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Preserving The Legacy of a Great Storyteller

Former UK Journalism School Director David Dick, and his wife, Lalie Dick. The Emmy-winning storyteller passed away in July.

By Pamela Burke & Alan Lytle


Leixington, KY – In July of this year, the world of journalism lost one its most accomplished storytellers. David Dick, an Emmy-winning CBS news correspondent, famed Kentucky author, journalism professor, and one-time director of the UK School of Journalism, passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Now, with the help of David's beloved wife, Lalie, the university is launching an initiative to establish a David Dick "What a Great Story" storytelling scholarship program that will be open to students, and at least one industry professional. Beth Barnes is the Director of the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications.

"David Dick, first and foremost, in all the facets of his career was a master storyteller. And that's how journalism really speaks to people and energizes people, and helps to make change come about. So, in thinking about a way to honor David after he passed away, it just seemed clear that we wanted something that we wanted something that would help celebrate storytelling."

A talent, that Barnes says, Dick feared was becoming a lost art.

"I think particularly now with the changes and the challenges facing the journalism industry, it's really easy for stories, which is at the heart of what journalists do, to get lost in the technology. And so, we're hoping that an award like this that will recognize one UK Journalism student, but also one professional journalist in Kentucky each year, will really help to put a focus back on storytelling and really help to elevate the importance of having a good story at the core of what you do."

Lalie Dick says throughout his teaching career at UK, David made a point of encouraging his students to get to the heart of a story; promising that if they did, they would ultimately find out more about themselves.

"He would say, look, I don't want you to show me the orchard. I don't want you to show me the tree. I want you to reach up and I want you to pick off an apple and I want you to take a knife and open that apple, and you don't stop there. You take out one of the seeds and you open that, and you show me the person inside."

University of Kentucky Journalism School graduate Angie Beavin never had a chance to meet David Dick, but she says now that she's a television reporter in Lexington, she, too can appreciate what the hall of fame journalist stood for.

"I think it's a great idea on several different levels. Something I've really noticed now that I've gotten out into the professional world of journalism is that the storytelling aspect gets lost because so much of journalism, whether it is television, print, online, and with all the social media, it's who can tell the story first and the quickest. It's not who tells it best anymore."

And telling it best was what David Dick strived to do throughout his career. It's a legacy that Lalie Dick says she and the University of Kentucky will work hard to preserve.

"If I can pass on to other students, to those who work with other students, the ideas that David had for a good quality education and one that can be enjoyed and savored down the road, I will have done a good job."

For more information on the David Dick "What a Great Story" Storytelling Fund, visit www.uky.edu.