By Neena Strichart
It’s hard to believe the year is half over. I stay so busy that time doesn’t just fly by– it absolutely zooms! We’re now into day four of summer 2010, Father’s Day is behind us and most graduation exercises have already taken place. This year I didn’t attend any graduation ceremonies, but I did have the opportunity and honor of accompanying our intern Brett Hawkins to his end-of-semester Journalism Awards Banquet at Long Beach City College (LBCC).
What a lovely affair. We had a great meal prepared by the campus’s culinary art students, who are, by the way, very talented. Not only was the food delicious, the buffet presentation was flawless. I know that the food was an important element of the banquet– since the term “banquet” promises such, but it certainly wasn’t the purpose for the evening. The purpose was to recognize and honor the spring Viking newspaper and City Magazine staffs and those responsible for the school’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Other journalism students were there to receive their accolades and awards as “Front of the Class” winners.
Although one might expect such an event to be dry and boring, LBCC journalism students and staff made sure that the evening was entertaining and educational. I had a blast. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Brett receive his award for “outstanding journalism work experience student.” He deserved it; after all, he has put up with us at the Signal Tribune on and off for two years (and for those who didn’t already know it, Brett is the son of Mark Hawkins, owner of InkPeace in Bixby Knolls). We are so proud of Brett and are grateful that he continues to intern with us and treat our readers with thoughtful and well-crafted articles. He takes great photos too.
It was also a pleasure watching other students receive kudos for their hard work. Journalism seems to be a real passion for these young folks. I envy their talent and relish in knowing their commitments to the field will make for an ever growing pool of writers and reporters from which I can draw in the future.
As if the aforementioned wasn’t enough, we were also favored with an address given by Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize nominee Ralph Vartabedian. His words of wisdom were certainly taken to heart by the students, faculty, guests and yours truly.
Mr. Vartabedian shared stories of his early days and current experiences in the newspaper business and gave us much food for thought when it comes to the future of newspapers vs. online sources. Instead of just rambling on about his speech, I’d rather leave you with what I believe was his most compelling quote, and that is…
“I see a lot of meanness on the Web. I think a lot of information is available that we shouldn’t use. If there’s not a compelling reason to know, it shouldn’t be shared.”
Thank you, Mr. Vartabedian. Point well taken.