By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Letter to Readers: Someone was missing out


Last week I covered a good presentation about developing story ideas, one of numerous sessions in Linfield University’s annual NW Media Conference, one day of which is sponsored by the News-Register’s Bladine family.

I felt a pleasant wash of nostalgia as I entered Melrose Hall, the administration building, on my way to the venue.

I first walked up the Melrose steps in early 1978 as a high school student choosing where I would continue my education in the fall. I’ve used those stairs time and time again since, as a Linfield student, a community member attending events, and a reporter doing interviews.

That day I continued to Jonasson Hall in the Melrose basement, a science area when I was in school and now a meeting space. One of the first to arrive, I sat at a table with six chairs.

As students came in, they sat at other tables for six. Then several grabbed chairs from my table and squeezed in with classmates at other tables, leaving me sitting alone.

That was a bit uncomfortable. Was it because I was a stranger? Was it because I looked as old as or older than their parents? Did they just enjoy being close to each other, like kittens in a basket?

Would the younger me have done the same thing, letting a visitor to my campus sit alone and unwelcomed? Possibly, but I hope not.

Looking at it from my aged perspective, though, I think those students — those aspiring journalists — missed out. They were there to learn about getting ideas for stories; one of the best starts would have been to talk to someone they’d never met, ask why the stranger was there and find out something about them.

Then again, maybe it should have been me who joined one of their crowded tables and started the conversation. Maybe I’m the one who missed out.

Starla Pointer, Linfield ’82, covers features, business and plenty of other topics for the News-Register. She can be reached at or 503-683-1263.


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