Douglas Heuck

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."

Man’s Best Friend

There once was a dog named Stormy. When he was very young, a man became his friend and carefully introduced him to all sorts of people, places and situations. He kept little Stormy away from frightening things, and Stormy grew up to love people and the world. Every morning of his life, he jumped as …

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Firing on All Cylinders

When Paul Hennigan became president of Point Park University in 2006, he inherited an institution that a little more than a decade earlier was in danger of going out of business. One of his first priorities was deciding the viability of the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland. Eleven years later, the new Playhouse is set to …

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Looking Inward, Way Inward

Until about six weeks ago I never fully appreciated that, just like all the strange characters in science fiction movies, I am a mutant. It all began in June when a friend mentioned his results from a genetic testing outfit. A few years ago, I’d considered paying one of the services to find out my …

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Sailing into the Fray

In May, my older sister emailed, wondering if I’d be sailing in the nationals, which this year would be where we spend summers in Michigan. I’d been considering it, but there were two impediments—pulling together a four-man crew and the spinnaker. No problem with the crew, but flying a spinnaker loomed in my mind like …

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The Lure of Fishing

One of my earliest memories was Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s big home with its very high ceilings in Cincinnati. I was 4, and my aunt gave me a tackle box. As I examined the various fishing lures, my father said, “Be careful that the first fish you catch isn’t yourself.” I didn’t understand him …

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Aftermath of a Strike

When Melia Tourangeau joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as President and CEO in July 2015, she immediately faced a problem she hadn’t anticipated: massive debts from a nearly insolvent pension program. Last fall, the PSO endured a 55-day strike that ended when two donors made one-time gifts and musicians agreed to concessions. Tourangeau discusses the …

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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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I Am Homeless

Back in 1988, I wrote a series about Pittsburgh’s homeless, based on my living on the streets for 14 days and nights, undercover, with long hair and a beard. I was 26, and the Pittsburgh Press series changed my journalistic trajectory, won national writing awards, and later became part of the landmark Supreme Court media …

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Pittsburgh’s Top Stories of 2016

Number five: Pittsburgh’s 200th Anniversary. Pittsburgh is getting younger. You read about it, hear about it and see it anytime you’re out on the “tahn.” Even the demographic data backs it up. If you still don’t believe it, consider this: This year, just eight years after the Pittsburgh 250 celebration, the City of Pittsburgh celebrated …

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Among the Trees

As Meg Cheever said, “The best park in Pittsburgh is the one you are in.” She founded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996 at a time when Pittsburgh was a long way from claiming victory in stemming the tide of decline that still clung to the city. With a band of determined supporters, she stepped …

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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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The Death of a Homeless Man

Last week, I got the news that I knew one day would come. Joe Regoli had died. Back in 1988, I wrote a series about Pittsburgh’s homeless, based on my living on the streets for 14 days and nights, undercover, with long hair and a beard. I was 26, and the Pittsburgh Press series changed …

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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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Troutward Bound

Since 1926, when Zane Grey published “Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado,” fishermen have trekked to New Zealand—the other side of the world— to stalk the monstrously huge and famously wary rainbow and brown trout. If only they’d known about Spruce Creek, Pa. If only I’d known… I knew Spruce Creek was famous for fly fishing—that …

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The Decisive Decade

After going to college and law school in the south, Jack Barbour decided to return to Pittsburgh in 1979. “When I said I was going back to Pittsburgh, everyone looked at me like I was nuts. They still may look at me like I’m nuts. But there’s no longer that stigma about Pittsburgh,” said Barbour, …

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Elie Wiesel and the One Indestructible Human Quality

In each issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, I write obituaries of notable Pittsburghers, and over the past 10-plus years, the percentage of those whom I knew in life – some very well – has been growing. Last week came the news of the death of Elie Wiesel, who steadfastly bore witness to the Holocaust for more …

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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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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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The New Sound

Steve Hackman, 35, is an emerging phenomenon in the world of music, fusing classical and popular pieces. Hackman is creating and conducting his hybrid concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Jan. 27 and March 9. A native of suburban Chicago, he has an undergraduate degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and …

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New Zealand

Like everyone else who saw the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, I was somewhat stunned by the dramatic beauty of New Zealand. But I’d never seriously considered visiting until Christmas 2014, when my oldest son was home from Shanghai and said, “Let’s go fly-fishing together in New Zealand.” I’ve always loved fishing, but not …

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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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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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