Ed Guzman made a surprise exit from the Seattle Times in 2017 but kept tabs on the industry by working with SJI.
May 26, 2022

After taking a timeout from journalism, Guzman makes a return at Andscape

Varun Shankar

Ed Guzman sat in The Seattle Times’ break room in 2017 and stared out the ceiling-to-floor window. He braced himself as he gazed, preparing for any reaction that came his way.

He’d just submitted his two-week notice, sliding the envelope with his letter of resignation across his supervisor’s desk. Guzman was leaving the one career he’d ever known, as a variety of factors pushed him away from the industry he’d wanted to work in since middle school.

He didn’t know if he’d ever return to journalism. But after four years of applying his skills to other fields, the Portland, Ore., resident has returned as the deputy editor for sports at Andscape.

“I never imagined that would happen,” Guzman said about leaving journalism. “I feel like you build toward something for your … whole life … to then successfully go into it and do it for a long time and suddenly get to the point where you’re like, ‘I’m really going to pivot out;’ it was definitely surprising.”

In a 2022 interview with Poynter, he cited economic stability, a desire to spend more time with family and the work environment as his reasons for leaving the Seattle Times.

After graduating from Stanford, Guzman worked in sports at the New York Times and Washington Post for more than a decade. He came to The Seattle Times in 2013 and remained assistant sports editor for four years.

For the longest time, Guzman’s goal was to lead a department as a sports editor. He believed he’d put in the time.

“You put in all the time and effort, and then it didn't happen. And so you sort of reflect on that,” he said.

Ryan Clark, the Seattle Kraken reporter for The Athletic, met Guzman through a mutual friend and became closer to him when Clark moved nearby to work for the Tacoma News Tribune. He said Guzman’s story was one that forced every journalist, particularly ones of color,  to ask a question.

“Are you better off staying in this industry or are you better off leaving?” Clark said. “You start asking yourself these questions of what more do you have to do, and in Ed’s case … he’s excelled at every level … it felt like he was being limited in what he could do … how could you not feel that level of frustration?”

Guzman mentioned Bill Walsh, the three-time Super Bowl champion coach of the San Francisco 49ers, as someone who didn’t achieve his career goal until later in life. Walsh became a head coach at 47 years old after being passed over for jobs while working as an assistant in Cincinnati.

“It felt very analogous for me,” Guzman said. He stumbled across a documentary about Walsh and found a clip of someone reading an excerpt from the coach’s book: “Finding the Winning Edge.”

“Many people erroneously think, ‘I have only one chance to succeed,’ in their life’s work. And if they miss that chance they are doomed to failure. In fact, most people have several opportunities to succeed.”

That would be true for Guzman. He left journalism and spent two and a half years running communications for a Seattle nonprofit. He then moved to Portland and began working for the nearby city of Hillsboro.

On his first day, Guzman arrived at his office, decorated his cubicle, met with HR and did the normal first-day activities. That afternoon, he received an email from the city manager saying that everyone would be working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That kicked off a whirlwind 20-month stretch when Guzman worked on the City's pandemic communications, the Black Lives Matter protests and forest fires but stepped foot in the office just 14 times. He got to use his knowledge of Spanish as well, translating information for a city that’s more than 20% Hispanic or Latino.

“I think my parents probably took the most pride,” Guzman said. “That's the one thing we gave you. You went and got all this education; you learned your trade, your skills, but the Spanish — that's us, like we're claiming credit for that.’”

In November of 2021, Guzman got his second chance in journalism.

In the interim, he had assisted the Sports Journalism Institute in selecting candidates. That also helped him keep tabs on the industry. When an opportunity to work at Andscape arose, he immediately knew he had to take it.

“I was drawn to the quality of the work, the ambition, the vision of the work,” Guzman said about Andscape, formerly called the Undefeated at  ESPN. “I appreciated that it was a much more thoughtful, bigger-picture approach.”

A month before starting at Andscape, Guzman posted the clip of Walsh’s documentary on his Instagram.

“Moral of his story: Keep grinding, keep chopping wood, keep doing your thing till you get where you want to be,” Guzman captioned the post.

He kept grinding and found himself where he wanted to be — leading a team. It’s a role he’s well-suited for. Iliana Romero, Guzman’s friend and the sports editor at The Los Angeles Times, said he will bring a wealth of skills to Andscape as an editor.

“He really is eager to see his team win, he’s eager to see them succeed and be the best versions of themselves,” Romero said. “From the people that I know that work there and the work that I’ve read that he’s been a part of editing, it’s been really good to see.”

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