One of the neat things about working for the E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the News Sentinel, is the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This is the nation’s oldest and largest educational promotion, administered by Scripps on a non-profit basis since 1941.
The Bee went primetime this year, with the championship round showing on ABC from 8-10 p.m. Thursday. Katharine “Kerry” Close, 13, won by correctly spelling URSPRACHE, whatever that is. A movie about the event, Akeela and the Bee, is in theaters now. http://university.imdb.com/title/tt0437800/trailers-screenplay-E24036-10-2
Playing herself in the movie is Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, a former national bee winner and later commentator. Katie was one of two bee winners with whom I’ve worked during my Scripps career. She was a terrific reporter at the Rocky Mountain News while I was there and, needless to say, the best speller in the room.
The other bee winner was a tragic figure. He was Joel Montgomery, who served for a while as assistant city editor while I was city editor of The Albuquerque Tribune. One of the worst days of my professional life came the morning Joel’s wife called in to say he had killed himself the night before. The couple had recently had a premature baby and were under tremendous strain. But I never knew the details of what led to Joel’s death. His was the first suicide to touch my life, and I’ve since felt that such losses are among the greatest of tragedies.
We will be doing an in-house session on diversity later this month as part of our ongoing training efforts. Before the session, we may be inviting staff members to take online tests that are designed ot reveal unrealized prejudices. I just took one. It’s an interesting exercise — kind of fun and somewhat thought-provoking.
It takes about 10 minutes if you want to try one. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/