The TORCH Goes Bi-Coastal

As the cold air of winter gripped the New York area during the last week of February, the editors of the TORCH enjoyed a touch of summer under the sunny skies of Los Angeles.

Associated College Press held its annual National College Newspaper Convention, where college newspapers from all across the country were able to share ideas and concerns with each other as well as gain insight from the many advisers and professional journalists who ran the seminars. There were also awards presented to the top college papers in various categories including one devoted to the coverage of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Unfortunately, the TORCH was unable to bring back an award to the campus, but we were able to bring back numerous ideas from the convention. These will undoubtedly lead to a better TORCH in the years to come, so that hopefully we can bring back some hardware from Orlando or Seattle next year.

It was not all business during our stay in sunny Los Angeles, as we ventured out to see the many sights that Southern California has to offer. We took a three-hour bus tour through the streets of Hollywood and into the hills of Beverly Hills and Bel Air. During the tour, we saw historic Hollywood landmarks, including the Hollywood sign, the hotel where Janis Joplin died, the restaurant where Joe DiMaggio first met Marilyn Monroe and the infamous parking lot where Hugh Grant was busted with Ms. Divine. We saw the homes of countless Hollywood legends from both now and the past, including Cameron Diaz, Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, James Dean and Mel Gibson. We saw Ozzy Ozbourne’s wife, Sharon, leaving the home that is the backdrop for his new MTV show, and the ever-popular Playboy Mansion, where we nearly were involved in an accident with Hugh Hefner’s ex-wife.

Next stop was the streets of Beverly Hills, which are lined with stores where you need an appointment to even walk through the door, making New York’s Fifth Avenue look like bargain shopping.

In addition to our star-studded tour we were able to bring back many other highlights. We spent one day on the sands of Venice Beach, seeing the “Baywatch” trucks, the many artists that span the entire length of the boardwalk, and putting our feet in the frigid waters of the Pacific. We were able to attend a taping of the “Late Late Show” with Craig Kilborn, which featured the gorgeous Carmen Electra and world-class boxer, Roy Jones Jr. We also saw the many sights and sounds of the Universal City Walk. It would have been a lot better if we were all 21, but we still got to see the Chinese Theater and the countless stars that cover the sidewalks of Hollywood, which now includes a TORCH star.

The trip was a lot of fun and the 80 degree temperatures of California are nice in February, but we all agreed Los Angeles does not even compare to New York City. I do not mean to offend anyone from Los Angeles, but people in LA are weird. People in New York may be cold at times and you will see your occasional street preacher, but on the left coast people do and say whatever they want and everybody seems to think it’s normal. In addition, there is so much more to do in New York. Granted I have gone into the city ever since I was about 4 years old, so I know where to go, but in the area we were staying everything was closed by 10 p.m. Where in Manhattan does everything close at 10 p.m.? This only adds to the argument that New York City is truly the greatest city in the world.

Overall, the trip was a great vacation for our hard-working editors as well as a learning experience for all. But now it’s back to work on building a bigger and better TORCH.