Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kentucky student newspaper tackles coal issues

A student newspaper in Kentucky tackled tough issues surrounding coal today. Brad Luttrell, editor-in-chief of the University of Kentucky's daily Kentucky Kernel, did the stories and photographs. We think any newspaper in the Central Appalachian coalfield could learn from his work and use it as an example to follow.

Luttrell, raised in Harlan County, recounted his own experience with coal mining, like that of many people in Kentucky: "My cousins, grandparents and uncles are not the enemy. The same coal they blast out of a mountain, you are using right now. If you used electricity today – watch television, flip any light switches, refrigerate your food or walk into any modern building – then you are as much a part of the problem as the coal companies."

The special section of the Kernel has three segments; a feature on Erik Reese, a UK professor and anti-coal activist, who gained national attention for his book Lost Mountain, about mountaintop-removal strip mining; a long feature on Nate Waters, a senior mining engineering student at UK; and Luttrell's column about growing up in a mining community. Read more here.

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