Book review: ‘Clemente’ tells story bigger than baseball

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-8-52-42-amThe Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote a colorful review of my latest book, “All About Roberto Clemente.” They noted that the book spends a lot more time talking about Clemente, the human being — and not just his activity as a ballplayer. An excerpt:

Those who saw Clemente play will never forget his laser-like throws from right field that froze baserunners, or his daring moves on the basepaths. But Conte’s book gives as much if not more time to Roberto Clemente the human being.

Read the full review here.

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Off-Road Politics looks at The Color

IMG_4767My friend Salena Zito helped me connect with the Rooney family when I first started reporting on The Color of Sundays. As a North Side girl — ahem, I mean, Allegheny City girl — she has that kind of street cred.

Salena brought it back around today by having me on her podcast to talk about the book. We had a great conversation and got a little more into the book’s larger themes. You can listen to us here.

Reminder: Book signing Saturday at Fort Days in Ligonier. I’ll be at Second Chapter Books on Main Street, somewhere near Jim O’Brien!

“He could see the full picture…”

The Tribune-Review featured The Color of Sundays with a full-page story and excerpt…

Trib NunnWhen the Steelers were in the midst of winning four Super Bowls the 1970s, credit was given to the players, coaches and owners. But one of the most important men contributing to the team’s success remained in the background.

According to Andrew Conte, author of “The Color of Sundays: The Secret Strategy That Built the Steelers’ Dynasty” (Blue River Press, $25), scout Bill Nunn Jr. arguably was as essential as Chuck Noll, Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann. Nunn’s ability to find talent at small black schools brought Mel Blount, Donnie Shell, John Stallworth, L.C. Greenwood and Glenn Edwards to the Steelers.

“I think the key factor to them winning their first four Super Bowls was their willingness to go out and try these players nobody else was looking at,” said Conte, a reporter with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Just look at the defensive line. … Without Nunn, you get (Joe) Greene but not Greenwood. You don’t get Stallworth in the ’74 draft. You don’t get Donnie Shell. You don’t get Glenn Edwards. You don’t get Sam Davis.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/-topstories/9171892-74/nunn-steelers-conte#ixzz3nazfiLPz

Launch party 6 p.m., Tuesday, Clark Bar & Grill

Finding lost images

John Brewer examining some of the thousands of Courier photos he is preserving. Photo by Sidney Davis.

John Brewer examining some of the thousands of Courier photos he is preserving. Photo by Sidney Davis.

While researching my upcoming book about the Steelers’ secret strategy for winning championships, I met John Brewer. He’s a historian who had the good fortune of finding a cache of old production books from the Pittsburgh Courier that everyone thought had been lost. Brewer has since started the tedious process of preserving the newspaper’s images. Because the Courier was the nation’s leading black newspaper for much of the 20th Century, its archives show the history of African-Americans across sports, entertainment and every day life. I wrote about Brewer’s experience for the Tribune-Review, and interviewed him for WESA-FM, Pittsburgh’s NPR affiliate.

As Courier publisher Rod Doss told me: “A lot of the photographs captured the culture of a community that otherwise was not seen in other media. It showcases the community activities, the lifestyle activities, the dress that was maintained, the nightlife, the Negro leagues. All those things were captured in these photographs.”

For someone with a keen eye, the images also present some of the rarest moments in sports history. Brewer has one image (below) that shows Satchel Paige, the great Cleveland Indians hurler, inside a Hill District club when he played with the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro leagues. He’s there with Gus Greenlee, the Crawfords’ owner and notorious numbers-runner, along with Wendell Smith, the Courier sports reporter who famously advocated for Major League Baseball to integrate (familiar for anyone who has seen “42”), and Bill Nunn Sr., the paper’s managing editor and the father of its black college All-America teams. More on that to come later this year.

You can find my full Trib story here: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8394422-74/courier-brewer-pittsburgh#ixzz3bFiNChTB.

And you can hear the WESA-FM segment on Essential Pittsburgh here: http://wesa.fm/post/forgotten-courier-closet-yields-wealth-pittsburgh-black-history.

satchel

Photo (of the original photo) by Sidney Davis.

 

 

 

 

The Inside Job

cyber logoAs journalists, we often report on secret meetings — closed to everyone but the participants. I dedicated “Breakway” to “anyone who has ever wondered what happens behind closed doors.” I did that mostly because I always wonder what decisions are made and deals reached behind closed doors.

For my latest assignment, I actually got to go behind closed doors. I went behind armed guards too. The U.S. Army War College permitted me to attend a policy planning session on “Cyber Sovereignty.” The three-day workshop brought together top minds from all branches of the military, from the private sector and from academia.

The event allowed me to provide readers of the Tribune-Review exclusive access to these deliberations about the future of our nation’s cybersecurity. I also discussed my findings on 90.5 WESA-FM, Pittsburgh’s NPR station.

My stories…

Infrastructure ‘legitimate target’ in battle for cyber supremacy

Summer Fowler

Summer Fowler

When Summer Fowler goes to sleep, the Cranberry mother of three knows computer hackers around the world are working through the night to undo the defenses she spends her days building.

Fowler, 37, is deputy technical director for cybersecurity solutions at CERT, the nation’s first computer emergency response team, at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. She works with Pentagon soldiers, intelligence directors and corporate titans to help them identify key electronic assets, secure them from cyber attacks and plan for what happens if someone steals them.

But at the end of the day, once her children are tucked into bed, Fowler wonders what the impact would be from a real cyber 9/11 attack…Read more.

How Pittsburgh invented computer emergency response

Richard Pethia

Richard Pethia

Pittsburgh’s prominent and growing role as a national center for cybersecurity started with a chance encounter more than 25 years ago.

On Nov. 2, 1988, researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, were ending the workday when calls started coming in from across the country. Something was slowing computer connections on the early Internet — moving freely, guessing passwords to break into systems, accessing files and quickly replicating.

About 60,000 people were connected to the infant web in those days, and many knew each other. The idea had been to build a network for military operations and research that could withstand attacks on any one or two individual computers.

But as the so-called Morris worm spread, questions about security quickly arose. The first computer virus had been unleashed…Read more.

Sony hack redefines online warfare

0212151306a-1CARLISLE — Rarely has a raunchy movie done so much to change the world.

When hackers broke into computer systems at Sony Pictures Entertainment in a failed attempt to stop the release of “The Interview” late last year, the cyberattack changed the way top American military policymakers look at online warfare, experts say.

Electronic skirmishes that had played out quietly among computer technicians at a hacked company and a federal agency contacted for advice instead went all the way to the Oval Office, as President Obama blamed the Sony incident on a nation-state attack by North Korea. Read more.

Intelligence agency to battle online threats

CARLISLE — If President Obama’s proposed new agency to coordinate federal cybersecurity efforts leads to increased information sharing among government agencies and private companies, that will improve defenses against hack attacks all around, experts gathered here this week said. Read more.

Why Nutella?

nutellaJif crunchy peanut butter would have felt much more threatening, right? Like, how did this ISIS fighter in Syria get his hands on the most-American of sandwich spreads? Instead, the guy went for Nutella. Don’t get me wrong. I love Nutella. But that’s more of a threat to Italians maybe. Europhiles, for sure. ProdAdminImageRegardless, my latest cyber story looks at jihadist fighters using Twitter to taunt the United States and Europe from the frontlines of the battle.

As an aside, the New York Post had this take on an ISIS fighter mourning Robin Williams’ death. These guys might be fighting Western culture — but they also are deeply embedded in it.

My story…
dt.common.streams.StreamServer

One British fighter mockingly says he was so upset about American bombing raids on jihadists like himself in northern Iraq that he took a selfie while buying Nutella to “comfort my brittle heart.”

Another jihadist, dressed in black, posed for a photo with a young boy dressed likewise, adding a hashtag about swapping PlayStation video games for a real gun. Others posted images of American equipment left behind in Iraq, inviting troops to return.

Online taunts might seem glib, but fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — or now simply the Islamic State — have a growing desire to strike in the United States and Europe as a result of bombing to support Kurdish fighters, security experts told the Tribune-Review. Read more.

Chinese takeout

Looking at Chinese military hacking, we figured out that they were using free email services backed by American investors. By way of the Cayman Islands. It’s a little complicated but I was able to work Wang Dong into the story…

Chinese hackers

American investors are unknowingly making it easier for Chinese hackers and other online criminals to hide from authorities here, the Tribune-Review has learned.

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