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Meet Kenton Hornbeck, LINK Media's New Reporter

Kenton Hornbeck is a new general assignment reporter at LINK Media, a Butler, Ky. native and graduate of Western Kentucky University.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be in media. Whether it was sitting behind a microphone broadcasting over the radio, writing a newspaper feature, or anchoring live in front of a television camera, my young mind romanticized it all. The job provides an opportunity to be intimately involved with a community, while granting you the delicate responsibility of articulating said community’s triumphs, tragedies, and myths.

My earliest dream was to be a sports anchor. I aspired to be Scott Van Pelt or Stuart Scott, two larger-than-life icons of ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter. I would wake up early before elementary school to consume a full hour of ESPNews. The program was only a half-hour long but I watched it twice so I wouldn’t miss anything. I would download daily the Pardon the Interruption podcast from the iTunes Store onto my iPod Nano starting as early as 6th grade. Yes, it’s true. I was the first person in Gen Z to ever listen to podcast.

As I grew older, I began to get involved with media-adjacent activities around my county. I started my long-standing career as a public address announcer by calling high school football games. I was the play-by-play announcer for online football and basketball streams through my school’s broadcasting class. Perhaps my favorite activity was my guest appearances on a local online sports radio show hosted by two high school football coaches.

As I broadened my horizons, multimedia superstar Bill Simmons became my hero. The way he seamlessly transitioned from high-quality columns to podcasts to documentaries to studio shows inspired me.

Those factors led me to pursue a career as a multimedia journalist.

I moved on to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green where I majored in journalism. I worked as a general assignment sports reporter for the school newspaper, the College Heights Herald and graduated in 2019.

My true baptism into the media came when I accepted a job in the summer of 2017 with my hometown newspaper, the Falmouth Outlook. I began covering sports then progressed into news-focused stories. I’m forever thankful to the Outlook for giving me a chance.

What’s exciting about the modern media landscape is the job of journalist is an amalgamation of different skill sets. A journalist doesn’t have to exclusively focus on print, photo, audio, or video. They can utilize them all.

What drew me to LINK Media was the opportunity to take risks. How can an organization create interactive and engaging journalism on a localized level? Lacy, Mark, and Michael are putting together a team of creators who are encouraged to think outside the box.

As a Northern Kentucky native, I want to help provide the region with its own independent voice. My hope is that our team can chronicle the stories of our region’s past, present, and future in a unique yet consumable manner. I’m a steadfast NKY fan with family roots in the region running back over 100 years. My connection to the community will help provide an insider point-of-view to the reader.

My biggest goal is to help optimize the way we use social media to showcase content. There are various platforms, each with their own positives, to help connect the news to different demographic groups within our audience. I also hope I can write some cool feature stories on some overlooked or forgotten events in NKY’s history.