Guild-Gazette: February 2017



We did some amazing work in January.


  • When a cop dies in the line of duty, cops gather by the hundreds or thousands for the funeral. That’s the brotherhood, and Andrew Rush captured it poignantly with this Jan. 6 photo of the funeral for state Trooper Landon Weaver, killed while answering a domestic disturbance call in Blair County. The photo on A-1 was so good it rendered the wire story inside a footnote.
  • It’s tough to handle the day-to-day pressures of a busy beat while still pumping out the enterprise and big-picture stories that give context to the work. Paula Reed Ward is a master juggler, and her Jan. 15 piece on the Superior Court’s rebuke of Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel was worth every moment she invested in it.
    Judges, lawyers, defendants, law students and policymakers all had reasons to be grateful for Paula’s story, which artfully explained the appellate court’s concern about a thumb on the scales of justice.
  • While much about the opioid crisis is sad, few stories on the subject have wrenched the heart like Liz Navratil’s Jan. 22 account of the life and death of 20-year-old Casey Schwartzmier.
    If she died of an overdose, she told her mom, she wanted her story told. Michelle Schwartzmier honored her request with a candid obit, and Liz took it from there, compiling a deeply detailed, eloquent narrative on a tight deadline for Sunday’s paper.
    Casey wanted her story to save at least one person from addiction. Let’s hope it did.
  • Pam Panchak’s Jan. 18 shot of the demolition of the last screen at the Twin Hi-Way Drive In Theater in Robinson was a beaut. Pam captured an excavator in mid attack, as bricks and other debris tumbled to the ground. The shot rightly ran on A-1.


  • Peter Smith, who wrote a moving eulogy for Father Michael Scanlan of Franciscan University sent along kudos — well-deserved — to Haley Nelson for her moving shots of the wake.


  • Nate Guidry gets a shout out, too, for a Jan. 9 photo that laid bare the sadness of an Ohio Township fire that killed 15-year-old Hannah Milbert. His photo showed the remnants of a garage, with unrecognizable pieces of debris filling the rest of the frame, right up to Nate’s feet.
    Karen Kane handled the reporting on this weekend story and, as is her custom, managed to fill the piece with biographical information and quotes that can be difficult to pry from people involved in a tragedy. She followed up her initial story with a Jan. 13 piece that led with a gripping account of how Hannah’s parents tried to save her from the blaze.
  • Karen has a knack for compassionate but frank telling of these kinds of stories, as anyone who has followed her coverage of the missing Fowler twins can attest. Her work on this story included a powerful takeout Jan. 1 followed by stories Jan. 28 and 29, respectively, on the mother’s disappearance and arrest.
  • Ed Blazina passed along his praise for the Jan. 22 NFL Sunday Playoff Xtra, which depicted a football as the Death Star from “Star Wars” and the New England Patriots as the evil Galactic Empire. Dan Marsula and Ben Howard were the creative geniuses behind this awesome graphic, which included an attacking Steelers logo shaped like the Millennium Falcon.
    Unfortunately for Steelers fans, the princes of light fell to the forces of darkness this time. But that’s OK. Before you know it, the heroic, fearless rebels will be regrouping at their base in Latrobe.

This is not a comprehensive list of the outstanding work our members did in January. There isn’t space for that. We do, however, want to make shout-outs a regular feature of the newsletter and we want to cover as many newsroom departments as possible. So when you notice good work, please let us know.

Monthly Guild raffle

phipps_logo_colorCongratulations to Anya Sostek, winner of the last newsletter’s raffle of a restaurant gift card. We’re headed smack into spring, so this month, let’s raffle off two passes to the spring flower show at . If you’re interested, send an email to by March 5. Put “Phipps” in the subject line.


8krb2t2nSave the Dates:

The Guild’s spring party is tentatively scheduled for April 8 at Pints on Penn, an establishment owned by our own Matt Freed. More details to follow. We had our spring party here last year and got excellent feedback, so we’ve decided on an encore.

It’s time to mark your calendars for next summer’s Newspaper Guild outing at PNC Park with the Pittsburgh PiratesPittsburgh_Pirates10

Because of very limited offerings at 4 p.m., this year we will go with a game at 7:05 p.m. on July 15 with the St. Louis Cardinals. We have reserved 100 tickets for the game, which will include a free hat for the group and a T-shirt giveaway by the team.

We expect to have the pre-game tailgate at the same place, the parking lot at the corner of Ninth and General Robinson streets. Ed Blazina will be in touch about the cost and reserving tickets once the snow melts and we get closer to the event.



Guild-Gazette: October 2016



We did some amazing work in October.

  • The PG’s coverage of the local dining scene is diverse and exciting, just like the restaurants and bars that are opening their doors here. October’s offerings included Mark Belko’s piece on a new cigar bar Downtown and Dana Cizmas’ story on the improbable success of the Pittsburgh pickle guys, and even though it appeared in November, we’ll also sneak in mention of Diana Nelson Jones’ story on the cafe and restaurant coming to Homewood.

    The PG is smartly playing these stories across the paper — in biz, mag and local — to reflect the impact the new businesses are having on our culture, economy and neighborhoods.


  • If you see you colleagues do good work, let us know, as Jon Silver did here:

    “what an incredibly poignant photo by darrell. let’s give him a shout out, no?”

    He was referring to Darrell Sapp’s photo of newborn Ella Diekman and her liver donor, Amanda Crow, 25. The photo was taken when the two met for the first time at Children’s Hospital. As Courtney Linder reported, Ms. Crow decided to donate part of her liver even though she had no connection to Ella’s family.  Without a liver, Ella would have lived just a couple of years.

  • Speaking of poignant photos, check out Rebecca Droke’s Oct. 6 shot of Andre Heinz leaning in to kiss his mom, Teresa Heinz, at an Oct. 5 event commemorating her leadership of the Heinz Endowments.

  • The New York Times is revered for its obituaries, but do their writers have anything on ours? We don’t think so. Take a look at Jon Silver’s marvelous story on Mary Cavasina, a trailblazing Canonsburg doctor.

  •  Mike Henninger sent along kudos, too, regarding Biz’s big project on the power grid:

    Zack Tanner did a hell of a job designing this project”:
    Yes, he did, and Daniel Moore did terrific work with the conception and execution of this project, and Mike did a great job with the photography. Congratulations all around.

This is not a comprehensive list of the outstanding work our members did in October. There isn’t space for that. We do, however, want to make shout-outs a regular feature of the newsletter and we want to cover as many newsroom departments as possible. So when you notice good work, please let us know.


gold-star-2-1A warm welcome back to Bob Batz and Scott Mervis, who have returned to the newsroom after extended convalescences. We missed you!

gold-star-2-1Congratulations to our Guild president, Mike Fuoco, whose continuing coverage of the Jim Fogle odyssey won first place in the Special Report/Series division of the William A. Schnader Print Media Awards. The awards are sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis law firm. (Fogle, if you don’t recall, spent decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Mike is following his transition to life on the outside.)

Monthly Guild raffle

sarris-candiesCongratulations also to Anya Sostek, who won the raffle for $50 in movie gift cards anonymously donated by Guild members. This month, let’s raffle a gift card to Sarris Candies (or a chocolatier of the winner’s choice). To enter, send an email to by Dec. 10. Put “chocolate” in the subject line.


social-list-thumb-3-640x552Join your colleagues for some holiday cheer. The annual Guild holiday party will be held  from 7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 3 at Social in East Liberty. The cost is $15 for Guild members and their guests. Enjoy lots of good food and an open bar. For tickets, see Mike Fuoco, Melissa Tkach, Alyssa Brown, Molly Born or Dan Gigler.