South Pasadena Girl Scout troop 6931 took their first step to earning their Silver Award with a visit and tour of Gavilan Media’s office to learn about the nature of media on Friday, February 22.
Troop Leader Linh Preston explained that the Troop is starting on a media “journey,” which is a topic that the girls, aged 11 and 12, will be working to learn about over the course of the next year in their work towards the Silver Award.
“I decided to do media because this is the perfect age,” said Preston.
With sashes across their shoulders that displayed many accomplishments they’ve already earned as Girl Scouts, the scouts asked questions of Gavilan Media Co-owner Carie Salter, which included what a newspaper does and what were the paper’s most exciting events to cover. Salter also shared archived papers dating back to the 1930s, which Troop members looked over as they huddled around a bound yellowed tome.
Salter explained that newspapers serve as a record of what has happened in a community and discussed the role that newspaper journalism plays in helping to maintain balance in a city’s civic dialogue, providing a place where city leaders and citizens can be held to be accountable. She said that newspapers serve as the “fourth estate,” working to keep a check on the powers of the judicial, legislative and executive powers.
“We have a professional responsibility, and also have a responsibility to the community that we serve, to report accurate, unbiased news and so that’s what we strive to do,” said Salter.
The Troop also had the opportunity to learn about the production process from Art Director and Associate Publisher Nancy Lem. They were walked through how stories, photos, legal notices and advertiser copy are laid out on the computer in order to build the newspaper. “I deliberately, and very carefully, choose the photos that I think will illustrate what the story’s about and hopefully grab your attention,” Lem told the scouts.
At the end of the tour, Troop member Emma Preston shared her thoughts on the experience. “What I thought was interesting was that you guys try to fact-check as much as possible and you don’t exaggerate anything because it’s a trusted newspaper source and you want to keep that trust,” Emma reflected.
Fellow Troop member Mackenzie Younker said that she learned that a newspaper serves to tell the stories of all members of a community.
“You keep it nice, like you guys know the people in South Pasadena and San Marino, and then you make friendships there, and you guys get to experience all the extra little things they do,” said Mackenzie.