Seven years and a few months ago, I walked into a newsroom after reading a job description that sounded too good to be true. Arts + Entertainment + LIfestyle + Community + Creative + Writer = Me. I was a confused new college graduate, with journalism and English degrees affixed to my name in some computer system somewhere. I was about to interview for my first job at a newspaper — at least one that would pay. I interviewed. I was nervous, like I always was. I shared my clips, my stories, my own story. I left, and I remember waiting for the call back as I sat in my grandmother’s darkened dining room.
I got the job.
And I’ve been there ever since. Most of my twenties were lived in that newsroom, writing things I am proud will exist forever in the interwebs, soaking up the lives of the most interesting people in this part of California and working beside coworkers who have become my second family and best friends.
The News-Sentinel let me grow in my career, which was also my hobby. I started as Lodi Living writer. But then I took over the section as editor. I followed the photography department’s lead and started taking some of my own photos for the section. Before long, I learned photography is one of my greatest passions. After watching someone design my pages for several months, I picked up the steps and started designing on my own. That lead to co-designing the paper’s new magazine, and then SFisHomes for the San Francisco Chronicle. Soon, I learned that I love design, too.
I’ve met the greatest people and had the greatest experiences as the lifestyle writer. The nudist who changed his oil while Dan and I interviewed him at the nearby nudist colony. The roller skating stripper who insisted on showing me his animal-print bed sheets. Getting to know the sweet and full-of-life Alicia Brogle while she waited for, and then received, a lung transplant after living with cystic fibrosis; and getting to know her family as they celebrated her life after her body rejected the new lungs. All those people who let me in to their worlds and showed me their messy studios and kitchens, where they offered me paintings and family recipes. I wrote about artists who literally became my best friends, ones that have been on this blog over and over again: The amazing Cindy DeLuz (who I talk to nearly every day and woke up beside yesterday in a tent on our camping trip) and my soul sister, Laura, who I met, became so close with and lost to melanoma, all in the time frame of me working for the newspaper. Sometimes it seems I’ve been there longer than my lifetime; other times, it’s like I just started.
I’ve had the best career as an editor and writer. At the age of 30, I’m proud to say I’ve done it for a decade. But after writing more than 370 Lodi Living cover stories, who-knows-how-many-dozen dailies, more than 250 restaurant profiles and dozens of interviews with quirky artists, musicians and writers, I’m hanging up my press pass to have a go at a new adventure: Becoming social media guru for the local hospital. Now, I get to be a journalist, writer, photographer, designer and maybe even videographer in my spare time.
If you’ve been around this space for a while, you’ve likely seen parts of the newsroom and journalist life. But here are a few shots I’ve dug up and taken recently.
I think it’s so cool we have our printing presses downstairs. Not many newspapers print their own papers anymore:
Office swag. There’s never a shortage:
Enthusiastic meetings & coffee club:Yay for awards. We took home quite a few this year, and my section won for lifestyle coverage and arts & entertainment:We have an amazing quote file that is hilarious.
Oh, the restaurants! Foodies always want to feed us. We really enjoy it sometimes.One of my favorite covers with an array of my Instagram summer pictures:Sometimes it’s really weird to think that my words go out to so many homes, but I like to imagine they read it on the porch Saturday morning with their coffee:
Good letters from a reader & couple pages I designed in the magazine: Afternoon walks with Maggie. I’ll miss those:
One of my favorite recent assignments, exploring a vintage ship:The pressroom:
This summer, I started designing the luxury homes real estate section, SFisHOMES, for the San Francisco Chronicle (we contract with the publication on some of their publications):I’ve been writing and shooting photos for the Chronicle’s Weekender section:
And then, it was my last week. Bittersweet and lovely. We potlucked and lunched:
All the goodbyes:
I love you News-Sentinel, but you already knew that.