Friday, June 17, 2022

An Interview with Preston Turegano, Author of "The Associated Preston"

Preston Turegano is a retired newspaper journalist, having previously written with The San Diego Union-Tribune, referred to as "U-T." Now an author, his memoir “The Associated Preston” details gossip of many groups in San Diego, including, but not limited to, military officials, journalists, and politicians. “The Associated Preston” is published and available for sale on Amazon or through the SDSU Press website.

This interview was conducted in June of 2022 over email by Toki Lee, editorial intern and marketing associate of SDSU Press.

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SDSU Press: Please introduce yourself and your upcoming book in as many or few words as you'd like.

Preston: Preston Turegano (Tu-ri-gano), retired newspaper journalist. My memoir of my 50-year writing career begins with four years as a U.S. Navy journalist, including the final year of a four-year enlistment serving in Vietnam during the American war there. I wrote and occasionally edited The Jackstaff News, a  biweekly newspaper for Naval forces throughout South Vietnam. After receiving a honorable discharge, I worked for the San Diego (California) Union-Tribune Publishing Co., first as an editorial assistant followed by a general assignment reporter for the Evening Tribune (later The Tribune). 

In 1992, The Tribune merged with The San Diego Union  to become The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1992. For the next 14 years, I was an arts and entertainment reporter/critic/columnist until retirement in 2006.  During my entire U-T employment, I collected documents, bulletin board memos, and copies of stories that never saw the light of day. Eventually, I had eight boxes of items in moving boxes I kept at home because I told myself for years, “Someday I am going to write about me and the U-T.”  

In retirement, I was a freelance writer for local publications for about a year. From the summer of 2007 until the summer of 2009, I was a public relations manager for a music arts company. My position — as a press release writer and company public information source — was eliminated as part of budget cuts imposed in the wake of the 2008-‘09 nationwide economic downturn. Between 2004 and 2012, I was an on again/off again script writer for a social organization in my native San Antonio, Texas.  After my 2012 work for The Order of the Alamo that every April produces the coronation of its queen, I turned to my memoir in earnest/ full-time.
Preston Turegano as the cover of the January 13, 1994 issue of San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times.

SDSU Press: What was it like writing this book compared to your previous work in journalism and news? Did you have to adapt your style?

Preston: Writing a memoir requires time and patience.  Sometimes, recollections occur in the middle of the night, so you wake up and dash to the desktop PC and write. My journalistic skill was that of a reporter. “Writers” waxed poetically in their newspaper prose.  I was entrenched into facts. The most nagging, frustrating, part was encountering fellow retirees who did not want to talk about anything that had happened in the past.  I refer to them as “spineless bitches” in my mem.

SDSU Press: Gossip often has a negative connotation. Did you have any hesitancy in moving forward with that word, or did you always know you wanted to use it?

Preston: Many news stories are the result of tidbits (news tips) of information; i.e. gossip whispered into your ear or written down on a piece of paper.  As I say in my mem, often gossip is something that has occurred or is going to occur that an individual or individuals don’t want others to know. A secret that should be exposed. At the U-T, my nicknames were “Gossip Central” and “The Associated Preston,” the latter a mocking take off of the Associated Press. Becoming a gossip requires you to own the name or title. A “So, what?” attitude to detractors. Some people love gossips or are gossips themselves, but won’t admit it.

SDSU Press: Did you find any unique challenges in writing what is, essentially, a memoir? What parts were you certain you wanted to keep in? What parts were you hesitant about?

Preston: “The Associated Preston” is a “memoir of betrayal, war, reporters, gatekeepers, cynics, sex addicts, sycophants, dirty laundry, celebrities, politicians, Kremlinologists, arts insiders, social elitists and more, as told by a gossipy, sort-of-retired openly-gay journalist.” I said that very early on; those words are going to be on the book cover.  Of course, many people I write about are now dead, so there’s no fear libeling them. It’s some of the still living I wonder about. I mean, I am entitled to my opinion about them and what some did to others, and I say that often in the narrative. I think the book could be marketed to journalists, journalism students, Vietnam veterans, people who work in arts, Jewish people, members of the LGBTQ+ community, certain Texans, and, of course, people who love gossip.

SDSU Press: Is there anything specific you want to say about your book that you haven't said yet? Any closing remarks?

Preston: In closing, I feel (I know, TV”s “Judge Judy” doesn’t care about how litigants before her “feel”) I have written something no one else would dare write. My memoir is part historical, part biographical, and part entertaining/amusing, and overall outrageous.  If readers don’t talk (GOSSIP) about it, trash it, or praise it, then I have failed, huh?  Lastly, I did not write it to make money. I wrote it because I had a story—or two — to tell. 

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Purchase "The Associated Preston" now through Amazon!