The Steve Moss Journalism Scholarship Foundation recently awarded its first-ever scholarship to Joe Payne in recognition of his achievements in journalism and his constant willingness to learn.
The Santa Maria Sun's calendar editor and a recent Righetti High School graduate, Payne has enrolled in classes at Allan Hancock College and plans to pursue a four-year degree with an emphasis in journalism.
In addition to working or volunteering at the Sun for the last two years, Payne also acted as his school newspaper's editor, was active in Righetti's film program, and plays piano, guitar, and mandolin in a band.
The scholarship foundation was established by New Times Media Group in honor of New Times and Sun founder Steve Moss and his commitment to integrity and the highest journalistic standards. Moss passed away in 2005 at the age of 56, but his vision lives on at both newspapers.
"Given his dedication to journalism, we wanted to make sure that [Moss'] legacy continued in the local markets where he had been publishing for the last 22 years," said Bob Rucker, publisher and co-owner of New Times Media Group.
The scholarship will be given annually to high school students who share Moss' dedication to accurate, fair, relevant, and interesting journalism.
"For me to be honored with a scholarship with his name on it, just that, symbolically, means a lot to me," Payne said.