Tree of Life sanctuary windows. Photo by S.M. Riemer.

When I became Editor at the end of April, I knew NEXTpittsburgh was a valued source of news and information, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with just how deeply Pittsburghers rely on us.  

NEXT has long been the go-to resource for the latest news on the places to eat and drink and what to do around town. And I know many people who have found jobs from the listings we publish. 

I also have come to appreciate how much interest readers have in news about the latest real estate developments.

B’nai Israel synagogue courtesy of Pittsburgh Preservation.
B’nai Israel synagogue courtesy of Pittsburgh Preservation.

A welcomed trend is repurposing neighborhood landmarks. There are many examples, but one I am anticipating is the 2022 reopening of the former B’nai Israel Synagogue and School in Garfield, which will feature affordable housing and a community center.

This year I am excited about our partnership with SpotlightPA, a statewide independent newsroom based in Harrisburg dedicated to investigative journalism. SpotlightPA has given us articles on everything from redistricting and elections to pandemic updates – and the reader response has been amazing. Its guide to the state Supreme Court election and other judicial races was one of our top stories of the year.

We also are fortunate to have a partnership with PublicSource, a nonprofit news organization serving the Pittsburgh region. (If you missed it, be sure to read its story about how few Black professors have tenure at Southwestern Pennsylvania colleges). 

Our closest partner is Kidsburgh, which shares the abundant resources for children in our region and covers the challenges and rewards of raising Pittsburgh’s youngest residents. In addition to inspiring stories of the people making a difference, each month there is a robust calendar of kid-friendly events throughout the region. As a new grandfather, I’m sure I will be turning to Kidsburgh even more often and sharing its stories with my son and his wife.

STEM education is an outreach program of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy YWCA.

Editors are like parents, so it’s hard for me to choose my favorite stories of 2021, but I am proud of the efforts NEXTpittsburgh has made to share stories of diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s important to hold up the people and places that are making Pittsburgh more welcoming for everyone. 

On a personal note, I was excited to write about the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s mission to fight racism and empower women. So it was a thrill to attend its inaugural Equity Awards, not only because it was the first in-person event I had been to in a while, but because the women who were honored inspired me. (I’m not crying, you’re crying).

Covering how Pittsburgh’s Jewish community continues to heal after the Tree of Life massacre was another privilege. One of my first stories was about how New York-based architect Daniel Libeskind will reimagine the Squirrel Hill synagogue to “address the persistence of anti-Semitism and the intolerance of our time and affirm the democratic values of our country.” Then in October, I was able to cover the commemoration of the third anniversary of the attack.

Photo by Kristy Locklin.

It’s also heartening to see the growing acceptance of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community. While Pittsburgh has long celebrated Pride, it was encouraging to report on Millvale’s first Pride celebration. 

As we move into a new year, NEXTpittsburgh will continue to cover the news you expect from us, but also to reach out and report on the news from our neighbors who sometimes are overlooked when the narrative of our community is told.

Thanks for being loyal readers and sharing NEXTpittsburgh with your friends and family. If you have a story you think we should know about, reach me here.

Happy New Year!

Brian Hyslop

Brian brings a passion for Pittsburgh, doughnuts and ice cream to his job as editor. His more than 30 years of journalism experience have taught him the importance of community engagement and a sense of...