Prognosis for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Hope for a cure

I ran into these guild members protesting John Robinson Block and the Post-Gazette outside of the Omni William Penn Hotel. The one on the left is my former graduate assistant, Ashley Murray.

Publisher John Robinson Block stopped short of saying the Post-Gazette is on life support, but he did compare the newspaper to a sick patient waiting for a cure. My latest NEXTpittsburgh column looks at the publisher’s comments for the present and future: https://www.nextpittsburgh.com/latest-news/on-media-like-a-sick-patient-post-gazette-holding-out-for-a-cure-publisher-says/.

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The storytellers’ story

This has been a difficult week for all of Pittsburgh. For my journalism friends, it has been especially challenging. Most of them have been working long hours since Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. They are exhausted and emotionally shaken. I tried to use the media column this week to tell their story:

KDKA-TV reporter Andy Sheehan was doing live reports at the corner of Northumberland Street and Shady Avenue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday when Jeff Cohen from the Smallman Street Deli walked up with a corned beef sandwich.

Napoli’s sent over pizzas, and local residents brought cups of coffee and bottles of water for Sheehan and cameraman Fred Williams. Others let them come inside their homes to use the bathroom.

In the middle of a horrific tragedy — a gunman’s killing of 11 people and injuring of six others inside the Tree of Life Synagogue — Sheehan also found himself surrounded by his community. He lives just 300 yards from the synagogue.

“I know that neighborhood, where I was,” Sheehan told me later this week. “I know the congregation. I catch my bus in the morning right across from Tree of Life. I know the lay of the land, and I know the people who go there.” Read more…

Caught on camera: My conversation with James O’Keefe

James O’Keefe answering a question at the National First Amendment Conference. Photo courtesy of Duquesne University.

James O’Keefe? The name didn’t mean much to me a month ago. Now I know him well for his gotcha-style, undercover exposes. We sat down at the National First Amendment Conference at Duquesne University this week. My take…

If you like the column, please share.

Salena Zito, national politics writer, caught between James and me. Photo courtesy of Duquesne University.

The mixed-up politics of Pittsburgh’s newspapers

Perhaps you have wondered, What is up with the politics at Pittsburgh’s newspapers? My latest column seeks to shed some light. Plus, an exclusive interview with the Trib’s new community engagement editor.

It used to seem so black and white.

Pittsburghers counted on the Post-Gazette for left-leaning perspectives, while the Tribune-Review took up positions on the right.

In the supercharged political climate of our times, and with the midterm elections next month, it often seems the newspapers have flip-flopped positions. Families that once considered themselves aligned with one publication or the other suddenly find themselves bewildered and frustrated by the marked change in tone. Read more…

 

Honored to have my column in the Courier

In truly one of the highlights of my career, The New Pittsburgh Courier asked me to write a short column about Bill Nunn Jr. and why I wrote about him in The Color of Sundays. It’s in this week’s edition. We’re excited to see Nunn get inducted this weekend into the Steelers’ Hall of Honor.

 

Copy, paste, theft in the ‘fake news’ age

Martha Rial, the freelance photographer who won a Pulitzer Prize with the Post-Gazette, mentioned to me recently that someone had taken one of her most famous photos – again. That tip led to this column about what it means to own an image in the digital age. When the military in Myanmar used and misappropriated Martha’s photo for a propaganda campaign this summer, something truly surprising happened… You can find the full story at NEXTpittsburgh.

Rwandan Hutu refugees with as many possesions as they can carry trudge along the tarmac near Benaco Junction after being turned back by Tanzania soldiers after they tried to flee deeper into Tanzania. Several of the refugees said they would walk all thw way to Kenya or Malawi just so they could avoid returning to Rwanda. PG Photo by Martha Rial Dec. 1996

 

Long live the newspaper!

The clock is ticking on printed newspapers in Pittsburgh – but what will that actually mean for journalists and, more importantly, for readers? My latest NEXTpittsburgh column has dropped with some perspective – both historical and contemporary. If you like it, please take a moment to share it and/or write to me at PittsburghPublicEditor@gmail.com.