Jerry Portwood ’99: Outright Success

Jerry Portwood '99Originally published in Carillon, Winter 2012

By Jodie Sexton Goff ’02

“When given a chance, take the risk. I would rather regret something I risked doing than regretting something I failed to do.” This life philosophy has led Jerry Portwood ’99 into a blossoming journalism career, most recently as managing editor of OUT magazine.

Prior to making his way to Oglethorpe, Jerry’s family lived throughout the U.S. and around the world as a result of his father’s Air Force service. The first in his family to attend college, Jerry put himself through entirely on his own. He dove right in and was an incredibly active student at Oglethorpe with the theatre, the Stormy Petrel newspaper, student government, University Singers, internships, and more. He graduated from OU with an English major and minors in theatre and French.

Following graduation, he spent two years working for OU’s admission office and completed his third minor, in writing, while also freelancing for various newspapers and websites. In 2001, Jerry was hired as a listings editor at Creative Loafing, which he describes as “the bottom rung job,” but he also began writing about any topic assigned to him: “food, theatre, film—you name it.”

While there, Jerry met his domestic partner of nearly 10 years, Patricio del Real, an architecture professor. When Patricio was offered a teaching position in Barcelona, Jerry went with him. In Spain Jerry worked on his personal writing, including short stories and a novel, and a few of the stories were published. After two years, the couple moved to New York City.

Then a rare opportunity came Jerry’s way. New York Press needed an editor immediately and Jerry was hired as the managing editor/arts editor and just two years later became editor-in-chief. Just last summer he moved on to become managing editor of OUT magazine.

“It’s already been an amazing opportunity… I’ve had some incredible experiences, meeting and interviewing some of my heroes and people I’ve studied and admired for years,” said Jerry. “I have always had an obsession for magazines and believe that they are capable of being great vehicles for storytelling and a beautiful, useful way of shaping a lifestyle.”

Jerry credits OU with helping to develop his confidence and giving him the freedom to explore all the facets of his “creative and intellectual self.” He learned how to be an analytical thinker by utilizing the pragmatic and intellectual mix offered by the professors. But, as Jerry admits, “I’ve also been damn lucky.”

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