Thursday, March 23Welcome

Meet Pam Klagen, Union-Tribune’s New Arts & Entertainment Editor

Longtime Union-Tribune critic and writer Pam Kragen has been named the new Arts & Entertainment editor, and Michael James Rocha has assumed his previous role as the paper’s digital creative director.

Announcing her promotion, Union-Tribune editor and publisher Jeff Wright said: A long-time Vista resident, she has a background as a reporter, copy her editor, business her editor, and assistant her city her editor. ”

At UT, Pam writes about theater, opera, and food, and has been the paper’s theater critic and food critic for several years. She is also one of the paper’s most featured writers. In addition, she works as an editor for The Subway on weekends and pops in to write her bulletins.She has time to answer a few questions about her passion for journalism, especially art. and answered.

Q: When did you realize that you love art, especially theater?

A: As a teenager in San Diego in the early 1970s, I discovered my love for opera, ballet, and symphony concerts through my school’s art education program. He then discovered a deep passion for theater in his high school drama club, but quickly realized that he was much happier being in the audience than being on stage because of his stage fright.

Q: Where did you go to college and what was your degree?

A: I attended San Diego State University and tested majors in geography and oceanography, but math and physics weren’t good enough to succeed in either career. Did. Because I read the San Diego Union from cover to cover every morning and got high grades in English and Literature. After joining the staff of his Aztec newspaper in 1982, the college Daily quickly realized that he had found his vocation as a journalist and his tribe.

Q: When did you realize you could do two things you love: journalism and art?

A: When Bill Farke, the 75-year-old arts critic for the paper, decided to train a replacement so he could retire, I had had a career in news and business journalism for at least a decade at the former North County Times in Escondido. I was. He chose me because we liked talking about theater and art. Within a few years, I had become not only a theater and food critic for a newspaper, but also an arts and entertainment editor.

Pam Klagen

Q: What has been one of the most glaring changes you’ve seen in the art landscape in recent years?

A: Arts organizations today are fighting to recover from pandemic-related shutdowns and sluggish ticket sales. They are also working hard to address the historic imbalance in diverse and inclusive hiring and programming.

Q: My new position will give me the opportunity to drive coverage in a region of arts and culture. What are you most looking forward to in this new role?

A: We are thrilled to continue the legacy of Michael Rocha.For the past two years, UT’s art section has been ranked #1 nationally by the Society for Features Journalism. We’ll continue to delve deeper into art, but we also have some ideas for expanding the scope of food and doing more photo essays about artists at work. I will introduce more of their works.

Q: You are known in the newsroom as one of the most productive writers. How are you able to write so many stories and write them so fast?

A: It’s a skill I honed at The North County Times, which experienced waves of layoffs until it was sold in 2012 and absorbed by the San Diego Union-Tribune. In addition to his role as editor, his 8-12 stories per week. Before I start typing, I try to write the first paragraph of each story in my head. I usually come up with ideas on the way home from an interview or a play. Once you’ve typed in the first paragraph or two, the rest flows naturally from your head down, rarely with major rewrites. Long human interest features and art cover stories take about 3-4 hours to write. Art preview and review takes about an hour. In his 40 years as a professional journalist, it is estimated that he has written about 20,000 articles.

Q: Will your signature line continue to appear in print and online?

A: Yes! Writing remains my number one love, so while other writers and contributors carry the burden of art and entertainment, I continue to serve as the paper’s chief dining and theater critic. fulfill. You just have the chance to pick and choose. One of the things I miss most is writing human news stories about the fascinating people of San Diego. But don’t be surprised if you see the occasional news feature below my byline. I have a few loose story threads that I hope to complete in the next few months.

Q: What project or story ideas are you cooking for art?

A: I’m putting the finishing touches on the cover story for Friday’s issue of Night & Day about the most anticipated new restaurant opening in San Diego County in 2023. And this year there are at least 40 new spots on the list.

Pam Kragen can be reached at

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