Drew Silvern could and did write brilliantly about anything from Iranian earthquakes to killer snakes, always delivering news with a sly wit and a refreshing clarity all of his own.
He filed 708 stories for first The San Diego Union and then The San Diego Union-Tribune since starting there in February 1990. Dogs biting cops, neighbors of white supremacists, laws about skateboarding, gardens in prison, a standoff of lumberjacks, mercy missions to Mozambique, skiing with the blind.
Drew made even routine stories sparkle, for he was no prima donna and spent much time in the trenches covering the meat and potatoes of newspapers: sewage issues, landfill wars, threatening thunderstorms, yacht fires, nuclear plant pollution, roller coaster crashes, the potential extinction of the flat-tailed horned desert lizard.
Another example of Drew’s writings included his approach to a bureaucratic story about the California gnatcatcher, a tiny endangered songbird blocking a big development. His skill and multiple stories about that little bird may have helped keep the bird’s homeland safe from bulldozers a little bit longer.
In all his education coverage, features, news and his final chronicles of his last journey, Drew captured the essential elements and elegant details that made two-dimensional newsprint seem three-dimensional. He had the rare ability to capture the living and breathing humanity in all that he saw.
Excerpts reprinted from a memorial book produced by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
For more information about scholarship awards please visit Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars, a program of Scholarhip America.