While I know it is sad to say goodbye to the wonderful Stacie Chan, who launched this site two years ago and has guided it into becoming the amazing community hub and news outlet it is today, I am very excited to introduce myself as your new editor for Redwood City-Woodside Patch.
My name is Jennifer van der Kleut. I was born in this wonderful city of Redwood City and grew up on Vera Avenue. Some of my favorite memories are of walking with my parents to school every morning at Hawes Elementary.
Eventually I moved down to the south bay, where I studied Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University. However, I still spent a lot of time in Redwood City - in fact, if any of you remember a local band by the name of Sweet Duration, I was the lead singer, and we used to play at least one night a week at a bar called The Loading Zone on Broadway (which has since become the very cool Living Room).
After college, I dove into my journalism career. I spent a few years working for Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, writing features and arts and entertainment pieces for the likes of the Los Gatos Weekly Times and the Saratoga News. During that time, in 2006, I married my husband, Alex van der Kleut, an aerospace engineer for Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale.
When I was laid off from my job at the newspaper during a corporate buy-out, I went on to be a contributing editor for South Bay Accent magazine for a while, and my husband and I welcomed our first son, Connor, in September of 2007.
Our second son, Oliver (we call him "Ollie") came along in May of 2010, and at that point, I took a little time off from my career.
However, in the fall of 2010, I started really itching to get back into journalism, and started searching for freelance work online. That's when I discovered Patch.
Patch, which launched its first few sites on the East Coast in 2009, was just starting to sweep into the Bay Area in the fall of 2010. There were many listings online looking for freelancers and full-time editors in the Bay Area, and I was very excited. Having always worked in print, I was thrilled at the idea of getting to expand my skills into online news.
My first freelance job was covering education and local events for Palo Alto Patch in October of 2010. I developed a bit of a reputation as a good writer and reliable hire, and soon my name was all over Patch in the Bay Area, as I started writing for other sites in Scotts Valley, Los Altos, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Milpitas, and even Redwood City, where I wrote many business features like the "Sprouts and Shutters" column and covered local events for Stacie Chan.
In early 2012 I was hired on as a full-time editor for Patch, first editing Milpitas Patch and then moving back up to the Peninsula. I've been contributing to Foster City Patch and San Mateo Patch for the past few months, and now I'm thrilled to be taking over the Redwood City-Woodside site. My new - and original - home!
What do I love about Redwood City? It has the perfect mix of everything I love to cover as a journalist - people who really care about the issues, a strong schools system with involved parents and families, and also, people who really love the arts (as I do!) and love to have fun. The City of Redwood City is unparalleled in my opinion, as far as what it does for the community with events like Music on the Square, Art on the Square and so many other fabulous community events. You'll definitely be seeing me at many of them, sometimes with my two boys in tow.
Please contact me anytime! I'd love to hear what's on your mind, your news tips and story ideas, and to hear how you used to work with Stacie when she was editor, because I want to continue that.
Jennifer van der Kleut
Editor, Redwood City-Woodside Patch
E-Mail (always best!): email@example.com
Thanks to those of you I have already met and who have welcomed me, and to the rest of you, I really look forward to meeting you sometime soon!