A journalistic innovator, Heuck has been writing about Pittsburgh for 35 years, as an investigative reporter and business editor at The Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette and as the founder of Pittsburgh Quarterly. His newspaper projects ranged from living on the streets disguised as a homeless man to penning the only comprehensive profile in the latter years of polio pioneer Dr. Jonas Salk to creating a statistical means of judging regional progress that has led to similar projects across the country. Heuck's work has won numerous national, state and local writing awards. His work has been cited in the landmark media law case "Food Lion vs. ABC news."

A Lifelong Friend

I’ve been lucky to have many close friends. But as I look back, it’s clear to me that, of all of them, my life has been most closely intertwined with that of my friend Chris Bentley. Chris and I were born less than two months apart, in early 1962, and we met before either of …

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The Year of Fear

The first time the phrase “stay safe” stuck in my memory, I was watching a TV news broadcast. After the correspondent gave his report, the anchor thanked him and then with a concerned look said, “Stay safe out there.” It was actually jarring to me because I’d been a reporter and editor for decades and, …

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Civil Discourse

As I consider the divided state of our country, I imagine my father’s voice repeating an old adage to me. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” We can all agree that America has problems, though we’ll likely differ on what they are. Some will say the mob that former …

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Seeking a Broad-Based Pittsburgh Economy

Q. What is Pittsburgh Works? How and why did it come about? A. Pittsburgh Works is a coalition that believes in the importance of having a strong and balanced local economy that includes and appreciates all of the important industrial sectors, including energy and manufacturing. We need jobs of all kinds for all kinds of …

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Finishing the Cabin

In the Fall issue, I wrote about how five friends and I escaped the hunker-down COVID malaise last summer by building a 16-by-20-foot cabin on a remote island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.). None of us had done it before, and by the time they left July 25, the footers, subfloor and four walls were …

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My Summer Vacation

It all started back in April, when the virus was young… I had big plans for making this the summer of exploration, intent on getting away from the quarantine/hunker down mentality and surrounding myself with the beauty of nature. The first plan was renting an RV in June and driving to Alaska via the Alaska …

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Vision and Action: A Remembrance of Paul O’Neill

I first met Paul O’Neill 23 years ago. I was running a project at the Post-Gazette called PG Benchmarks, which compared Pittsburgh to regions across the country with the goal of elevating Pittsburgh’s moribund trajectory. Aside from publishing statistics and stories, we held periodic roundtable discussions, the first of which was on the economy. I …

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Working in the Coronavirus Era

Q. How do you expect the aftermath of the coronavirus to change the working conditions for the American workforce? A. It’s definitely going to change working conditions. It’s also going to change the way we arrange work. Social distancing is going to change the workplace. The recovery is going to be gradual. I think you’re …

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Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

By chance, in early January, I watched a Netflix series called “Pandemic,” so my sensors were attuned early for the virus news from China. I was initially surprised that people were slow to give it credence and that financial markets blithely reached all-time highs Feb. 19. Soon enough though, as virus news swept the globe …

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Pittsburgh Tomorrow Podcast: Douglas Heuck

Pittsburgh Quarterly’s Douglas Heuck reads his editor’s letter from the Spring 2020 issue. Editor’s note: The following column was published in the Spring issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, just before the coronavirus changed the landscape across the world. It was part of an overall package entitled “Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow” dedicated to considering changes that we …

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Pittsburgh Tomorrow: Facing Facts and Seizing Opportunity

I arrived in Pittsburgh on July 5, 1985, for a 12-week internship at the old Pittsburgh Press. I expected to stay that long. However, from my entry through the Fort Pitt Tunnel to my first front-page story on one of the last big steel strikes, Pittsburgh was a fascinating place. It was also a place …

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The Migrations of Hunting

“Nature is a wet place where large numbers of ducks fly around uncooked.” —Oscar Wilde I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. When it came to wild animals, we enjoyed simply seeing them, not killing them. And the least likely kind of hunting for me might have been ducks. I liked the book “Make …

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Holiday Thoughts from the Dalai Lama’s Physician

Dr. Barry Kerzin, Buddhist Monk and physician to the Dalai Lama, is back in Pittsburgh, continuing his work with UPMC nurses, building compassion, resilience and mindfulness into their daily activities, with the goal of decreasing stress and increasing fulfillment. (See a longer PQ story on Kerzin here). He is in discussions to possibly begin similar …

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Lost and Found

Some days are memorable for obvious reasons: births, deaths, weddings and funerals. Occasionally, however, a day is noteworthy not for any dramatic event but for what you suddenly understand. For 58 summers in a row, I’ve gone to a little town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula called Cedarville. What has turned out, in retrospect, to be …

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The Seeming Vastness of Summer

During a 15-minute break from a recent Friday night poker game, a friend and I were discussing medical things when the question arose: What would you do if you found out you had two years to live and would be in basically good health until the end? The conversation soon attracted a wider group, and …

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Compassion, Mindfulness and Resilience

A native of California, Dr. Barry Kerzin is a Buddhist monk and the physician to the Dalai Lama. He sat down with Pittsburgh Quarterly to discuss his recent visit to Pittsburgh. Q. You’re here to work with many of UPMC’s 16,000 nurses for training in compassion, mindfulness and resilience. How do you do this? A. …

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Fairy Tale or Future: The Choice Is Ours

The Amazon HQ2 spectacle was a grand 21st Century fairy tale. It had everything: the world’s richest company promising happily-ever-after status to the city that would win its second headquarters, $5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs. For 17 months, people murmured throughout the land. Some whispered that Amazon’s move was a brilliant marketing stratagem; …

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Enter Stage Left

Prior to her first directorial effort with the Pittsburgh Public Theater (“The Tempest”: Jan. 24­–Feb. 24), Pittsburgh Quarterly posed a few questions for artistic director Marya Sea Kaminski. Q. First, welcome to Pittsburgh. Why “The Tempest” for your first Pittsburgh show? A. I wanted to have something that was a little bit of a celebration …

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A Turning Point for Troubled Times

By almost any objective measure, life in America has never been better. We’re not at war. Poverty is low, unemployment’s even lower, and stocks are sky high. Homicide rates are about where they were in 1950 and half of what they were in 1980. And medical care is better than ever with dramatic breakthroughs occurring …

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Ageless Wisdom: Abraham Twerski, 87

Try and find happiness in everything. And that’s not easy. There are a lot of things that cause you misery. Right now I’m disabled in a wheelchair. I’m dependent on other people for so many things. I don’t like being dependent on people. But I still try and find some happiness in that. I once …

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The Last At-Bat

Early one morning this summer, I was fishing with my friend in northern Michigan. The fog was thick, and Dave asked if I could tell where I was going. I know those waters and predicted that in about 30 seconds a point with a white boathouse would come into view. It did, and we rounded …

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Lessons from the Farm

Out at the farm, there’s an old trailer that my parents bought about 30 years ago after the farmhouse we’d been restoring burned to the ground. I’m sure that when Mom and Dad were alive and used it on weekends, the trailer had enough of Mom’s touches to make it seem homey and nice. But …

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