Reporter gets 15 minutes too

As a general rule, I teach students they should never insert themselves into a story. But when Abby Mathieu from my entrepreneurial journalism class turned in this story about The Warhol Museum using social media, it seemed too good to pass up. I encouraged her to have some fun with the situation — and she ended up getting her photo taken in the same place where Jay-Z sat for a photo that went viral. I hope you enjoy the juxtaposition.


By Abby Mathieu, Point Park News Service:

When hip-hop artist Jay-Z came through Pittsburgh last month, he took the time to check out the North Side’s Andy Warhol Museum and kicked back on a red velvet couch similar to one the pop art creator once owned.


Writer Abby Mathieu gets her 15 minutes of fame at the Warhol. Photo: Submitted

After being posted to Instagram, the photo went viral. More than 7,600 people “liked” it and Endia Howze, a singer in Minneapolis, chimed in with: “Get ur feet off the couch lol.”

In this Internet age of instant access and global reach, The Warhol Museum engages with, not only customers in its building, but also fans of the artist from around the world through social media, museum administrators said.

Andy Warhol is a figure known worldwide, so the museum’s social media accounts engage viewers living anywhere from New York City to Hong Kong, said Emily Meyer, the museum’s assistant communications manager. Because of this diverse audience, as well as the uniqueness of the brand itself, the museum chose to pave a new road for its own social media tactics. Read more.

This story appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as well.

Hackers aimed at Target through Sharpsburg firm

When I first started covering cybersecurity, I talked with a lot of top computer experts, intelligence officials, lawmakers with high-level security clearances. The people who know about computers and security seemed genuinely freaked out. Their biggest concern: This whole thing is evolving faster than we can plan for it.

All of that research came back to me this week when we found out that criminals seem to have attacked Target by going through one of its contractors in the Pittsburgh suburb of Sharpsburg. Here’s our take on how it most likely went down…



David Brumley, a computer security researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.

For computer hackers, it’s like playing the Powerball.

Criminals looking to steal credit card records from a major retailer such as Target will play as many angles as they can, blitzing the company’s contractors to find a way inside its systems, hacking experts told the Tribune-Review Friday.

“Really what attackers are doing is a game of numbers,” said David Brumley, a computer security researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. “If they compromise enough individual computers… one of those will have access to their target computer.” Read more.


My ongoing investigative series CyberRattling: The Next Threat has looked at the advantages that hackers have. They only have to find one way in, while companies trying to defend themselves must cover up every possible gap. A single coding mistake, in the wrong hands, can be an opening to be exploited. It’s easy to see why so many people are worried. 


My friend Paul

A fountain featuring Andy Warhol holding an umbrella with water pouring from its spokes stands in Slovakia where statues of Soviet leaders Lenin and Stalin once stood in the town. By Andrew Conte

A fountain showing Andy Warhol holding an umbrella with water pouring from its spokes stands in Slovakia where statues of Soviet leaders Lenin and Stalin once ruled. By Andrew Conte

Lived right, a reporter’s life can be filled with many interesting characters. One of the favorites from my life has died. Paul Warhola had a fascinating perspective that pulled from the experiences of his more famous brother, Andy Warhol, but that had its own unique bent.

Visiting his farm house in Smock, an hour south of Pittsburgh, I would hear tales, like the one about how Andy tried giving Paul artwork — but he instead had taken his brother’s cases of Crown Royal whiskey. I once asked about a poster tacked to the bathroom door, showing one of Andy’s paintings from his flowers series. Paul had owned the original but sold it. Now he had the poster — and some untold sum of money. Paul still had a series of Andy’s early drawings. He had been using them to block the windows in his garage but now wanted to sell them too. Continue reading