Breaking News for Newspaper
Skutt Catholic Flightline travels to LA to be recognized as a Pacemaker finalist
The phones of the fifteen staff members of the Skutt Catholic Flightline lit up with a text on the otherwise ordinary Wednesday during spring break. Little did they know, that text would bear news larger than anything they had read or written about the entire year. It announced they were Pacemaker finalists, a title recognizing them as having one of the top 50 high school online newspapers in the entire country.
To put it briefly, the Pacemaker is the highest honor for journalism at the high school level. It is put on by the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) to recognize excellence in journalism for all forms of publication, including online, newspaper, yearbook, magazine, and broadcast.
The story all started when Mr. Elliott, the Flightline advisor, addressed the staff one day after Christmas break, sharing his optimism and high hopes for the future of the Flightline. Since winning both state journalism the previous year and also the Cornhusker, the highest journalism award at the state level, he explained his plans to shoot even bigger by submitting the Flightline for this national award.
Therefore, during the month of February, the Flightline was observed and evaluated. Things such as design, navigation, writing, editing, graphics, and interactivity were all taken into account during the judging process.
It was that Wednesday, March 9, 2016, that the Flightline received its most defining and groundbreaking news. Not only was there the all-around shock and honor at being recognized a Pacemaker finalist, but there was also the exciting prospect of going to the JEA/NSPA National Conference in Los Angeles, California from April 14-17 to be recognized.
While nothing would have been better than having the entire staff present at the conference, the short notice forced travel plans and arrangements to be realistically reduced to a few members. So, about a month later, decked out in the iconic matching maroon Flightline quarter zips, Hannah Klemme, Gabby Giesler, Kayley Anderson, Mr. Elliott, our chaperone Mrs. Klemme, and I hopped off the plane at L.A.X and entered the sunny and beautiful city of Los Angeles.
The conference itself was held at a huge and extravagant hotel called the Westin Bonaventure, located in the heart of downtown LA. As we registered on that Friday April 15, we all received an official lanyard with a name tag and an attachable black ribbon adorned in gold with the words “Pacemaker Finalist.” As we walked around, the amount of people with those same black ribboned name tags were few and the several “congratulations” we received from people at the conference made the reality and prestige of the honor begin to set in.
After registering, we walked around the various tables that were set up, stuffing our complimentary tote bags with the candy, sunglasses, pens, pins, and other free items that occupied each one. There were also several photo booths set up, places to lounge, and even colleges that were there specifically to talk about their journalism programs. The atmosphere was vibrant, colorful, and filled to the brim with the refreshing energy and passion of high school journalists just like ourselves.
The following evening, Saturday, April 16, was the big day. The awards ceremony began at 3:30 in the hotel’s huge ball room, equipped with three full size screens and as many rows of chairs as the capacity would allow. As the time for the category of Online Pacemaker came around, the Flightline, as well as the other finalists, were called up to accept a plaque.
That plaque, in many ways, fully embodies all the hard work, dedication, stress, deadlines, but also the pride and joy that being a part of newspaper means for every single staff member involved.
A fraction of the fifty finalists were recognized further as winners. The initial attitude going into the awards ceremony was one of pure bliss and excitement at simply being one of the finalists. However, as more newspapers were named winners, the focus shifted to wanting to go that one step further.
In the end, while the Flightline was not named one of the winners, it’s safe to say the excitement and honor from being recognized a finalist will remain one of the newspaper’s defining moments. As the plane touched back down in Omaha after the memorable weekend, focus almost immediately shifted to next year and the even brighter potential of the program.
The plan to attend the conference at its new location in Seattle, Washington has been established, and this time even more members of staff will get to experience, in person, the culmination of all the work they put into making the Flightline what it is to Skutt Catholic.
The Broad: Art Worth Waiting For
Los Angeles' hottest spot for contemporary art
When we saw that the line wrapped around the building before the doors had even opened, we knew the wait would be long. The fact that the pre-reserved tickets were booked up until the end of May was an indicator that The Broad was a popular place. The website’s claim of a thirty minute wait time was a little miscalculated, but the three hours spent in line were definitely worth it.
The Broad is one of Los Angeles’ most popular museums, as it houses the work of some of the greatest contemporary artists of our time, including Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and many others. As we were standing in the seemingly endless line, we quickly learned that the name is actually pronounced “The Brode.” The exterior of the building itself was a masterpiece and was pleasant to look at as we waited for hours. The white building stood out among its surrounding cityscape and had an unusual texture on its surface.
After studying the outside of the building for almost three hours, we finally approached the entrance of the building. The small waves of air conditioning felt so refreshing after standing in the sun for a solid amount of time. They only let people in every thirty minutes and we were lucky enough to just make the cut for the next round of people. Inside the window, I could see a life-sized stack of dinner plates that towered above its spectators; from that point I knew I was excited to see what else the museum had in store.
The first thing we did upon our admission was head towards the infinity mirror, which the museum was well known for. A couple weeks prior to our visit, one of the Kardashians posted a selfie inside it, so obviously, it’s kind of a big deal. As you could imagine, there was yet again another line to see this mirror. We were on a bit of a time crunch so we decided to ditch the infinity mirror and see what else the museum had to offer.
The escalator that led up to the top floor was interesting in itself. It was extremely long and went through an almost tunnel-looking structure. Once we reached the top floor, I noticed that it was pristinely bright and it looked like something you might see in a movie. The walls were painted white and the artwork was larger than life. Not to talk down our own Joslyn Art Museum, but it was unlike anything I’d seen before.
The piece of art that is right off the escalator is Jeff Koons’ giant inflatable structures. There were colorful, inflatable-looking flowers and a dog. These pieces reminded me of my childhood and brought a showed a more playful side of artistry.
Just around the corner was Andy Warhol’s work. Most people are familiar with his influence on pop art and his colorful prints and paintings. He’s often remembered for his Campbell’s soup can paintings, which we got to see in person. We also had the privilege of seeing Roy Lichtenstein’s work, who is personally one of my favorite artists of all time.
It’s amazing to witness these pieces in person because it makes you appreciate them that much more. When you look at a painting in real life, you can see every brush stroke and every dot of color and it really helps you connect with the art that much more.
Why you should always keep an open mind when trying new foods
Now I don’t know about you, but one of my first priorities when I travel isn’t always what I’m gonna eat while I’m gone. I’m usually so focused on things like museums or famous landmarks that food becomes somewhat of an afterthought.
So, naturally, when a group of myself and three other people from the newspaper staff headed to Los Angeles for the National Student Press Association Conference, I wasn’t all that worried about what I was gonna be eating each day. Mr. Elliott had it all planned out well enough that when he suggested that we stop by Koreatown’s local BCD Tofu House, it seemed like an okay idea to me.
Now, before I begin to reveal the lovely tale that was our experience at BCD Tofu House, let me set the scene for you a little bit. Los Angeles is obviously a big city, so you’ve got your classic skyscrapers, street art, and urban feel all going on. Big cities also have sections, and LA is no different. The section we happened to be staying in was Koreatown.
Koreatown is exactly what is sounds like, complete with Korean signs, restaurants and even hotels. It wasn’t scary or frightening like you might expect from movies or TV; it was actually very nice and cool, mostly because it was so different from our lovely city of Omaha.
So after my first impression of Koreatown, I was hopeful the cuisine would be just as cool and interesting as everything else seemed to be. We had never had authentic Korean food and the only tofu I ever eat comes from Chipotle, so it was pretty much all new from start to finish.
The menu was pretty confusing, and we were a little frightened that the only utensils were metal chopsticks and a spoon. After much deliberation, I decided to go with teriyaki chicken and not the tofu that seemed to be the main selling point of the place. But as it turns out a tofu soup did, in fact, come with my meal so I didn’t bypass the tofu altogether.
Tofu, in itself, really has no flavor, and so it sort of just takes on whatever flavor you put into it. The texture also varies; the tofu I ate had a similar consistency to what I imagine a stick of butter would have if you bit into it. I should also add that the soup was so hot, you literally cracked a raw egg into it and it was cooked in under a minute.
We were also served little spicy tofu chunks, pickles mixed with ice cubes, spicy veggies, and what I think was a fried fish. The fact that its eyes were still looking at me made me hesitant to try it.
But, overall the chicken was good and though I’m sure we looked pretty dumb stabbing our food with one chopstick and cutting everything with a spoon, it actually wasn’t even close to awful. So if there’s one thing I learned, it’s to always try new things because you may never get the chance. I mean where in Omaha is there authentic Korean food?