Opinion

Journalism 101?

I’ve been a reporter or editor almost continuously since taking over my high school newspaper 39 years ago. So when President Trump called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” it did get my attention. But journalists get attacked so often that rather than take it personally, I considered whether any truth lurked …

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Confession: Cops and Kids

I done got busted for breaking-and-entering (cue the blues harp and slide guitar). This is a sad tale but I must spare all young people the same sordid fate. One sunny Saturday morning six decades ago in Seattle’s Ballard district, two kids blew open the door of a playground field house, and the rest of …

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Passing the Torch

Earlier this fall, a group of about 250 civic and cultural leaders gathered to pay tribute to Teresa Heinz Kerry on the occasion of her handing over the chairmanship of The Heinz Endowments to her sons. From creating Riverlife, to championing causes from the environment to social equity to the Cultural District among many others, …

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On a Lonely Stretch of Road

I had occasion recently to pet a wild animal for the first time. For 55 straight summers, I’ve visited Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula, but I’d never driven to its rugged, western side, which borders Lake Superior and Canada. Pittsburgh friends were celebrating the relaunch of an old family boat they’d restored, at the top of …

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Smart City

Certainly, it’s not great news that Pittsburgh didn’t win a $50 million federal Smart City Challenge grant to redesign its transportation system. The grant would have helped “plan, design and build the next Pittsburgh,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. Pittsburgh’s proposal envisioned a combination of big data working with electricity microgrids to create an “electric avenue” …

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The Best of Intentions

I just hope my mother doesn’t testify against me… if she does, I am in deep trouble. I was gathering all the necessary items to bring into my son Joe’s preschool class for his “birthday week” extravaganza: “Manuelo the Playing Mantis” book to read aloud? Check. Praying mantis “hat” craft kits for all 25 students? …

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Advice to a Would-Be Reporter

I was talking recently with a friend’s son who’s interested in journalism, which today seems like a very uncertain proposition. Perhaps it always has been— my parents certainly thought so. I gave him the lay of the land and noted the difficulty of making any money, but I added that reporting does provide great training …

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The British Vote and Pittsburgh’s Demographics

We’re all trying to figure out the implications of the somewhat surprising news that UK voters decided by a comfortable majority to leave the European Union. No matter what side you identified with in this grand referendum, it’s always invigorating when democracy’s voices speak. With a record high voter turn out – over 70% of …

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Mark

About 10 years ago, a six-inch bust appeared suddenly on top of a retaining wall in my back yard in Highland Park. How it got there was a mystery. Left by someone moving from the area? An abandoned kid’s toy? Or…something magical? The bust was creamy white and from a distance seemed likely a noble …

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Giant Eagle Misadventures

I appear to be a fully functioning, generally normal human being. I have friends, a family, a job, and some interesting hobbies. No felonies, no spectacular talents, no debilitating weaknesses, either. Just your basic person. But as the old song goes, “Everybody plays the fool, sometimes…” My time was not long ago, at the Market …

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Thank You for 10 Great Years

It was a cold January day 10 years ago when I got the call that the truck with our first issue of the magazine was stuck on a small South Side street. When I found the driver, his truck was snared in an impossible turn, stopping traffic. On the sidewalk at my feet was a …

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Cleaner Air for Pittsburgh and More

When a Detroit company announced earlier this year that it would close its Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island, the news accounts led with the loss of 173 jobs. While we don’t cheer job losses in Pittsburgh, there is another, more important side to this story. Shenango was the smaller of the two coke works …

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Covering 10 Years

With the exception of our second and third editions back in 2006, all of our covers have featured illustrations. We’ve benefited from a tremendous wealth of artistic talent in Pittsburgh and have sought to bring readers of each issue a colorful introduction to a different kind of magazine.

A Printing Press for the Future

During a pre-Sscars movie binge, I recently saw “Spotlight,” the film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Having spent two decades at Pittsburgh’s daily papers, the newsroom scenes brought back the vitality of a great American institution—the newspaper—which sadly appears to be fading into history. And I …

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Pittsburgh: 200 Years Young?

Pittsburgh’s getting younger. you hear it, read about it, and see it any time you’re out on the “tahn.” Even the demographic data back it up. But if you still don’t believe it, consider this: This year—just eight years after the Pittsburgh 250 celebration—the City of Pittsburgh is celebrating its 200th anniversary—proof positive that everything …

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The Path to Growth

My 13-year-old son is growing taller by the day. I asked him jokingly when he would stop and he replied “If I had my way, never.” He said it felt good to be achieving “new heights” even if he knew it would come to an end some day. The same seems to be true of …

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Our New Downtown

I was dining the other night at Poros, the fourth Downtown restaurant opened by Yves Carreau. The elegant new space connects PPG Place and Market Square, and as I watched passersby outside the wall of windows, I was struck by how much Pittsburgh has changed. Soon the ice rink at PPG Place will reopen and …

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A New Kind of Volunteering

As many consider year-end charitable gifts, one old Pittsburgh company with a new name is spurring new ways to build a better community. Covestro—until this year Bayer MaterialScience—is investing in a new concept called “skills-based volunteerism” designed to benefit nonprofits as well as companies and their employees. The idea is that Covestro, and hopefully other …

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Time for a change

I can see the eye roll coming. How did I become the old shrew? Was it the cumulative effect of all those times I naively worried that an absent employee had been in a car wreck only to have them show up 30 minutes late with a mochachino in hand complaining about the line at …

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Building a Stronger Region

Creating a diversity survey for the Pittsburgh region is a tricky business. First, in this day and age, how should we define diversity? There’s racial and ethnic diversity as well as diversity of religion and of sexual preference, which has grown from “LGBT” to “LGBTQIA” (you can look it up). Should women fall under the …

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Getting away from it all

“You need a vacation.” It’s bad enough when we hear it from our family members, worse when our employees feel compelled to tell us, and downright embarrassing when a regular client or customer points it out. Despite our best efforts, the physical and mental wear and tear of business ownership can take an obvious toll. …

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Pittsburgh & Diversity

Recently, in my “other” job with Pittsburgh Today, we published a report on racial and ethnic diversity in the regional workforce. Given that Pittsburgh is the whitest (86 percent) of the 15 benchmark regions we examine, it wasn’t a shock to learn that we have the lowest percentage of minority workers—11 percent compared with the …

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