NW Connections: Sharing stories across generations

By Natalie Berg, Web Content Editor of The Pioneer

One of my big projects this summer was to set up the Northwest News Network, a collaborative news-sharing project among college papers throughout the northwest. This was an interesting task- it involved a lot of creeping on college news sites, trying to figure out who to contact at each school and blindly sending messages via email, Facebook and even twitter to people I’ve never met. But it’s been a highly rewarding experience, especially because of all the new connections I’ve made. Now that I’ve gotten past the stalker-ish part, I’m in frequent contact with people at various schools across the northwest: Whitworth University, Pacific Lutheran University, George Fox University, Willamette University and Walla Walla University.

This project has provided a great opportunity to do some research as well. My dad went to PLU in the 1970s, and over the years he’s mentioned that he got to interview The Beach Boys when they gave a concert at the school. I’ve always thought this was awesome, but it didn’t occur to me until I began working with people who work for The Mooring Mast (PLU’s paper) that the interview is probably still out there.

Indeed, Pacific Lutheran University has some really great archives; you can find a scanned version of every single Mooring Mast issue ever printed. Once I discovered this, a quick Google search gave me the date that The Beach Boys played at PLU, so all I had to do was find the corresponding issue. The archivists at the PLU library graciously took the time to scan very good quality versions of the story and send them to me. Here they are:

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They also sent me a copy of my dad’s review of the concert,

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and that week’s edition of his music column (featuring a really funny, very retro headshot.)

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I didn’t even know that he wrote his own weekly music column, and I was surprised to learn that he’d been the Mast‘s Arts Editor.

What was most surprising, however, was how easily accessible all of this information was. All of this research (and by that I mean the fact that this investigation required such minimal work) has given me a lot of perspective. Once I decided I wanted to find my dad’s interview with The Beach Boys, I tracked it down in a matter of minutes. Thanks to the power of email and scanners, it was a painless process. What’s more, I can go back and read every one of my dad’s columns. If I wanted to, I could read every single story The Mooring Mast has printed since it was first published in 1924. (And I thought the creepy part of my job was over once I’d established a few connections!)

When my dad interviewed The Beach Boys, he couldn’t possibly have thought that his daughter would be able to track down his story of her own volition forty years later; such a thing would have been absolutely inconceivable. So much has changed over just one generation. Who knows where technology will take us next? Whatever happens, it’s nice (and perhaps a little bizarre) to know that fifty years from now this story will probably still be out there.

I would like to extend a huge “thank you” to Kerstin Ringdahl and Chelsea Hebert at the PLU library for generously scanning copies of these stories that are of a much higher quality than the originals I found online.

 

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