A first year as a journalist at COURRIER

by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected]

For the most part, 2021 will be remembered as the year we all got along with COVID-19 – interpret it either as humans learning to live with the reality of COVID-19 or just being kind to a virus. However, for this COURIER reporter, 2021 will be marked as a year with many new beginnings.

When I was hired in March as a part-time employee for the Claremont newspaper, I officially started my career as a professional journalist and COURIER. So far I’ve been at work for nine months, so I hope I’m doing something right.

I grew up in many ways as a journalist here, including learning how to take somewhat printable photos, write accompanying captions for said photos, and write company profiles – something I didn’t. never approached even during my stay at the University of La Verne. Also in 2021, I added new titles to my CV including Business and General Mission Journalist and Calendar Guy (one of my favorites).

It’s like it was yesterday when Peter Weinberger, Steven Felschundneff and I sat at the round table in the COURIER office for a brief interview, yet it was February. We had a 20 minute interview and I remember them asking me what I could bring to Claremont and the news industry. Basically I told them I was good enough to write, film and edit videos and texts.

At the end of February, during my test phase, I was given my first COURIER story, a profile on the longtime lovebirds of Claremont, Lillian and Louis Sergio. I spoke with the Sergios on the phone as COVID-19 prevented us from meeting in person and having a seated conversation. They shared their love story which “spans 70 years of marriage, nine European countries, two college-educated girls, six dogs, 13 cats and over six decades of high school and college education.” The story was featured on the February special, Today’s Parent.

In March, the publisher asked me to focus on getting business back on track in Claremont. I wrote my first business profile, “A Relationship Based on the Love of Cheese,” which covered the survival of Marnie Clarke’s Cheese Cave to the pandemic. I also met Larry Grable that month, the executive director of the Independent Living Service Center.

In April, I realized how much COVID-19 had really changed people’s lives. In our April special, we featured the stories of two local dog groomers. On the one hand, the Claremont business of Sandra Piett Personal Preference Pet Resort and Spa, which was on the verge of closing during the pandemic. Opposite was Yolanda Torres’ mobile pet grooming service, Splish Splash, which saw a bright spot during the pandemic.

On May 2, I started my journey at the age of 23, but this story was never printed. I wrote a profile about Krista Elhai, a longtime drama teacher at Claremont High School, who was lowering the curtain on her 37-year educational career.

On May 22, the CHS women’s soccer team lost 1-0 to La Mirada high school in the semi-final match of the Division 2 CIF-Section Sud tournament.

On June 8, I covered two events on the same day. In the afternoon, Jean Scaduto Parafiorito was surrounded by friends and family at his 105th birthday party in Claremont, while in the evening, Ironbark Ciderworks hosted a poetry reading and concert to honor the month. pride.

On the morning of June 19, around 50 Claremonters showed up at Darlene Berg’s longest day event held at her gym, Endless Fitness. In the afternoon, a June 10 celebration took place outside the Stout House Brewery in Upland.

In July, I wrote one of my first wellness stories about the Sycamore Primary School Girl Scout troop helping to provide migrant children staying at Pomona Fairplex with essentials such as deodorant, soap. and school supplies.

I also felt like a kid again for an afternoon when I ventured out to Girl Scout Camp La Casita in Claremont on July 20th. A week later, I went from hyperactive kids to walking with the elderly in a Get Walking Claremont session.

On August 14, I covered the post-pandemic reopening of the Latino Art Museum in my hometown of Pomona. The event also celebrated the passing of the founder and former director of the museum, Graciela Nardi, a longtime resident of Claremont. On August 21, new freshmen and new students at Pitzer College moved into their dorms.

In September, I discovered the power of Facebook. Although I was canceled online due to a dog photo caption, I have witnessed how important Facebook is to our readers as the online platform allows them to interact directly with our readers. stories and our content. Without your constant effort for accuracy or general curiosity about the news, journalism would have been dead for generations, and this reporter would not have seen the error of his ways.

Also in September, Claremont welcomed a new veterinarian, Dr. Raymond Chae, founder and veterinarian of Peppertree Animal Hospital.

In October two of my favorite pieces ran. One story was about Claremont’s last fried chicken joint, Honeybird, while the second was about the discovery of fossils by Pomona College geology professor Robert Gaines.

The CHS college football team made history in November when they advanced to the CIF-SS Division 9 playoff semifinals. Although the Wolfpack lost to St. Margaret’s Episcopal School of San Juan Capistrano in the semifinals 13-23, head coach Shane Hile and the pack ended the 19-year-old curse of the CHS of not being able to pass the first round.

I think the photo of Claremonter Leia Valiente, one year old, was my best work of December. It also sums up the whole month for me as I spent most of the time crying under stress. However, I just met the face behind Miss America’s belts and it was a one-of-a-kind interview. Angelique Barnum had never had a history written about her before she was covered by the COURIER.

Although my career started just nine months ago, 2021 has brought me many ups and downs on and off the job. Much has changed in the 12 months to 2021.

When I think back to 2021, I back down to the person I was before, I know I am growing as a person. At least, that’s how I rate personal growth, similar to my journalistic growth. When I compare an article I wrote in college to the one I am writing today, I am mortified at how I constructed stories back then.

I hope 2022 will bring me and all of us more personal growth. I hope to cover more stories that are dear to the hearts of readers and to create new relationships between the many friendly faces of this city.

Happy New Year Claremont and let’s raise a pint until 2022.

– signed Andrew Alonzo, a child of Pomona who wants to make you proud

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