Start the Presses: Rewarding times in the newsroom

Awards ceremonies are usually long, dull affairs. Fortunately, when you're dealing with such fetes given by journalists, you tend to deal with more interesting — or at least creative — types. And an open bar. Always an open bar.

On Thursday, the staff of the Pasadena Sun received kudos at the Los Angeles Times editorial awards, an annual event celebrating the best work of the prior year. It's extremely well deserved.

Reporters Adolfo Flores and Joe Piasecki, along with their tireless city editor, Bill Kisliuk, took the lump of clay that was the Pasadena Sun and turned it into a real newspaper. Last month, the paper was named the second-best weekly in the state in its circulation class — less than a year after publishing its first issue.

The work this trio did — fighting for transparency in the state Assembly, thoughtful analysis about Pasadena's public and private schools, and comprehensive public safety coverage — made the Sun a real force.

But I would be remiss not to also point out the incredible work of our online, editing, entertainment and sports staffs. Because of the strong work of Grant Gordon and his sports crew, along with Mike Swanson, Steve Appleford, Damon Carroll and Tiffany Kelly, our papers are as strong as they have ever been.

I want to remind everyone about the primary election this Tuesday, and urge everyone to take part. As we've mentioned before, this election can feel a bit academic. Vote anyway. It's important to keep informed about the candidates and issues, and to keep yourself and our democracy strong.

Besides, if your candidate doesn't win, more likely than not you'll get another shot to support them in November. That's because California's new open-primary system sends the top two vote-getters — regardless of party — to the general election. That's the case even if only two candidates are in the race.

And, even if your candidates don't win in November, you get the chance to say “Well, I didn't vote for him/her.” That's always fun.

On Friday, the Glendale News-Press got a most unusual, and unexpected, gift: a blue newspaper bag emblazoned with the title “Glendale News-Press Honor Carrier.” Mary Boger, a member of the Glendale Unified school board, dropped by the office completely out of the blue. Very cool.

Unfortunately, she doesn't know what “honor carrier” means. Nor do I, though logic suggests it once belonged to someone that once delivered the paper, and was good enough at the job to be honored with a special bag.

If you have any ideas, please let me know. We plan to get it framed and put it in a place of honor in the newsroom as soon as possible.

And finally, I want to share a complaint we received this week. In the Thursday edition of the La Cañada Valley Sun, we wrote an article about a little girl who accidentally drowned during a Memorial Day block party. On an inside page, we included a photo of the home where this tragedy occurred, a decision at least one reader felt was distasteful and insensitive.

Now, reporting on tragedies are some of the most fraught and difficult things a newspaper does. We have to balance relevancy with sensitivity; to provide information without being ghoulish. These lines are not always clear, and sometimes it comes down to a matter of taste.

I don't think it can be argued that a photo of the home wasn't relevant to the story. The real question is whether it was an insensitive intrusion on a grieving family. I don't think it was. The image was taken curbside, and reveals no faces.

In the end, though, we don't always have to agree. But we do need to always continue the conversation. Our mailbag and forum pages exist for that very purpose. Please use them.

DAN EVANS is the editor. Reach him at (818) 637-3234 or

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