Longtime newsman and two-time president of the Kern Press Club, Steve E. Swenson, died at home Thursday, leaving behind a legacy of always-fair reporting and a deep love for the craft of not only journalism but also of living life to its fullest. It is with great honor that the Kern Press Club accepts Steve’s wishes for donations in lieu of flowers to be made to the Steve Swenson Journalism Scholarship fund.
The fund was started in August 2014 when the Kern Press Club honored Steve with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In his 33-year career as a reporter for The Bakersfield Californian (and 40 years in all), Steve covered mostly cops and courts. It’s the kind of beat that requires a thick skin. However it was Steve’s soft shell – his ability to empathize and connect with people – that enabled him to share countless stories of humankind.
Although Steve experienced a huge transformation of the media industry during his career – from typewriters to social media reporting – he believed strongly in maintaining the integrity on which modern journalistic ethics are based. In this vein, he supported the mission of the Kern Press Club, to support the professional relationships and recognition of local media representatives and the development of young journalists through the scholarship program.
The Kern Press Club wishes for peace and comfort for Steve’s wife Mary, his children Todd and Kara, his step-daughter Lori, and all of his family, friends, colleagues and sources whose lives he touched. We are honored to continue his legacy by awarding the annual Steve Swenson Journalism Scholarship to college students studying journalism. We will be awarding the first one this spring.
Read and watch these tributes online:
In his own words: Oct. 18, 2014 article in The Bakersfield Californian
“STEVE E. SWENSON: I’m ‘going to go out’ happy, grateful and comforted“