From the Editor

Into the Wild

What could be nicer than a family trip with all three kids just before they head off to college and my wife and I become empty nesters? This, at least, was my thinking when I signed up for a three-day, two-night pack trip into Yellowstone Park this summer. Ride in on horseback, do some fishing, …

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The New News

It’s said the stock market climbs a wall of worry. Equally so, society. And for the past several years, there’s been great concern about journalism. The common wisdom is that, with newspapers significantly weakened, citizens no longer get the information they need about their communities, and public officials who would be held accountable by the …

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Thoughts of Spring

It’s been another long winter in Pittsburgh. Snow, ice and cold, mixed with work, responsibility and deadlines. So what’s the best thing about a Pittsburgh winter and its low, gray skies? Perhaps that it makes the coming of spring a gift from God. In the spring, as Tennyson said, a young man turns his thoughts …

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Pittsburgh Quarterly—Five Years Old

On a frigid Saturday in Jan. 2006,  I packed my three children—ages 12, 14 and 15—into our family car, loaded to the axles with magazines. I’d mailed most of the 40,000 copies of our first issue, but to save money, I planned to distribute magazines door-to-door through Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. And so with the car …

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The Passing of the Editor

One day in the early 1990s, the Post-Gazette newsroom was in an uproar because my wife, the society editor, had run a picture of the publisher and his brother with Jerry Springer at the Kentucky Derby. Connecting our enterprise with “Jer-ry” was so alarming to the staff that a meeting was called at the city …

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My Summer “Reading” List

The first time I listened to a book was after a cocktail party. For a variety of reasons, I couldn’t get out of the party. The trouble was, I also had to be in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a noon meeting the next day. So, while it was not a great idea, I …

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Ancient Lessons

After turbulent flights, impenetrable storms and closed airports, I reached Tucson in the wee hours. I went to meet three college friends and our former professor for a weekend seminar in that city of cacti and mountains. Three things reminded me of college days: missing sleep, not finishing the reading and contemplating what it means …

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Coming Home

My mother would busily get the house ready. One of my jobs was to check the colored Christmas lights on the white pine that towered over our white frame house. We left the lights in all year. The tree kept growing, so every December I would add extra strands as far up as I could …

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Your One and Only

2009 has been a trying year for media organizations across the country. Several local magazines have folded; Pittsburgh magazine has been sold to a Colorado company. Let me assure you, however, that Pittsburgh Quarterly remains strong and committed to bringing the very best in magazine journalism to this region. In that regard, Pittsburgh Quarterly has …

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From the Publisher, Summer 2009

When I recently toured our new Children’s Hospital, I’d been aware that great attention was paid  to the design for at least a couple of reasons. One was to facilitate the best patient care. Another was to create a place where children would feel secure and comfortable. That well-being, of course, reinforces the care, which is …

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From the Publisher, Spring 2009

My 17-year-old daughter wanted to go to the inauguration, and we went back and forth about it. There were plenty of reasons not to. The crowd was expected to be 2–4 million, and people had been asked to stay home. I’d been in a densely packed crowd once before, where you couldn’t move and were …

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From the Publisher, Winter 2009

I’m sorry to report the passing of the co-founder of Pittsburgh Quarterly, Smokey. He was almost seven when he was killed by a car this fall. The “Man’s Best Friend” label fit Smokey, whose picture appears for a third and final time on this page. Those who have dogs know the wonderful things they bring …

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From the Publisher, Fall 2008

As sorry as I am to see another summer wane, how wonderful it is to look forward to fall in Pittsburgh. And what a fall it will be. When you look at what’s in store this autumn, can you really doubt the charms of Pittsburgh? I had some doubts 23 years ago when I moved …

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From the Publisher, Summer 2008

They say you can’t break news in a quarterly magazine. Well, I’d like to give you two little news flashes that I suspect you haven’t read anywhere else. The first has to do with a new partnership we have with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be publishing the quarterly calendar …

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From the Publisher, Spring 2008

A little over a year ago, on a frigid Saturday in January, I had what you might call a date with destiny. I’d agreed to meet three men in a bar in East Liberty. I’d never been there, but I’d read about the place. As I looked for the street and then the number, I …

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From the Publisher, Winter 2008

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, winter comes early. You can feel it when the mercury drops to 30 and you’re in a summer cottage with just a fireplace for heat. And so it was one late fall day, when Smokey and I were the only dog and person left on the island. Cold rain fell on …

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From the Publisher, Fall 2007

I grew up on what had been an old apple orchard, and fall meant turning the crank of our oak-and-iron cider press. It meant picking up apples from the grass and quickly unhanding those whose undersides had rotted and were crawling with yellowjackets. After a strong rain, it meant the inevitable loss of old trees …

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From the Publisher, Summer 2007

If all goes as planned this summer, my family and I will sail the waters of the remote North Channel between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Canada in a 28-foot sloop. I’ve sailed a lot on Lake Huron but have never skippered a longer voyage on open waters. It’ll mean preparation in navigation and emergency procedures …

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From the Publisher, Spring 2007

One day at work a few years ago, I asked a colleague, “Do you ever have the feeling you’re living the same day over and over again?” She told me I ought to see “Groundhog Day.” I’d heard of the movie, and even though an old family friend has a memorable, small role in it, …

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From the Publisher, Winter 2007

Eight years ago, working at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I suggested that the city editor have someone check the number of sunny days we’d seen, or rather the lack of them. Weather stories tend to bore journalists, and no one checked. When I finally did, it turned out we’d had four sunny days in four months. …

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From the Publisher, Fall 2006

On my last night on the island I sat down to pen this column. Ahead lay fall and a return to the world of squeezing productivity from every minute of the day. On the porch of the old house overlooking the water, I considered what I was leaving behind. On the far shore of the …

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From the Publisher, Spring/Summer 2006

Before we get to the second issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, I’d like to thank the many people who have passed along ideas and kind words either in person or in letters or e-mail about the first issue. All considered, we couldn’t have been happier with it and with the response. The magazine is resonating with …

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