Post-print news age

dt-common-streams-streamserverIt’s time to fully embrace the post-print news age. Newspapers no longer need to be ink-on-paper to be relevant – and in fact, they might be more dynamic in a digital format. This was a revelation to me when I started reading word content (we need a better way of saying this) on my iPad. Doubt it? Just check out the National Geographic app.

Any way, that’s the topic of my latest column. Plus my wife doesn’t mind that we no longer have ink smudges on all the walls of our home.

I love getting ink on my fingers and then leaving smudges on the walls of my house. Sunday mornings are perfect with a pile of newspapers at the breakfast table. And it’s reassuring even to hear plastic-bagged newspapers hitting the driveway in the early morning on a cool night with the windows open.

But if these are the confessions of a print newsman, I must admit that I also love reading the news on my iPad too. News media experts have predicted a shift to digital news delivery for decades. Some thought the paper would come into homes as a daily fax and others imagined flexible digital paper that updates automatically.

For the moment, it has turned out to be mobile-first devices, such as tablets and phones, that have replaced newsprint for growing numbers of readers.

Even so, most people — even a vast majority of young ones — want the news… Read more.


The Color of Sundays: Draft day at Three Rivers Stadium

Presales of The Color of Sundays have started, in advance of the Oct. 1 publication date. We are working to set up several signings and lecture events around Western Pennsylvania. Details to come. Soon, I think.


This is one of my favorite photos from researching the book. It’s a rare shot from The Pittsburgh Steelers archives. From the draft room at Three Rivers Stadium. Bill Nunn Jr, on the left. Dick Haley, director of player personnel (and father of Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley). V. Tim Rooney, a nephew of the chief, standing. And Art Rooney Jr., team vice president.

Here’s another shot. The original wooden draft tables are still in use at Steelers headquarters on the South Side. And, yes, they are pockmarked with burns from cigarettes and cigars. Where could that have come from?




Hackers? Yes. But what color hat?

PBS NewsHour re-aired a short documentary on hackers that draws on the stories from our Cyber Rattling series. Coresondent Rick Karr spent some time with me at the Trib and focused on the work CMU does to train hackers. Whether they go on to wear a white hat or black, well…


ANDREW CONTE:  It’s often the people who as young high school students they started goofin’ around with– electronics or computers, and they started figuring out, you know, how to do simple attacks, how to get inside of– machines.

RICK KARR: Andrew Conte is an investigative reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who’s written dozens of articles about hackers and cybersecurity.

ANDREW CONTE : And at some point they make the decision.  You know, “Am I going to be– a good hacker or a bad hacker? And there’s not that much difference between them in terms of– their abilities.  Huge difference in terms of their motivations.

Watch the entire video here. And check out our Cyber Rattling series by clicking here.

Talk to strangers

Sometimes the best stories come from doing what your mother always told you not to do: Talking to strangers. PPNS reporter Joel Anderson and I were walking through Pittsburgh’s South Side this fall when we stopped to talk with a man picking up litter. Joel turned it into this article about one man’s Sisyphean obsession with cleaning up his neighborhood — and how others are helping out.


Dressed in his Sunday best of khakis, a button-down shirt and a Habitat for Humanity hat, Adam Christian walks the streets of the South Side carrying a white bucket, red broom and dust-pan. Christian is doing his best to keep his neighborhood clean.

“I’m looking for any kind of honest work,” he said. “I have some spare time, so I’ve been pitching in and cleaning litter around the house, literally around the house – not in the house.”

For the residents of South Side, trash is an everyday problem. As soon as they make headway cleaning up the barrage of garbage, party crowds of 20,000 to 30,000 non-residents visit the area’s amenities, messing it all up again.

“I love the South Side,” Christian said. “I think it’s the greatest place I’ve ever lived. That’s why I try to help keep it clean.”

To read the rest of the story, click here.

A story that sings — or stings?

A few times in my teaching career I have come across a student’s story that sings to me. This is one of those times. I’m in love with this story by Akasha Chamberlain of the Point Park News Service, and I don’t care who knows it. Let me know whether you agree…

The secret life of a beekeeper

Beekeeper Mitch Markovich puts on his protective gear. Photo: Submitted.

Beekeeper Mitch Markovich puts on his protective gear. Photo: Submitted.

It was the 1970s in Aliquippa, and Mitch Markovich liked his Honda motorcycle and the two neighbor girls down the street, but he didn’t like bees.

The tiny black-and-yellow honey-makers scared him, but the Rogish sisters loved honey about as much as they liked riding on Markovich’s motorcycle, which is to say, quite a lot.

“’Well, if you’re going to marry any of my daughters, they like to eat honey; you’re going to have to keep bees,’” Markovich recalled the words of the girls’ father, Miles Rogish.

Begrudgingly, Markovich agreed to catch bees with the old well-digger the next time there was a swarm — thinking the old man would forget.

He didn’t.

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

Brewer focuses on fresh, local

Steve Sloan serves patrons samples and sells growlers of concoctions such as “Polish Hill Pils” and “Jacked Up O Lantern Stout.” Photo: Lauren Dantella | Point Park News Service

Steve Sloan serves patrons samples and sells growlers of concoctions such as “Polish Hill Pils” and “Jacked Up O Lantern Stout.” Photo: Lauren Dantella | Point Park News Service

Pumpkin spice beers, the hoppiest IPAs and other creative concoctions are outdoing one another as the latest fad in the still-growing craft beer industry – but one local brewer isn’t buying it.

 “I just want to use quality ingredients to bring fresh, local beer to my neighborhood,” said Steve Sloan of Roundabout Brewery.

After working for 17 breweries around the world and winning numerous awards for his creations, Sloan created Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville, calling it a modest brewery with a New Zealand theme.

Despite his travels, Sloan said he doesn’t have hopes for world fame; his ambitions are based on his craft and his community.

Check out this latest Point Park News Service story by Lauren Dantella.