Friday, October 22, 2010

One of America's great newsrooms

On today, my last day at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I find myself reflecting on "One of America's great newspapers."

That the Post-Gazette is one of America's great newspapers (the paper's slogan, for those of you reading from outside the 'burgh) cannot be denied. I am consistently impressed with the quality of the paper and the breadth of material that the PG manages to cover.

But the PG is more than a product that both serves and represents a community— it is a community. And the essence of what makes the Post-Gazette invaluable to the people of Pittsburgh can be found in its newsroom. (Below is a photo of me with two of my very favorite people at the PG, Melissa Tkach and Kate McCaffrey).

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Photo courtesy of John Butler

Most journalists will say that newsrooms tend to be cutthroat environments. Co-workers compete for leads, stories, placement, contacts and promotions. With the industry in decline and layoffs abounding, the competition has become even more intense in recent years.

So, as a recent graduate entering a daily newspaper's newsroom for the first time, I was more than a little intimidated by the prospect of trying to work among journalists whose careers have spanned decades. But the Post-Gazette is not an example of your average newsroom. In fact, I'm pretty sure that here at the PG one finds the exception, not the rule.

From the first day that I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the generosity that I encountered here. (Like the time my co-worker Andrew let me tag along to film these baby lions... one of the highlights of my entire summer)

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Newborn Barbary lions / Elisabeth Ponsot

No matter how busy a co-worker is, I have found that he or she is almost always willing to pass on a few words of wisdom. I was able to "learn the ropes" in a matter of weeks rather than months because of the willingness of my fellow PG-ers to help, explain and teach. This openness not only enabled me to learn my place in the multimedia room faster, it also allowed me to understand how other departments ran, even if I wasn't directly involved with their work.

My hope is that my departure from the Post-Gazette is only temporary, but whatever happens, I will come away from this experience with the knowledge that my time here has completely changed the way that I look at my future career. I have learned that I have a skill and a love for multimedia work that I never knew existed, and I have made lifelong friends whose support I will continue to rely upon for years to come.

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Pittsburgh skyline in August / Elisabeth Ponsot
 I will certainly miss Pittsburgh, and with any luck, I'll be back soon.

But in the meantime, to my co-workers, to Blvd. of the Allies, to the Red Line T, to the coffee runs and Primanti's sandwiches, to the print pages and the online edition,

Cheers. and much ♥

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