiate Press convention in Kansas City, Mo.
Journalists from the St. Petersburg Times in Florida judged the contest by reviewing five issues from last school year. Those issues included the Kernel's coverage of students celebrating Ramadan, a profile of a UK professor who fought in Vietnam and returned in 2008 with his students, a profile of a man struggling for more than 20 years with AIDS, and a post-Super Bowl profile of former UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen, formerly the third-string quarterback for the New York Giants.
Kernel adviser Chris Poore said the Pacemaker is a great reward for a lot of hard work.
"These guys love working at the Kernel and wouldn't trade it for anything," Poore said. "But it's still nice to have them recognized as one of the top newspapers in the country. It's a reward for a lot of long hours and, frankly, some pretty pitiful social lives."
Keith Smiley, the Kernel's editor in chief last year, said he's pleased that the staff got national recognition.
"I think for me and for all of us, it was a culmination," Smiley said. "I think we knew we put in a lot of good work. But it's nice to have that recognition, not just by us but by the judges from these professional newspapers."
Student newspapers at the University of Iowa, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Indiana University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, the University of North Carolina and Texas A&M University also won Pacemakers.