Pomona College Magazine
Volume 45, No. 3
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Pomona College Magazine is published three times a year by Pomona College
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Online Editor: Laura Tiffany

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Editor: Mark Wood
Phone: (909) 621-8158
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Holding On & Letting Go
The Blogger: Teresa Valdez Klein '05: "I had no siblings to share my adventure in joint custody, but the P-I was there no matter where I slept each night."

Essay by Teresa Valdez Klein '05

Editor's Note: This is one of a four-part series in which Pomona journalists discuss the future of the news. In this installment, Teresa Valdez Klein '05, a social technology strategist on the Product Development team at T-Mobile, USA, and a blogger, shares her memories of the 145-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which ceased print publication earlier this year to become online only..

The Seattle Post Intelligencer is so tangled up with my childhood, my time at Pomona and my adult life in Seattle that to talk about the paper properly I have to talk about all the rest of it. About Mariners baseball, and the smell of newsprint and freshly mown grass in the Seattle spring. About my parents’ divorce, my freshman year of college and my life as a blogger.

We were a P-I family. After my parents divorced, the paper would land on both doorsteps each morning. I had no siblings to share my adventures in joint custody, but the P-I was there no matter where I slept each night.

At nine, I clipped out articles from the front page for Tuesday’s current events discussion in Mrs. Loeb’s class. As an angsty teenager, I avoided parental eye contact by reading the paper and sipping a latte until the Geohegans came to pick me up for school.

The summer before I left for Pomona, excitement was building on the sports page. For the first time in their history, my beloved Mariners looked unbeatable. The day I left for Claremont, their record was a stunning 98-39.

Desperately homesick, I spent much of my first semester at Pomona glued to the P-I’s Web site and driving my sponsor group completely nuts by recounting play after play. The M’s went on to win 116 games that season, only to fall short of the World Series in an inglorious postseason loss to the Yankees.

I flew home to Seattle for that last game—even though it was being played in New York—and watched with my dad as Andy Pettitte shut down our flagging lineup. I brought in the morning P-I when I came home at sunrise the next day, exhausted from staying up all night to meet the team when their charter landed at Boeing Field.

I was a sophomore when P-I editorial cartoonist David Horsey won the Pulitzer for the second time. As a Horsey fanatic from the tender age of 9, I was terribly excited about the award and proceeded to tell anyone who would listen that my hometown paper had the best editorial cartoonist in the country. Needless to say, I was not cool in college.

Over the next few years, the P-I’s Web site kept me connected to my rain-soaked hometown, and so it’s no surprise that I moved back to Seattle after graduation. I muddled about in several jobs before hitting my stride as a blogger for hire. It was in that context that I first noticed a young P-I columnist named Mónica Guzmán.

Mónica’s columns on what the Internet meant to her life as a 20-something in the city resonated with me. She’d mentioned her obsession with Facebook in more than one column, and so on one particularly bold Tuesday I sent her a message asking her to meet me for lunch near the P-I building.

We quickly discovered that we’re both geeky, music-loving Latinas with degrees from small, private liberal arts colleges and a tendency to act like 5-year-olds when we’re having fun.


Other newspapers that printed farewell editions during the past year include the Cincinatti Post, which stopped publication after 126 years, and the Rocky Mountain News, which printed its last issue 55 days short of its 150th birthday.
 
   
In subsequent months, I introduced Mónica to her boyfriend, and she invited me to jam sessions with sports reporter Mike “Big City” McLaughlin and nightlife reporter Angelo “Real news” Bruscas—two of the finest guitarists I’ve ever worked with. At the P-I’s annual “Battle of the Bands”—where our band came in last—Mónica introduced me, tongue-tied, to David Horsey.

It was from Mónica that I first learned of the P-I’s closing. I came back to my desk one day after a meeting to find a new post on her Twitter feed, “Whatever happens to the P-I,” she wrote, “I hope the people who work here are OK. Please, let us be OK.”

I knew that the P-I was in trouble, but I was still stunned. The P-I was a constant, a given. Suddenly, I was 6 again, staring at the front page of the unopened P-I on our living room floor as my parents told me my dad was moving out. It wasn’t until I heard that the presses would stop for the last time that I remembered that devastating detail.

I’ve made my living in technology. By the time the P-I went under, I wasn’t even subscribing to it on paper—though I checked the Web site at least six times a day. I feel a little guilty, but not as much as you might expect.

Industries change, awful things happen to incredible people, and life somehow careens onward. I believe that the online P-I will change the way we consume news, especially here in the wired Pacific Northwest.

I know this because the remaining P-I staff won’t let the venture fail. They care too much about hometown newspapers that serve as a backdrop for the unnewsworthy stories of millions of people. And so do I.

©Copyright 2008
by Pomona College
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