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You never forget your first time

Working in the Orange County Register building is a ‘full-circle’ experience for me.

By Kimberly A. PorrazzoPublished: February 01, 2013

Photo by Luke Hodsdon
First times are, by their very nature, memorable moments. First love. First car. First job. Ask a writer where he or she was first published, and you’ll likely get a nostalgic recounting of what it was like to see that first byline in print. It is both exhilarating and validating.
It happened for me in early 1998 when, after submitting to a number of newspapers a personal essay on, of all things, baseball, I got a call from Anne Valdespino, an Orange County Register editor, to tell me they were going to run my story in the weekend edition. (Valdespino now writes the popular Eye On O.C. pages for the paper.) I was going to be published. And in the Register! I had no idea then how valuable that first single newspaper clip would be to me over the years.
A photocopy of the article that ran (online writing portfolios didn’t exist then) led to a position with a new magazine that was about to launch in the region: OC Family, the sister publication to OC METRO and part of the growing Churm Media portfolio. Then-executive editor Craig Reem (now director of public affairs and communications for the city of Irvine) saw my single Register clip and hired me as part of the OC Family editorial team that this June will celebrate 15 years as the county’s most-awarded family media brand. After contributing to OC METRO magazine, I was named editor and then worked closely with owner and publisher Steve Churm and CFO Brian O’Neill to help grow the 22-year-old media company into a regional player. In December, Churm Media was acquired by Freedom Communications, and the Churm brands are now a part of the Register. Talk about “full circle.”
The magazine you are holding represents another first. It is the first issue of OC METRO produced entirely in our new space here at 625 N. Grand Ave., home of the Orange County Register. Everything is bigger here. The 30-member Churm team now works alongside some 900 others in this five-story building. The newsroom on the third floor is expansive. And so is the vision for the future of this storied daily paper and its publications, now including OC METRO. With the powerful resources of Freedom Communications, we’re poised to bring the most influential and inspiring business and community leaders into our pages with even more in-depth articles and more compelling imagery.
The weight of the Register brand helped launch my journalism career, and now, 15 years later and with the strength of the century-old newspaper behind it, OC METRO is about to launch into its next incarnation.