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


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

The Pitt News faculty adviser Harry Kloman sits in The Pitt News office reading a paper from 1997.

By Alexandra Ross, Senior Staff Writer

Most people keep track of time in seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months or years. Harry Kloman has a different 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.” 

Harry Kloman will retire as the news adviser for The Pitt News this month, after 25 years at the newspaper. He will continue teaching journalism courses as an adjunct professor in the English department, as he has done since 1988, 10 years before he started 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. When the news adviser position opened up at the end of the fall 1997 semester, Kloman says then-editor-in-chief Anthony Breznican encouraged him to apply. Terry Lucas, the general manager of The Pitt News from 1986 to 2020, said he chose Kloman for the job because of his knowledge of The Pitt News and experience working in journalism. 

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

The Pitt News faculty adviser Harry Kloman reaches for a paper off of a shelf in The Pitt News office. (Pamela Smith | Visual Editor)

Kloman saw The Pitt News undergo major changes in his time as its news adviser. 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. Now, in 2022, The Pitt News publishes most of its articles online and produces just one short print edition 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 Polantz, who served as news writer, copy editor, co-copy chief and editor-in-chief for The Pitt News in 2008-09 and now works as a senior reporter for CNN, said the critiques were very important to her when she wrote 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 also made himself as available as possible to students with questions about their articles before publication. According to Lucas, this meant working during his time off around the newspaper and responding to last-minute 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.”

The Pitt News faculty adviser Harry Kloman sits in his office. (Pamela Smith | Visual Editor)

Kloman held students at The Pitt News to the standard that they could do just as well as any professional outlet and advocated for their independence, two things that have made the paper stronger, according to Rebecca Johnson, a senior economics and political science major and the current editor-in-chief of the newspaper. 

“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 keeps up with Pitt News alumni after graduation. He introduced Lucas to Ethiopian cuisine, which he wrote a book about in 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 said she considers Kloman as not only a 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.”