Journalist Spotlight: Will Bowen, La Jolla Light

Full Name: Will Bowen
Title: Freelance Journalist
Organization: La Jolla Light newspaper
Years in the Industry: 8 years
Hometown: Coronado, CA
Current Community: University City

Describe your job in one sentence, being as specific as possible.
I cover arts, humanities, and science in the La Jolla area and especially on UC San Diego campus.

Where were you before the La Jolla Light? How did the opportunity to write for the La Jolla Light arise?
Before La Jolla Light, I was with The San Diego Union Tribune and La Jolla Village News. I contacted the editor of the La Jolla Light about a job after working for several years for their competition, the LJ Village News.

How did art and artistic events become your beat? Have you always been interested?
For many years I went to art, music, humanities, and science events on the UCSD campus as a hobby. Jim Chute, the former arts editor of The Union Tribune, found out about this and offered me a job writing a column for the Union called “Campus Corner”—all about the events happening on campus.

If an art exhibit or event didn’t take place in La Jolla, but was nearby and could be of interest to your readers, would you still attend and write about it?
I sometimes cover events outside the La Jolla area. Recently, I covered the Trolley Naming Ceremony at the Chinese Historical Museum of San Diego, which is located in the Gaslamp. I have also covered the Royal Presidio Heritage Circle and The Descendants of Early San Diego, both of which are located in Old Town, and the Memorial to the Chinese Fishing Fleet located at La Playa in Point Loma.

What are a few important lessons you’ve learned along the way as a writer?
Writing is very challenging and takes a long time. Getting names right is very difficult. In writing, you want to try and translate the art, film, dance, theater performance into the medium of writing.

How is La Jolla’s art scene unique from the rest of San Diego?
La Jolla has the UC San Diego art department and several on-campus galleries. That department is one of the best in the world for art/technology interface. There are many galleries in La Jolla and also the La Jolla Art Association, which has been active for more than 100 years.

Are there any other publications you contribute to?
I lead nature hikes and write nature and history articles for the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. The Preserve has put out a newsletter for the last 25 years and I have written many articles for it.

What are some of your favorite arts and culture events in San Diego?
I like the San Diego Asian Film Festival, the theater department shows at UCSD, percussion concerts by Steve Schick, presentations and lectures by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Imagination, The Ideas Series at Calit2 UCSD, and art shows at The La Jolla Art Association.

How do you see UCSD art students/programs altering the art scene in La Jolla or San Diego altogether?
UCSD visual arts, music, theater, and Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts & Sciences majors are influencing the arts not only in San Diego but all over the world!

Who is the most fascinating person you have ever interviewed?
The most fascinating person I ever interviewed and ended up studying with was Chinese Taoist master Share K. Lew. Lew grew up in a Taoist Monastery on a mountain top near Canton and was one of the first people to teach Chinese martial arts and folk medicine in America.

Is there anything in particular that annoys you about PR pitches you receive?
I don’t like working with PR people who will send you some information but then not follow up in a timely manner with the pictures, video, or music they say they have.