Revisiting the DT romance

I don’t know about anyone else, but I had a great time when I was on my college newspaper. Which is why I decided that I wouldn’t mind going to the Daily Titan’s 45th reunion tonight. It was not a bad night, although for $45 a pop, I’m really irked that I didn’t get coffee. I got a T-shirt and mug, but man – I’m all about the coffee. Arggh. Ah well, at least it all goes back to the school.

The DT has a long, distinguished history, and I’m proud to be a part of it. My role? I was executive editor (or editor in chief, whatever you prefer) on Sept. 11, back when I was still Darleene Barrientos. That was an intense day, and I think even my journal entry I wrote then doesn’t do justice to what I felt that day. However, we all remember the fun times – chair races, coffee runs, conferences and conventions, sweeping the now-defunct CIPA on-site competitions. Someone remarked that being in school and working for the DT was harder than working now, but I don’t think it was – when we were in school, working odd jobs and working for the DT, we were doing literally 16 hour days but we were so much more passionate about our stories and reporting then, it wasn’t work.

I’m at CBS now, and that might sound mighty impressive, but there’s plenty of DT alumni who have gone on to do even bigger, cooler things – Stuart Pfeifer, who made huge waves at the Orange County Register investigating and essentially winning the freedom for a man who was wrongly imprisoned (Pfeifer is now at the Los Angeles Times), Roy Rivenburg, also of the Los Angeles Times, Walt Barringer of the New York Times, Mayra Beltran at the Houston Chronicle (and I’m proud to say that I’ve had the privilege of working with her) and countless others at Reuters, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other news organizations I cannot recall right now. In fact, I learned this factoid tonight – Cal State Fullerton was the only university to have three alumni covering the Michael Jackson trial. And while I might not have a byline anymore in my new job, I’m happy with my decision to become an online news producer, but that’s a whole other post.

Trinity and I happened to meet when we were on the school paper. I was a news editor and he was an incoming freelancer when we met. I thought he was so hot….but I didn’t go there until I left the DT. Bit of trivia: for months after we got together, my friends referred to us as the DT Romance and I didn’t get it. I at first thought it meant Daily Titan romance, but they said it referred to “Darleene and Trinity.” Awwww…. Here’s my guy starting to hug Kim Pierceall, a business reporter for the Riverside Press-Enterprise. They worked together in the fall of 2002, when she was editor in chief and he was managing editor. She also worked with me as a reporter, when I was EIC.

These three dudes eating, from left to right, are Patrick Vuong, Vu Nguyen and Fermin Leal. Patrick was a reporter when I was editor in chief of the DT, and is now an editor at Law Office Computing; Vu was managing editor when I was a news editor (I think) and is now a beat reporter covering Little Saigon; and Fermin, who was editor in chief when I became a reporter at the Daily Titan, covers K-12 education. Both Vu and Fermin work at the Orange County Register.

The girl on the left, reaching for something I can’t see, is Elana Pruitt, who was a reporter when I was an editor (oh gosh, I can’t remember when) and editor of Tusk, which is in the foreground, when I was a staffer on that mag. She’s now an editor at PlasticSurgery.com.

This is Denise Smaldino and Caesar Contreras. It’s odd these two are in the picture together; I nearly didn’t recognize either of them at first glance. Denise, who was my managing editor and executive editor at different points, now works at the Press-Enterprise as a designer. Caeser always worked in sports and is a sports editor now at the Redlands Daily Facts.

The young girl to the left is Lori Anderson, and that’s her new husband Keith sitting to her left. Lori is, like, design-goddess – she used to work at Times Community News’ Orange County newspapers, and they keep trying to hire her back. She likes designing for AAA though. Lori launched the Daily Titan’s first, and most award-winning, website and made the jump to print design when Denise was managing editor. She also designed the logo for the 45th anniversary. Figures. She rocks.

This is David K. Li, who covers Los Angeles for the New York Post. I’d met him in the past, at an AAJA picnic, so I was basically saying hi to him and taking a picture of him for this blog. He is a Fullerton and Daily Titan alumnus, but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say when he attended….heheh.


There’s so many others I want to connect with, but maybe that won’t happen until the DT celebrates its 50th year five years from now. This is Jeff Brody, who was my adviser, talking to Elana. He told me two really cool things tonight – one, my adviser in the Asian American studies department (yes, like a geek, I graduated with two bachelor’s degrees) had a baby recently and is on paternity leave, and two, someone I went to high school with and who is also a Fullerton alum left the San Diego Union-Tribune to join the Peace Corps and is now blogging from Morocco. How cool is that?

One thought on “Revisiting the DT romance

  1. Darleene!
    Ha! It’s Claudia (now Hudson, formerly Herrera) I stumbled upon your site while trying to find contact info again for Walt Barringer. What a small world! I can’t believe I didn’t attend the DT gala – looks fun. I was only on DT staff for a year or so, but having been on the Tusk staff for so long, it feels the same. Anyways, I can’t believe you and Trinity are married now. That’s great! email me, woman!: claudiahlevi@hotmail.com

Comments are closed.