From the Editor

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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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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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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A Maze of Milestones

I‘ve been accumulating milestones lately. Within a year, I’ll have had my 35th high school reunion, the 30th anniversary of my arrival in Pittsburgh, my 25th wedding anniversary, the 10th anniversary of the founding of this magazine, and finally, the signing and sending of the final check for my three children’s college tuitions. During a …

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Trees and Time

There is nothing quite like working among trees in the dead of winter. We walk, my sons and I, through the dense forest of white pine. The only sounds are the muted swoosh of the wind and the occasional snap of a twig underfoot on the soft, pine- needle floor. The boys are home for …

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Sudden Goodbye

In 1967, we arrived at our island cottage in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and of course, the first thing we kids did was explore our distantly familiar summer home. On that particular day, we found a bat inert on the dining room floor. “Pick it up, and we’ll show Dad,” said my 14-year-old sister. I was …

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Welcoming Midsummer’s Eve

At the end of may last year, my son and I drove into Groningen—the Netherlands’ northernmost city. By chance, we arrived on the first warm, sunny day they’d had after an unusually long, cold and dark winter. By early afternoon, business stopped, and everywhere, jubilant people of all ages poured into the parks and outdoor …

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Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow

Would you say this is the best shape Pittsburgh’s been in over the last 30 years?” I asked the question after a group of people, including the region’s leading economist, its top demographic expert, and the head of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, had just viewed the most recent economic reports from Pittsburgh Today. …

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Considering a Pittsburgh Tradition

It was two years ago that Bill Dietrich, our longtime Pittsburgh Quarterly history writer, died and left $500 million to community institutions. I mentioned Bill to out-of-towners recently while explaining Pittsburgh’s unusual social fabric. He’d studied Pittsburgh’s industrial titans and the legacies they left that still shape our city. If he’d grown up elsewhere, Bill …

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Big Things for Pittsburgh

This fall is an exciting time at Pittsburgh Quarterly and in Pittsburgh. In its Golden Quill Awards in May, the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania judged PQ to be the region’s best magazine for the seventh straight year. And I believe that this issue contains the strongest combination of stories we’ve ever produced—stories that reflect …

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Gettysburg: The 150th Anniversary

On a beautiful April Sunday, I got up early and drove to Gettysburg. July marks the battle’s 150th anniversary, and I had signed up for a two-hour horseback battlefield tour. I’m not a history buff, but I am an American, and Gettysburg has always held a unique gravity. We had a relative who disappeared during …

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Keep the Home Fires Burning?

In our yard, there’s no shortage of trees that old age or wind bring crashing back to earth. I cut and split this wood the old-fashioned way—with a wedge and a sledge. And as the old adage goes, “He who chops his own wood warms himself twice.” I work at home, and on winter mornings, …

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E Pluribus Unum

This fall, Pittsburgh Quarterly had a subscription campaign. Along with many of the returned cards, a nice note accompanied the check. Three people, however, returned notes sans check, saying they wouldn’t subscribe to a magazine that supports Marcellus Shale drilling. One ended his letter: “You should be ashamed of yourself!” First, I considered the building …

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The Sky Is Falling

In June I bowed to the demands of my three college-aged children and got the whole family smart phones. As I waited in line at the AT&T store, a guy behind me suggested I should get the “Siri” iPhone. “You can ask it anything, and it answers,” he said. Perhaps I should do that, I …

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Changing the Cottage

In April, my wife and I made the 600-mile drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula unusually early. We went to meet with contractors to begin fixing up the old cottage. What we call “The Big Cottage” was completed for the summer of 1908, the first built on LaSalle Island along the northern shore of Lake Huron. …

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A Remarkable Time for the Region

Twenty years ago, when newspapers were strong, the coin of the realm for ambitious reporters was winning awards. A slightly caricatured general rule was: The more intractable, insoluble and depressing the issue you wrote about, the more awards you’d win. Newspapers were in the business of problems, not solutions. In 1995, I marked 10 years …

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A Pittsburgh Original

At a civic event 11 years ago, I saw an unusually dapper fellow—navy pinstripe suit, rep tie and perfectly combed white hair. The fact is, I thought he was someone else. I went over and introduced myself, and he said, “Bill Dietrich.” The name meant nothing to me. But after chatting for a minute or …

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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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