News-Register file photos##These are a few of Karl Klooster s favorite things: Dragging the Gut, the UFO Festival and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
News-Register file photos##These are a few of Karl Klooster's favorite things: Dragging the Gut, the UFO Festival and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
News-Register file photos##These are a few of Karl Klooster s favorite things: Dragging the Gut, the UFO Festival and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
News-Register file photos##These are a few of Karl Klooster's favorite things: Dragging the Gut, the UFO Festival and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
News-Register file photos##These are a few of Karl Klooster s favorite things: Dragging the Gut, the UFO Festival and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
News-Register file photos##These are a few of Karl Klooster's favorite things: Dragging the Gut, the UFO Festival and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
By Karl Klooster • Staff Writer • 

Writing and getting paid for it

Today — Friday, May 1, 2015 — is my last day on the job as regional editor of the News-Register and associate editor of the Oregon Wine Press.

Karl Klooster

Klooster is the News-Register's regional editor and wine columnist.

> See his column

Holy moly, and other words more commonly used by the current generation to express dismay, disbelief and even denial. After almost 53 years of working for large corporations, medium-sized businesses and smaller family operations, as a sole proprietor, as a partner with others and as an employee, I am retiring.

The best part is, like Jack Benny, I’m still 39. At least in spirit.

Part of this mindset comes from the reality that getting paid to write on a regular basis isn’t a bad gig. In fact, some would say, “What a concept.”

As it turns out, many more people would like to be professional writers, reporters, columnists and editors for news and entertainment media outlets than are able to secure positions.

I can say with certainty that those us who have had the good fortune to do so almost universally enjoy what we do. We may not sit atop the earnings ladder, but the opportunity to report on people, places, events, activities, occurrences and organizations comes with extraordinary rewards of its own.

An integral part of my work has been to meet and interact with a dizzying array of exceptional individuals around the Yamhill Valley and beyond. Each and every one of them is a person possessed of some special gift.

Whether it stems from life accomplishment, innate or acquired talent, noteworthy personal actions or achievements, or the wisdom of experience, they have forged the basis of stories that deserve to be told in an interesting, and hopefully even a compelling, manner.

Meeting that challenge has always been the most gratifying aspect of this job.

Our talented Connections editor, Racheal Winter, has often given me leads for some very good ones. I am in debt to her for that and for all that she has done to make my stories better.

Perhaps most significant of all in my work is tracing the rich, pioneer history of the Yamhill Valley. Among Oregon’s earliest settlers were those who chose to come here because of its abundant advantages.

The county of Yam Hill, created on July 8, 1843, was one of Oregon’s original four. Its first permanent outpost of civilization was established in 1844, when McMinnville founder William T. Newby laid out a claim next to a creek named for fellow settler Samuel Cozine.

Joel Perkins put down roots of his own next to the South Yamhill River, creating the community of Lafayette in 1846. Several miles upstream, Absolem Faulconer arrived in 1847 to found the town of Sheridan. Brothers Joseph and Ahio Watt settled Amity in 1849, while Joel Palmer and Andrew Smith partnered to create Dayton in 1850.

During the decades from 1850 to 1880, donation land claims were filed on almost every inch of available land in the valley. It quickly earned a reputation for being among the top tier of agricultural areas in Oregon.

It’s been a lengthy and fascinating ride. But the time eventually comes when you have to call it a day.

All I have to do now is fill out my final expense account, have my boss, Managing Editor Steve Bagwell, sign off on it, and submit the documentation to the ever popular money ladies, Metta and Peggy, who work in our finance department under the supervision of Chief Financial Officer Matt Lazzeri.

Although costs are incurred in the course of doing business, working for two publications simultaneously over the course of these past 9 years and 4 months has occasionally offered perks that don’t appear on an expense account.

Throughout the year, particularly in the summertime, clubs, organizations, entire communities and even generous individuals present events that welcome the media. Of course, their hope, perhaps even their expectation, is that we will write something nice about such goings-on, hopefully with accompanying photos.

Communitywide events like Turkey Rama, Derby Days, Sheridan Days, Carlton Crush, the Amity Daffodil Festival and the Coastal Hills Art Show are a shoe-in for significant coverage.

This writer is drawn to ones that promise the most fun. Topping the list would be the UFO Festival — still known as Alien Daze to us McMinnville-centric sci-fi fans. I could go on for pages about being backstage, so to speak, attempting to communicate with travelers who have come from afar to find fine pinot noir.

Next on my personal enjoyment list has to be Dragging the Gut. Our own version of American Graffiti has gained in popularity year after year. And to think the whole thing grew out of a single Facebook post by McMinnville native Ruben Contreras.

So many stories to mention, so many people to thank. And I haven’t even touched on the wine side of my work yet.

Since News-Register Publishing bought the then 22-year-old Oregon Wine Press in 2006, Editor Hilary Berg has turned the wine industry’s statewide publication into a high-level magazine that can stand up to the best anywhere.

In my position as associate editor, I’ve been privileged to meet the majority of Oregon’s winery owners, along with other important figures in this amazing industry, and get to know a number of them quite well.

Prior to working with OWP, I wrote a weekly column on Oregon wine for This Week Magazine, starting in 1992. Over the course of the intervening 23 years, the Oregon industry has really come of age.

Once again, I can’t thank enough the many people who deserve my appreciation and gratitude for taking the time to share their expertise about winemaking, winegrowing and the inner workings of the industry. They’ve imparted information with expanded explanation based on a depth of knowledge that only comes with years of experience.

I am pleased to say that I’ll be acting as an editorial consultant for OWP over the next several months, and look forward to contributing stories to the publication for some time.

As for the perks, there have been those wine tastings, seminars, luncheons and dinners. These events are akin to dining at a five-star restaurant, featuring a series of gourmet dishes paired with fine wines.

There’s a certain irony in the fact that magic is the theme of this final Connections story. Being here and doing this in a singularly special place has, indeed, been a magical experience for this writer.

As mentioned above, listing the names of everyone worthy of mention would take up far more space than would be feasible, here and that doesn’t include all the top notch people with whom I work.

There is, however, one person who merits individual mention. That would be our President and Publisher Jeb Bladine.

According him this recognition is not because he has treated me any differently than any of his other employees. And it’s certainly not because I’m gunning for a promotion or a raise.

It’s because he is the kind of employer anyone who knows anything about small businesses in general and the newspaper and printing businesses in particular would admire.

During a time when newspapers across the country have gone under, falling victim to the Internet and its rapidly evolving information technology, Bladine has met the problem head-on. He has found innovative ways to adapt and remain viable.

During a time when printing companies have been closing their doors by the droves, as the advent of digital media is causing the use of printed promotional materials to plummet, he has fought that trend as well. He has established a reputation as one of the best places to go for high-quality printed material.

As a result, he has saved the jobs of some 80 McMinnville residents, including one older guy able to retire on his own terms, not because he’s being squeezed out.

Thanks, Jeb, it’s been a great run OUT and ABOUT. Living in Mac, I have no doubt I’ll come across some good stories from time to time and I’m confident you and your editorial staff will give them a good look.

As for road trips, though I’ve continued to search unsuccessfully, I feel certain I’ll eventually find Sinfield, Ground Round and Clothesline Creek.

Karl Klooster is retiring from his full-time position with News-Register Publishing. If you wish to communicate with him, please e-mail sbagwell@newsregister.com or call 503-687-1226.

Comments

Daytonian

I have so enjoyed Karl's articles through the years. And valued the attention he gave to local history, and to my community of Dayton. His expertise in heritage news will be missed!

Trafik

Karl leaves big shoes to fill. He will be missed.

paleface

I'd very much enjoyed your 'OUT and ABOUT' column over the past decade. And especially so, those serving us correction's to past post's well seasoned from with an humorous bent.

Thank you, Karl.

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