Elvis Wong and Johanna Fleischman, Photo by Beth Schlanker, Press Democrat.


Four high school seniors and two college students have been awarded journalism scholarships in memory of a respected newspaper reporter and editor who died 40 years ago.

Three of those winners were present and congratulated Thursday in Rohnert Park at the 62nd Annual Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Contest. Each of them won a Richard Torkelson Scholarship, provided by the newsroom staff at The Press Democrat.

Dick Torkelson died in an automobile accident while on assignement in 1971. In his memory, his colleagues began awarding scholarship to local high school and college students who are pursuing degrees in journalism or communications. The grants are administered through the Sonoma County Community Foundation.

This years high school winners are:

Johanna Fleischman, Casa Grande, $1,000;

Caitlin Tremblay, Sonoma Valley High, $1,000;

Kathryn Breece, Petaluma High, $1,500, which the newsroom awarded in memory of former PD editor Janielle Jobe;

Elvis Wong, Casa Grande, $1,500, which was awarded in memory of former PD publisher Mike Parman;

As well, the staff awarded $1,000 each to Shelby Pope of Santa Rosa Junior College and Matthew Hanlon of the University of Oregon.