A New Mexico native, Deanna Garcia started in public media in 2001. She was an NPR intern out of college and then worked in Rochester, NY and Greeley, Colorado before landing at WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station. “I love Pittsburgh and look forward to more time here as the five-year mark approaches for me,” she says. 

She will marry her partner, Maria, this fall. In her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, checking out restaurants and posting pictures of her dog on social media. 

“As it happens, the week of the 23rd before Memorial Day weekend is pretty quiet – sandwiched in between some busy weeks,” she notes. 

Monday 23: My day starts early. I check my e-mail and read papers and scour websites to see what is going on in and around Pittsburgh. I don’t get to venture out into the community as much as I did as a reporter; being interim news director at WESA I instead lay out plans for the day/week/month etc. 

I head into the office, coffee in hand, and then start to plan. I will figure out if there are any events/other things I need to send reporters to – and assign folks. At 10:30 the news staff meets for an editorial meeting. This is where the entire news staff (the ones not out covering stuff) comes together and talks plans, story ideas etc. These include topics ranging from story ideas and pitches to addressing any issues on peoples’ minds. 

I have a bad habit of eating lunch at my desk so on Mondays I try to get the week started by venturing out for something to eat. Mostly I just walk down E. Carson and then figure out what sounds good that day. Favorites include Kassab’s, Urban Tap, Carson Street Deli, Local and Little Tokyo. 

Since it’s Monday I’ll touch base with some colleagues at NPR and other shows to outline what may be on the horizon. 

Monday evening looks quiet – I’ll go home, eat something and just hang out with my wife and dog, watching Grace and Frankie (or Friends) on Netflix. 

Deanna Garcia with NPR’s Michele Martin during her recent Pittsburgh appearance.
Deanna Garcia with NPR’s Michele Martin during her recent Pittsburgh appearance.

Tuesday 24:  Our editorial meeting today is earlier and smaller on Tuesday, mostly getting everyone on the same page with daily plans. 

I will have a conference call with other public media news directors in the state as well as a phone call with the show Here and Now, which we air. 

Mid-day I will stop and think to myself, “I should go for a run” before deciding that I will not be going for a run. 

After work on Tuesdays I head to Pittsburgh Guitars where I am taking lessons. Playing guitar has been a life-long dream.  I’m learning slowly, and I’m not likely to be drafted by my favorite band (Heart) to tour with them, but I’m really enjoying learning this instrument. Side note: I do play percussion! 

After guitar it’s back home to hang out with my dog. We usually go for a walk (if the weather is nice) or to a dog park. More Netflix watching will occur. 

Wednesday 25:  Our meeting is at 10:30. With Memorial Day on the horizon, I will start planning for the holiday and having fewer people around. 

I will likely venture into the Strip District at lunch. Ever few weeks I pop into Reyna’s to stock up on tortillas. As a native New Mexican, I am obnoxiously picky about Mexican food and very picky about tortillas. Short of making them myself, the ones I get from Reyna’s are the best I’ve had. Reyna’s has also saved my life by carrying Hatch green chile. 

Wednesday afternoon (weather permitting) a bike ride is planned along the river trail. Working on the South Side, I love having nearby river trail access. 

Then it’s back home to feed and hang out with the dog. 

Wednesday evening I’ll venture to Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House for “Death Café Pittsburgh” at 6:30 – a discussion of death – that’s pretty much the only descriptor. Fun fact: one of the careers I considered earlier in life was a mortician. Death is a fascinating subject to me, so I am eager to learn what others have to say/feel/believe. 

Thursday 26: I’m a creature of habit. Same start to the day – head into the office. Editorial meeting at 9:30. Nothing on tap at this point for the day – but I’ve learned that no day is boring. Things always pop up – so the day will be filled one way or another. 

I’m heading to Artist Image Resource around 6:30 to check out Vanessa German’s exhibit. Evening will end back at home with more guitar practice and some playing of Candy Crush and reading of Harry Potter (I’m on book 4 – rereading series again…I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it). 

Friday! 27:  Ah, Friday. But it’s the Friday before a holiday, so lots of last-minute planning today to ensure we have all we need for Monday into Tuesday, so that most of our staff can take a well-deserved vacation day. 

After work, I’ll  go check out the new Popsicle truck! Then it’s off to Shiloh Grill in Mt. Washington. Hope to get there for happy hour and enjoy some apps and drinks (I’m a big fan of their pierogis), then we’ll take a little walk to Grandview Bakery and pick up a few treats for the weekend. 

Then it’s back at home to, you guessed it, hang out with the dog. She’s spoiled rotten. Week will end with some Netflix and guitar practice. 

Deanna with “spoiled rotten” dog. We understand.
Deanna with “spoiled rotten” dog. We understand.

Saturday 28: Errands day! We’ll start with breakfast in the Strip (DeLuca’s probably) then head to the grocery store before it gets too crowded. Weather permitting I will do my yard work. I don’t have a very large yard, so I enjoy the mowing and weed whacking. I do not enjoy back yard work – since right now it’s all weeds and rocks. I really need to landscape it – but haven’t. Soon. Soon. 

Afternoon will include a movie possibly. And that likely means I’ll plan on going to a movie then end up just renting one through Amazon and watching it at home. We’re planning a trip to Disneyland in the fall – so on the agenda is rewatching all our favorite Disney movies. Mary Poppins, anyone? 

Then…guitar and bed! 

Sunday 29: I missed last year’s Open Streets, so I will head to Market Square and hang out. I love riding my bike, but am too afraid to do it on the streets just yet (plus I live in a really hilly area) so I’m excited to take it out on the road and just enjoy without worrying. 

I will eagerly await the amazing meal we’ll have for Sunday dinner – I am not the cook in the family – so I will enjoy whatever is made! 

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The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.