Well folks, I was lucky to attend the 60th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Press Club Southern California Journalism Awards on Sunday, June 24 at The Millennium Biltmore downtown. I’m a member of the Advisory Board, and donated memorabilia from the Stanley Kramer Centennial Collection for the silent auction. I recently discovered a rising artist named David Shouse Mitchell, who created and donated two pieces in honor of Dolly Parton, who received the Bill Rosendahl Public Service Award for Contributions to Civic Life: “I Believe In You” Dolly 3D Doll and “The Book Lady” painting.
The Press Club encourages serious journalism and this year was no exception. Besides Parton, the honorees were Lester Holt, anchor, NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC, honored with The Joseph M. Quinn Award for Lifetime Achievement; Kimi Yoshino, Business Editor, Los Angeles Times, given The President’s Award For Impact on Media, and Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabian Blogger, recognized with The Daniel Pearl Award For Courage and Integrity in Journalism, presented by Judea Pearl and accepted by Ensaf Haidar.
Presenters included Pat Harvey, Dan Lauria, Cher Calvin, Colleen Williams, Josh Mankiewicz and former Press Club President and NBC4 anchor/reporter Robert Kovacik. The always relevant and hilarious Alonzo Bodden provided stellar comedy. Awards for editorial excellence in 2017 and honorary awards for 2018 were handed out.
All of the honorees and winners were deserving. Especially impressive was former William Morris agent Sam Haskell, who is now Dolly Parton’s producing partner on her upcoming Netflix song anthology series. Haskell shared how he first met Dolly and then became her agent even though it took him “10 years” to convince her and then-manager, the late Sandy Gallin.
He introduced the Legend herself, Ms. Parton, who was being recognized not for her storied career as a singer/songwriter/actress, but as a humanitarian and founder of the Imagination Library. Known to young children as “The Book Lady,” Parton has given over 100 million books to kids worldwide. In a heartfelt speech, she told the sold-out crowd, “If you can give back, you should.” And Parton has stated, “If I am remembered 100 years from now, I hope it will be not for looks but for books.” Being acknowledged for children’s literacy is perhaps the icon’s greatest legacy.
The Los Angeles Press Club was established in 1913, and is flourishing under the guidance of President Chris Palmeri and Executive Director Diana Ljungaeus. Their motto is: “A Free Press is the Pillar of Democracy.” The final honoree of the night, Lester Holt, summed it up best in his acceptance speech. “I like to be liked. You like to be liked. We all like to be liked. But the truth is, what we do, does not often make us popular. But the truth is, you can blame the messenger, but as long as we hold fast to our values and responsibility, no one can ever silence the messenger.”
Live your dreams……
Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.