AC: What career advice would you give to a mid-career journalist about how to grow in this business?
SM: Get out there and find opportunities to do the work that you love and find good mentors who will give you a blueprint for success and help to clear the path for you. Align yourself with good people who know the business and are willing to help you succeed. Also, be willing to pay your dues for a few years. You need to learn your business from the bottom up.
AC: What are your plans for retirement and staying engaged with local journalism?
SM: My husband will be retiring at about the same time so we will be taking advantage of some newfound freedom to continue our travels and spend time with friends and family. Professionally, I will be back at the Trib in a part-time, advisory position doing the work that I love most, coaching writers and editors and developing some special projects.
AC: Where do you think local journalism is heading?
SM: Local journalism is our future. It’s what readers want from us, and at the Trib, our leadership at all levels is savvy enough to realize that. Our readers want to know what’s happening in their neighborhoods and in their schools. They want us to deliver the news they can’t get anywhere else about the most important issues in their lives. In our market, we know that our ability to provide a robust, comprehensive diet of local news is what will propel us to a successful future.
AC: What is something unexpected you learned from running a metropolitan news operation?
SM: I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and understand the diversity of the audience we serve, not only in terms of age, socioeconomic factors, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds, but also in terms of the demands placed on the media organizations serving the community. I was not surprised by this, but I do often feel challenged in attempting to serve all of these varied needs, many of which are constantly shifting. It is a balancing act, but it’s what makes the job so enriching.
Comings & Goings
While their two local news stations compete for ratings, WPXI-TV‘s Amy Hudak and WTAE-TV‘s Jim Madalinsky recently married. They actually fell in love while working at the same station in Rochester, N.Y., the Trib’s Rob Owen reports.
WPXI-TV‘s Aaron Martin recently announced on Twitter that he’s leaving the station and perhaps local television news. Patch’s Eric Heyl reports that Martin is moving to Miami to be close to his wife’s family.
Pittsburgh City Paper‘s Abbie Adams stepped down in June as art director, but not before leaving her mark, literally, on an office wall by spending her last day to create a city scene mural, which she posted to Instagram.
Several longtime, veteran Post-Gazette reporters opted to take the newspaper’s latest buyout offer, including business writer Joyce Gannon and environmental reporter Don Hopey.
The founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, Andrew Conte writes the On Media column at NEXTpittsburgh with support from The Heinz Endowments. You can find all of his columns here, and you can email him.