Longtime news adviser to retire after 25 years at The Pitt News

People keep track of time in seconds and minutes. Harry Kloman has a better method. 

“I think, ‘Who graduated when?’ That’s when something happened,“ Kloman said. ”For 25 years, I’ve marked time by my Pitt News students.” 

After 25 years of service to The Pitt News, Harry Kloman will be retiring as The Pitt News’ news advisor. He will continue his teaching of journalism courses as an adjunct professor at the English department, just like he did in 1988, 10 years prior to advising The Pitt News. 

Before becoming the news adviser, Kloman served on the advisory board for The Pitt News for three years and taught a course called “The Pitt News,” where the writers and editors of the newspaper met to discuss their work. Kloman claims that Anthony Breznican, then the editor-in-chief of The Pitt News, encouraged him to apply for the position as news adviser at the close of the fall 1997 semester. Terry Lucas, who was the general manager at The Pitt News between 1986 and 2020, stated that Kloman was chosen for the job due to his extensive knowledge of The Pitt News as well as his experience in journalism. 

“He has a really strong knowledge of journalism principles and ethics, and you certainly want that in the news adviser,” Lucas said. 

Harry Kloman, Pitt News’ faculty adviser, grabs a piece of paper from a shelf in The Pitt News office. (Pamela Smith | Visual Editor)

Kloman was a news adviser to The Pitt News and saw major changes. In 1998, The Pitt News published five print editions each week, each one at least 20 pages long, and rarely published articles to its “rudimentary” website. The Pitt News now publishes the majority of its articles online, and only one print edition is produced each week. Besides changes to the newspaper’s medium, Kloman says he has seen changes in The Pitt News staff itself — some positive and some negative.

“This is a less confrontational generation,” Kloman said. “That makes working in the newsroom much more pleasant, when you’re not confronting one another, but part of the job of journalism is sometimes to confront people.”

One of Kloman’s important contributions to The Pitt News has been his daily critiques, which he writes for all Pitt News content — including news, sports, culture, opinion, blogs, visuals and more — published in print or online. Katelyn Plantz, who was news writer, copy editor. Chief co-copy She was editor-in-chief of The Pitt News 2008-09, and is now a senior reporter at CNN. She said that critiques were important to her when writing for The Pitt News. 

“I remember looking forward so much to reading his critiques, which I think he’s done every day that he’s been news adviser, every day there’s a publication,” Polantz said. “It’s just an amazing approach to, like, a hands-on teaching format for news writing, for journalism.”

Kloman made himself available to students to answer any questions regarding their articles before publication. Lucas stated that this involved working on the newspaper during his free time and responding to urgent calls for advice. 

“[He would] make a concerted effort… to take his vacation time when the paper wasn’t publishing,” Lucas said. “He was always willing to read over a story if an editor would call him at like, midnight before the 1 [a.m.] deadline to the printer.”

Harry Kloman, Pitt News’ faculty adviser, sits in his office. Visual Editor)| Visual Editor)

Kloman held students at The Pitt News to a standard that would allow them to perform as well as professional outlets and advocated for independence. Both of these things have made The Pitt News stronger, according Rebecca Johnson, a senior economics major who is also the current editor in chief. 

“He’s never shy about telling you there’s something you can improve… but he never underestimates students,” Johnson said. “He’s a really fierce ally of students and students’ freedom of speech, and he always pushes…for The Pitt News to be an independent student newspaper.”

The connection between Kloman and his students and colleagues extended beyond the doors of The Pitt News’ office. He continues to keep in touch with Pitt News alumni even after he graduates. Lucas was first introduced to Ethiopian food by Lucas. A book was written about it. 2010 He watched Lucas’s children grow up — one time, Lucas said, he even went to the pet store with them to pick out a pet hamster. He went to Polantz’s wedding and visits her in Washington, D.C. every summer. 

Polantz stated that Kloman is not only her mentor but also a friend. 

“We discuss Pitt, he tells me about the students, he tells me about the great things that Pitt News does, but we also debate journalism still to this day,” Polantz said. “He’s a really dear friend and I hope he doesn’t have less engagement with journalism now that he’s going to be retired because I really, I still need him in my life to talk about news and news writing.”

Kloman will hang on to several mementos from his time at The Pitt News, some of them gifts from his former students — a John Cougar Mellencamp CD, a decorative plate from Israel, a Color-Me-Mine vase inadvertently broken by a former editor during an April Fool’s prank and then glued back together. But that’s not all he will take with him when he leaves his office on the fourth floor of the WPU for the last time. 

“I feel so lucky to have been able to do things that I enjoy doing,” Kloman said. “That’s what I’ll take away, the pleasure of having enjoyed my work.”

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