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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

September 12, 2014 at 6:35 AM

About Blanca Torres, new editorial board member and columnist

Blanca Torres

Blanca Torres (Photo by Kate Riley / Seattle Times)

Hello, readers! I’m joining the Times as an editorial writer and columnist after nine years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Disclaimer: I’m not a Niners fan and even wrote a column about my dual love of San Francisco and Seattle. With more than a decade of experience as a business reporter, I’m shifting gears toward editorial and opinion writing and am looking forward to questioning, agitating and exposing the region’s top issues, events and people.

My new job is a homecoming of sorts for me. I loved living in the Bay Area and wasn’t chased away by the high cost of living, but chose to return to the Pacific Northwest. I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities and left home to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where I was something of an anomaly. Not only did Vanderbilt attract few students from Washington, but people were shocked to find out a Mexican-American could come from a state other than Texas or California.

My love affair with journalism sprouted when I created a school newspaper when I was in middle school and few years later, my hometown paper, the Tri-City Herald brought me on as a news clerk when I was a sophomore in high school. My job was to write up briefs and digest columns that reporters were too busy to do, but I ended up also writing articles – that’s when I knew newspaper journalism was it for me. My career has taken me to a variety of places such as Detroit, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Texas, and Baltimore.

Ten years ago, I came to the Seattle Times as an intern on the business desk for six months covering mostly careers, workplace issues, small business, and retail. Next, I covered workplace and general business stories for the Baltimore Sun. The East Coast is lovely, but not the place for me, so I headed to the Bay Area where I wrote about retail and consumer issues for three years for the Contra Costa Times, a suburban daily newspaper, and then covered real estate for six years for the San Francisco Business Times, a weekly publication with a daily online audience.

I went from writing about foreclosures and half-built condo projects as the Great Recession took hold to writing about a building boom of new offices, apartments, houses and state-of-the-art warehouses coming out of the ground and companies leasing space for thousands of new employees as the Bay Area’s economy – and real estate prices – roared back to life. I gravitated toward business writing because I’m fascinated by how money and the economy shape society and people’s individual lives and decisions. What I loved most about covering real estate was writing about how communities grow, change and adapt to the economy and broader discussions about sustainability and how to accommodate future population growth.

I became a journalist because I love writing, asking questions and telling stories. I strive to tell the untold story and give readers information no one else has or can that is relevant to their lives. Working as a journalist is a privilege and an honor to engage with readers. As an editorial writer, my goal is to take that a step further and write about what the news means, why readers should care and how to make sense of what happens. I plan to carefully examine how our society could be better and hold people and organizations accountable. My intention is not to tell readers what to think, believe or feel — you can make those decisions for yourselves ­— but instead to serve as guide to better understanding, discussions and change. What good are our words if they don’t inform or compel anyone to take action?

My colleagues in San Francisco often joked that Seattle was my second home or that I commuted to the Bay Area from here since I visited so often and talked about the Emerald City so much, but now I can actually call Seattle my home. It’s the first time since high school that I’ve lived in the same city as my older brother and sister. This return to Seattle is different in that I bring with me California’s best export: my husband Ramon whom I married just last month. Much of life is changing, but as I hope my writing will demonstrate to you, I stay on the hunt for new experiences, perspectives and challenges. What’s next, Seattle?

Comments | Topics: Pasco, san francisco, Seattle Times editorial board

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