Seniors depart Cardinal Times staff
May 30, 2018
The Cardinal Times Staff says goodbye to its three seniors, Jamie Bikales, Ben Pahl, and Armand Yazdani.
Bikales is going to Harvard University in the fall, Pahl is headed to Oregon State University, and Yazdani is on his way to the University of Oregon.
We wish them the best in their future endeavors and their contributions to the paper will be missed from the staff in the coming years.
Former editor closes time on paper
Many people know Jamie Bikales as the newspaper guy at Lincoln.
During his long run as a staff member and Editor-in-Chief of the Cardinal Times, Bikales became well known for talking about the paper to his friends, handing them out to students during lunch, and approaching anyone in the halls for a story.
Bikales joined the paper on a whim. He needed to fill an extra elective spot on his schedule.
“I had never heard of or read the Cardinal Times before, but I always liked reading newspapers, especially the sports section, as a kid so I thought it might be interesting,” he says.
According to his classmate, Armand Yazdani, who’s been writing for the paper alongside Bikales since freshman year, Bikales published numerous articles even as a freshman, due to his excellent writing skills.
He quickly moved up the leadership ladder, securing the role of Editor-in-Chief his junior year, which he held through the first semester of his senior year.
Over the course of his time on the paper, Bikales credits his four different advisers, a new one each year, as an integral part of his success.
“Even though I’ve had a different adviser each year, each one has taught me new and different things and I’ve improved,” Bikales says.
For his freshman year he had teacher David Bailey, who he says “with his incredible wealth of knowledge and experience with the Cardinal Times, I learned a lot of the basics I needed.”
During his sophomore year, the first year he was an official staff member of the paper, Bikales was working with seven other students and adviser Joany Carlin, who he still keeps in touch with today. Working with her and John Killen, the adviser his junior year, allowed Bikales to learn “how to run a newsroom like a professional one.”
While Bikales says the Cardinal Times did at one point have “pretty low reputation” and “it barely came out, content wasn’t great, people didn’t know about it,” he still felt that with a smaller staff it allowed him to grow as a writer and develop more leadership skills.
“I had a huge opportunity to write a lot and take some leadership, which I really enjoyed and made me want to stay on,” Bikales says.
The weaknesses Bikales saw in the paper a few years ago, were the aspects of the paper he worked to improve during his time as the editor.
Bikales notes that “the proudest thing for [him] has been upping the content to make it a respected watchdog over the Lincoln administration and even all of PPS,” adding “I think people hold us as a real legitimate news source now.”
Bikales, along with the other staff, have worked to improve the Cardinal Times brand. “I am also very proud of growing the social media presence and pivoting towards more digital content to better connect with readers,” he says.
While many saw Bikales has having great leadership of the paper, he still faced numerous struggles along the way.
“I didn’t really have any leadership experience of anything as big as the Cardinal Times, so I was kind of learning on the fly,” he says. However, with the guidance of his mentors, such as Killen and this year’s newspaper adviser, Mary Rechner, he has learned the ropes of managing the newsroom efficiently.
Rechner has also helped Bikales hone skills where he didn’t have as much experience. “She taught me skills on how to run a successful organization including finances and professional development,” says Bikales.
He also learned “a lot about how to manage people and make sure they met deadlines.” He adds, “I learned that I sometimes put in too much work for other people, if they didn’t get something done, then I would just do it, which is not a good leadership technique.”
Bikales has an extensive list of bylines, including four years of stories about the Lincoln rebuild, sports updates, the fire that burned down a portable the summer of 2015, editorials about fire alarms and pedestrian safety and much more.
However, his most notable piece was published this April and called “Abused and Afraid.” After working for six months investigating the process of students reporting sexual misconduct by teachers, and looking into past Lincoln cases, Bikales produced the biggest article of his high school career.
Following publication of “Abused and Afraid”, Bikales was featured on OPB and other news publications such as the Oregonian, which featured “Abused and Afraid” on their social media and website.
While many staff know Bikales to have spent late nights writing, editing and designing for the paper, his life wasn’t just being the “newspaper guy.” Bikales has played tennis all four years at Lincoln, participated in the Constitution Team his sophomore year, was a member of the Speech and Debate team and was the Youth Director of the Northwest District Association, a neighborhood association.
While Bikales will head off to Harvard University in the fall, hoping to major in political science while writing for the school’s paper, The Harvard Crimson, he notes that there are parts of the Cardinal Times he will hold close forever.
He’s formed many lasting relationships with newspaper staff. Editors Sydney Laxson and Jack Forman say, “Jamie embodies the spirit of the Cardinal Times. He is the spirit of the Cardinal Times.” They say they cannot imagine the paper without him.
While Bikales hopes to see “that the work that [he] put in will make a positive impact on the school, hopefully for many years to come,” he adds that “I have also gained a lot from the Cardinal Times. I know that the knowledge and skills I’ve picked up, as well as the relationships I’ve made with my fellow staff members, are going to stay with me forever.”
Longtime reporter and editor Armand Yazdani ‘reflected the truth’
Mild mannered, well spoken and dressed to the T, Armand Yazdani is easy to spot walking down the halls dressed in a well-pressed suit and scarf wrapped around his neck.
Yazdani’s interest in politics and desire to stay updated on the news led him to forecast for journalism his freshman year. He wanted to inform people and remind them of the importance of news.
“I rely on news everyday. I think people should rely on news everyday. I believe the world should rely on news everyday. What is a man without news?” he questions.
Yazdani’s interest in writing was encouraged under his first adviser, David Bailey. With Bailey, Yazdani enjoyed learning about historical journalism. His “very traditional form of journalism” inspired Yazdani to join as a staff member the following year.
Making an impact on people has been one of the driving forces motivating him to continue. During his sophomore year Yazdani wrote about how Muslims felt about President Trump’s campaign.
Among the staff, Yazdani has become the go-to political writer, writing analytical articles about current political issues and localizing them to the Lincoln.
“There hasn’t been much controversy in a while with my articles because I haven’t editorialized that much, I have had some analysis articles.”
One controversial instance Yazdani did face was when he wrote about the opening of the gender neutral bathroom. Yazdani faced backlash from the leaders who got the bathroom changed due to an incorrect reference to the name of the bathroom. Yazdani meant no harm in referencing it differently than with the term “gender neutral”, simply wanting to not sound repetitive in his writing. “It’s important to correct mistakes… still apologize” he says.
Yazdani hopes that in college he can take more of a political stance when he writes in the school paper.
With four different advisers over the past four years, Armand has seen many changes. From his freshman year to senior year he has seen changes in the routine and having more structure develop. He says that each year there is some “revolutionary change.” From more traditional views with Bailey to a more modern outlook with his sophomore advisor Joany Carlin.
He’s noticed that over the years the staff has grown considerably.
Current staff member Alex Paskill, who’s worked with Armand over the past two years, describes Yazdani as “Inspiring. Intellectual. Mustache goals. Five stars.”
Outside of the newsroom Yazdani has enjoyed fencing, rowing and hanging out with friends. He will pursue a business major and continue to follow his journalism passions by writing for his school paper, at University of Oregon.
No matter what, Yazdani says “I want to reflect the truth. I don’t want to compromise the truth.”
Ben Pahl learned skills for writing and life
Senior Ben Pahl has been developing his own views and voice in the classroom and found a way to explore and express it through working on the Cardinal Times.
“I’m more accepting, and I feel like journalism gives you a power that not everyone has,” he says.
Teacher David Bailey told Pahl that “journalism always forces you to think about both sides of a story,” and Pahl likes to live by that lesson when he approaches his articles and in life.
“I don’t want people to be one sided, I don’t want people to have tunnel vision,” he says, adding, “I feel like this is what the Cardinal Times can do.”
Pahl took Intro to Mass Communications with last year’s adviser, John Killen, and continued as a staff member his senior year.
After seeing his first byline in the printed paper Pahl was motivated to continue journalism.
This year Pahl has enjoyed covering issues that relate to his peers at school. His favorite article was about cell phone and technology usage and the effects it has on relationships and dating at this age.
Deputy Editor, Daniel Lewinsohn, says Pahl “is constantly searching for the truth.” Being a person to remind his generation of these vices and being a voice for the whole school to read and think about is something Pahl enjoys.
Some of Pahl’s favorite memories include the numerous field trips the class takes including, meeting professional journalists, attending student journalism conferences and watching movies like The Post were all cherished memories for Pahl.
The experiences staff have has beyond the newsroom has been something Pahl has enjoyed the most.
“I think when we reach a level beyond Lincoln High School, that’s what really excites me,” he says.
Pahl’s open mindedness about journalism expands beyond the newsroom. He’s been heavily involved in sports from a young age, having played, football, baseball, soccer and track throughout high school, being open to many options and trying something new each year.
Before heading off to Oregon State University, Pahl encourages the student body to focus on what the Cardinal Times does. Not having read the paper until he joined the staff, Pahl learned quickly that there’s a “whole new world of Lincoln,” and much more to learn by opening the newspaper.