The men who will be editing The Cambrian now came to town recently. They came to help celebrate the new adventures that our former editor Steve Provost is going to have, while we mourned his being laid off from that post.
Dan Itel (his last name rhymes with beetle, he said) has taken on Steve’s editor duties. He’ll be assisted by Joe Tarica. Respectively, they are the local editor and senior editor at our big-sis paper, The Tribune, duties they’ll continue to perform.
Their presence in Cambria — at 5 p.m., aka absolute-deadline time for The Trib — was a tribute to how much Steve will be missed.
But having them here was also reassuring to The Cambrian’s columnists, freelancers and cartoonist who were honoring Steve. Meeting Dan and Joe helped ease the shock of the sudden editorial change.
I suspect you, our readers, might like to share some of that reassurance.
In his new responsibilities for The Cambrian, Dan will edit stories, letters and more. He’ll produce each issue, work with those freelancers and try to keep a leash on me (good luck with that one, boss!).
The 40-year- old, 6-foot-5 native of Portland, Oregon, has been in journalism his entire work life, and with newspapers for most of that.
In 2000, with his new bachelor’s degree in journalism from University of Oregon in hand, Dan became the crime/breaking news reporter at the Statesman Journal in Salem and then moved to sports.
The journalist also had notable stints in Washington, D.C.; Lafayette, Louisiana; and The Oregonian in Portland – including most recently prior to The Tribune a three-year timeout from newspapers as a contributing editor on Major League Soccer’s digital team.
Then, in April 2016, he learned that Sandy Duerr, then the editor of The Tribune in SLO, had a job opening that Dan might want to fill.
He said, “I fell in love with SLO as soon as my plane made its approach as I flew in for my interview here,” adding that Sandy told him later “I was the first person she ever offered the job on the spot.”
That’s a real compliment, I know. After all, I worked with Sandy during her entire 19 years at The Tribune. (By the way, she was also here to honor Steve.)
Dan became The Trib’s sports editor, but soon was promoted into an overall newsroom leadership role, overseeing news and sports … and now The Cambrian.
But what is Dan like?
He’ll make a good Cambrian.
The soft-spoken, easy-going fellow first learned to love the Central Coast while visiting his brother Dave in Santa Barbara in the early 2000s, something he did “whenever I could.”
Dan and girlfriend Aundrea met in SLO. Currently, they live with Gatsby, the Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie), in a Santa Margarita ranch guest house. They’re surrounded, he said, by “herds of horses, cows … and corgis (don’t ask).”
The couple loves “adventuring around this wonderful county, wine tasting, spending time at the beach, hiking, playing tennis,” he said. “I love jogging, hiking, outdoors, surfing (still learning), skiing (in my old life in Oregon), cooking and, of course, reading/writing.”
And our North Coast? He already has good memories here.
He first visited Moonstone Beach during the 2016 Chimney Fire, watching as dolphins jumped “through a literal fire sunset.” He loves sitting on the northern edge of San Simeon Point, “where the intensity of the ocean and shoreline take on more of an Oregon-like feel, reminding me” of home.
Dan went back to the Point on Jan. 1, 2017, with “some aged Gouda and a loaf of country-style bread I baked myself.” During a brief break in the rain, he welcomed in the New Year enveloped in “the energy of the ocean.”
The Cambrian’s readers may not often see the paper’s offsite editor “strolling down Main Street or grabbing a coffee at the French Corner Bakery – as nice as that sounds,” he said.
But he brings to his new assignment “great passion for community news and respect for The Cambrian” and its journalistic history.
He pledged that he and everyone else who helps out at The Tribune “will do our best to uphold those standards. My aim is to continue the vibrant dialogue Steve curated week in and week out,” guided by those of us who greeted him warmly May 9.
Welcome, Dan. Our little-but- mighty community will work hard with you and Joe to continue the honorable, 85-year tradition of community journalism here.
Cambria deserves nothing less.