PBS’s Heffner on ‘Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age’

The “incivility of bigotry” has resulted in a society unable to come together across difference, Alexander Heffner said during a keynote lecture at Allegheny College on Thursday.

“The incivility of bigotry does not mean the incivility of purely racism or xenophobia or nativism. The incivility of bigotry is the incapacity of our society to rationalize and reason with disparate political objectives and constituencies,” Heffner, host of “The Open Mind” on PBS, said to 100 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center.

“When you have a bigoted attitude or mindset it precludes you from having an exchange that is thoughtful and deliberative and fruitful in what it yields.”

Heffner has covered American politics, civic life and Millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign.  He founded and edited SCOOP08 and SCOOP44, the first-ever national student newspapers covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama administration.

“The Open Mind” is billed as a “thoughtful excursion into the world of ideas across politics, media, technology, the arts and all realms of civic life,” and is the longest-running public broadcast in the history of American television.

Heffner’s lecture, “Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age: The Quest for a Post-Partisan Citizenship,” was hosted by the President’s Office, the Center for Political Participation, Journalism in the Public Interest, and the Provost’s Office.

The 2016 presidential primary campaign epitomized “the overall bigotry” that mars our discourse, Heffner said. Increasingly, we see each other not as Americans but as Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, he said.

That view results in a “refusal to disagreeably agree,” to compromise, Heffner said.

“There is a deliberative process that is supposed to engender disagreement debate and, ultimately, some declaration: the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Human Rights, whatever that may be, those declaration of joint values are now quite absent in the overall political picture of our country.”

In the political arena, the inability to compromise leads to dysfunction and a lack of bipartisan support, Heffner said.

“There are no common priorities,” he said. “If there are no common priorities, then the game is tit for tat. The game is a battle of rhetoric. … (American politics) has always been hardball, but it’s not always been a sport that has objectives for partisan, political or individual gain as opposed to collective gain.”

That’s not to say there’s no hope. Heffner’s visit included a breakfast workshop and classes with students, which he noted in this speech.

“There were young people at your college,” he said, “who were quite energized and proudly considering their responsibility in upending the cycle of incivility.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #7

During my final week of my internship with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I worked extensively on two my my favorite pieces of the whole summer. I feel that these two pieces really showcased my growth as a journalist over the last ten weeks and are probably my best pieces of work from the summer.

I got to interview the man who created the Sheetz, M-T-O concept 30 years ago. M-T-O is what made Sheetz stand out from every other gas station and convenience store around the area. He was the brain behind the touch screens, made to order meals, and the unusual combinations of food that you had the ability to order. He still works for the company today after 30 years when he started as a manager of a store in Maryland.

Overall, I just really enjoyed the interview process of this piece and I tried to make this one of my better stories for the PG so I could leave on a good note.

The second piece, ironically enough, is about Sheetz as well. But with this story, I basically sparked an idea in my editor’s head about turning it into a great concept for a story. Sheets has started to create stores that eliminated the selling of fuel but added more food options to the location. They are calling their new concept a, Sheetz Cafe, and it will be exclusively on or near college or university campuses.

Long story short, I wanted to find out if there would be any locations coming to any of the Pittsburgh universities or colleges in the future. Recently a Sheetz Cafe opened up in Indiana, PA near IUP but the first two locations were in Morgantown, WV near WVU and in State College, PA by Penn State.

This idea alone creates a foundation for a good story in my opinion, especially when Sheetz is only getting bigger and bigger and spreading across the area.

These two stories allowed for me to showcase my journalism skills and write two quality pieces of work right before my internship ended in Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, they won’t be published until Sunday, so stay tuned for the story recaps and also my overall summer reflection with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In the meantime, checkout my colleague Anthony Mendicino’s recent work from his experience with the Post-Gazette. He covered the up and coming singer and songwriter Halsey, and her concert at Stage AE in Pittsburgh in his piece, Halsey takes Pittsburgh to the Badlands. Anthony is a recent graduate form Point Park University in Pittsburgh and is working with the PG until late August hoping to receive a job offer. Anthony and I got super close during our internship and I know me and him will stay in contact as our journalism careers pan out. He has a bright future ahead of him.  

 

Shea Beaumont ’17

 

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #6

Since my last blog, I have gotten the opportunity to experience some pretty interesting things at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

First, I got to cover a breaking news shift on a Sunday. That was different for me because I’m not used to working on Sundays for one, and two the news room has a completely different atmosphere.

I probably saw about 5 people all day in the office, but in the city of Pittsburgh, I saw thousands because of the beautiful day and the Pirates were playing.

Even though I didn’t get to cover any official breaking news, I was given a pretty cool assignment in return. I got to walk along the edge of the water on the riverwalk and talk to boaters, joggers, and pirates fans about why they were out in the heat that day.

If you’re wondering why that was assigned, well there was a heat advisory that was in effect the whole day because the temperature was in the upper 90’s with a heat index feeling like 110 or 115 degrees. And trust me, walking up and down the riverwalk allowed for me to feel the wrath of that heat.

The majority of the people were just taking advantage of an unusual beautiful Pittsburgh day by catching some sun and lounging on the water or were Buccos fans on their way into PNC Park. Some people were bicycling and jogging which baffled me, but I guess if you get into a routine of exercising, the weather really doesn’t affect you.

You can read that story titled, In Pittsburgh, it’s not hard to find ways to beat the heaton the PPG website.

On a side note, my story on the Steel City Ambassadors drum and bugle corp from Pittsburgh finally got published. I worked on that for over a month so I was certainly hyping it up to say the least. You can read that piece titled, Steel City Ambassadors drum and bugle corp brings back the golden agealso on the website.

My next story that I worked on was covering the local and county fairs of Pennsylvania and compiling information on them with fellow interns Alexis Book (Canisius College) and Anthony Mendicino (Point Park University). You can check that story out titled County Fair season rolls in, especially if you have a love or interest for demolition derbies, pig races, tractor pulls, or just getting a ole’ country experience.

The last great experience of the week was receiving a tour of where the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette physically prints all of their copies of the paper every day. We covered the whole process of each and every story reaching the facility in Clinton, PA from the North Shore location ready to be printed. Each story goes through a printing process and once the process is complete then the papers are ready to be distributed across Allegheny County. I couldn’t believe the size of the facility as we continued to walk through different sections throughout the tour. It seemed to just keep getting bigger and extending further and further to where my eyesight faded away. It was an overall great opportunity to experience for all of the interns along with myself, to see the process from editorial to print each and every day,

Stay posted for my next blog, as it will include an interesting story on the powerhouse convenience store/gas station chain, Sheetz, and the main individual who serves as the backbone of their success.

 

Shea Beaumont ’17

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #5

At this point in my internship, I’ve covered just about everything that I never thought I would ever cover. I haven’t even covered a story in the sports section. Thinking to myself…that’s what I came here to do. I wanted to be a sports reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette all summer. But that was not the case.

But the thing is, I couldn’t be happier with where I stand as a features department intern because you essentially learn about everything else that’s out there in the world. The world doesn’t just revolve around sports and neither does the world of journalism and reporting. It is about covering what the people want to hear about, and in the features section, we have that covered. And I mean everything.

For instance, I had four recent stories in the paper and they all were different from one another.

The first was on a couple who found love through the social media platform, Instagram, a photo and video sharing app. Adam Martin is from Pittsburgh and Christina Tarantola is from Brooklyn. Adam had a post with a picture of himself promoting a health conscious frozen yogurt bar to his followers for his business and Christina was captured by it. After that, they hit it off and now plan on getting married within the next year. You can learn more about this unique love story on the Post-Gazette website in the article titled Pittsburgh and Brooklynite find love through Instagram.

The next story was about a local hip-hop and rap group from Pittsburgh called LAZYBLACKMAN. Yes, you read that write. LAZY JP and Barz BLACKMAN formed the group who is known for remixing old school jams and making them their own. They’ve recently released an album and are beginning to perform the songs from that tracklist at their upcoming shows. You can find them on YouTube and Soundcloud but first, read the article titled LAZYBLACKMAN travels back in time with ‘RAWLAW LP’.

The last two articles you can learn more about the background in my previous post but you can find them here: Observatory Hill’s Neighborhood history Tour offers a look back to the past and Vintage Grand Prix ‘legend’ reaches homestretch of his career. These are both pretty interesting and were about popular events in the Pittsburgh area.

All in all, each of my stories have been different at this point in my internship and it has only helped me widen my skill set, and become comfortable with a variety of topics the public wants to learn about. With all of these stories and subjects covered in my time with the PPG, I have gained a lot of great experience that will help me succeed in my journalistic future.

Stay tuned for some newer stories this week and in my next post! The Steel City Ambassadors story will surely be an interesting one.

Shea Beaumont ’17

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #4

The past few weeks of my internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have certainly slowed down a little for the most part in terms of workload, but I’ve had the opportunity to go out and cover some interesting stories..

To start, the stories that I’ve been working on have been some of the most interesting and fun stories to cover. The subjects that I had to interview were some of the most intriguing people that I’ve ever had the chance to talk to in my life.

For example, I got assigned a story on the Steel City Ambassadors. This was a group of men who have been a part of Western Pennsylvania’s most impressive bugle corps over the years. The Steel City Ambassadors have formed in more recent years and continue to play their instruments at local events and parades.

I was fortunate enough to have the ability to interview their most experienced member. His name is Amerigo “Riggie” Laus and he is 91 years old. This guy was one of the most interesting individuals that I’ve ever met in my entire life. To this day he still continues to play the bugle and the trumpet.

Another great opportunity that I had the chance to be a part of was the Observatory Hill tour in the North Side of Pittsburgh. There was a walking tour being held there for the public but I had the opportunity to receive a personal tour before anyone else. An archivist from the University of Pittsburgh gave me a personal tour of the area. To say the least, I learned a heck of a lot more than I ever thought there was to learn about that specific history in Pittsburgh. The history of Observatory Hill runs deep throughout the area.

Lastly, my favorite story of the week was interviewing 72-year-old, Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Legend, J.J. Hoover. He has been racing in the Grand Prix for 23 years and he has finally decided to hang up his racing boots for good. He has been racing for over 55 years of his life and has owned some of the most famous cars known to man. For example, he owned a 1965 Shelby American Cobra Dragonsnake which was one of four ever made. It was eventually auctioned off for $1,750,000….and lets just say that he wasn’t the seller.

And to top my week off, I received two handwritten letters from two very influential people in my life. My fourth grade teacher Ms. Gilden and President Mullen saying they were proud of me and my accomplishments with the Post-Gazette so far this summer completely made my experience that much better. Both of these individuals have had an extreme impact in my life. Ms. Gilden loved my fourth grade class so much that she decided to retire after we all moved onto fifth grade. She sent us into our final year of elementary school already prepared for the “big bad” middle school that wasn’t coming for another year of school. She will always be one of my favorite teachers I’ve ever had in my life. And for President Mullen, just receiving a handwritten letter in general from the President of the college that you attend is a great feeling. I was ecstatic after opening up a letter signed by him on Allegheny letterhead and I couldn’t be happier with where I stand at this point in my journalism career.

Shea Beaumont ’17

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #3

As I finished my fourth week working at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I’ve realized that I’ve covered a variety of topics within the features department. From food, to music, and education plus the community, I’ve covered it all so far. For those of you that don’t know, I selected to be placed into the sports department for the internship, but I ended up receiving features.

At first, to be completely honest, I was a little disappointed with being placed in a section that I really didn’t want to cover, but now my mind has completely changed.

Just to have the ability and receive the opportunity to work for one of the top newspapers in the country is a giant privilege in itself. And that’s how you have to look at it in my position. I’m gaining experience in something that is very broad and could help me in a wide array of ways.  I already know a lot about sports because I’ve been around them my whole life. So, to be in the features department is a blessing in disguise because it helps sharpen and widen my skill set for the future when I start to market myself during the job search.

One quote that stands out in my mind was from one of my editors, Kevin Kirkland. He said, “Don’t be like everyone else, try to make yourself as marketable as possible and don’t feel obligated to stay close to home because in the end, companies hire the most marketable people.”

I thought about this for awhile because I’ve been thinking about my future after I graduate from Allegheny. Thinking to myself, I’d love to stay close to home, but in the end I feel like getting out of my comfort zone and moving to a different, and newer city as a journalist would be my best bet. I would be able to show whoever I’m looking to work for down the road, how I got put in a new city where I was unfamiliar with everything, but was able to successfully cover stories and make my mark. I feel like that would really help me in the long run.

As far as stories this past week, I had three bylines in the newspaper and 1 front page appearance.

My first story, my mentor (Arthi, the food editor) had me drive an hour and a half to a Burger King in Hermitage, PA to try out their newest test market creation called the Whopperito. It was essentially a Whopper with a tortilla wrap instead of the bun. Surprisingly it was pretty good, so I wrote a review on that. It was titled Burger King meshes Whopper and burrito for a Whopperito. 

Next, I wrote about the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which is based off of customer surveys and records the levels of satisfaction for both limited and full-service restaurants around the country. Their new report for 2016 came out last week and Chick-fil-A and Cracker Barrel topped the other competition. Check out my story here: Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel top in customer satisfaction. 

Lastly was my article that was on the front page. In Pittsburgh, there is a park in Aspinwall called the Riverfront Park and they just allowed for people to gain access to the water. They also just added a kayak rental center through a company called Venture Outdoors and their Kayak Pittsburgh Project. This was a big story in Pittsburgh because we are known for our rivers, bridges, and different views from around the city. This specific park offers a new vantage point from the river for the kayakers and people in the community. The story was called Popular new riverfront park adds kayak rentals on the Allegheny.

In addition to the story, there is also a pretty exciting side note to it. Our local news station in Pittsburgh, KDKA, has Gretchen McKay, one of the long time cooking and food reporters from the Post-Gazette come to the set every day. What she does is pretty cool. She talks about some articles in the paper that will be big stories during that specific day or on the weekend. I sit by her at my desk and she told me on Friday that she was going to feature my article on the news and I was ecstatic. That was just a great feeling to see how far I’ve come with the quality of my work and it only got me more excited about looking ahead to my future.

So far, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has offered me an experience of a lifetime.

And to think…I still have the rest of the summer with them.

 

Shea Beaumont ’17

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #2

After finally getting settled in at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and getting my first byline in the paper, I have been writing stories left and right.

I haven’t been used to turning over stories on the same day that they were assigned. For The Campus you get almost a full week to setup your interviews and get your story turned in.

I would like to add, that this was no longer the case for me.

I could’ve sworn it was every day that an editor or my mentor was pitching a new story to me to turn it in on the same day. At first, I thought I wasn’t ready for that but after the first story I got to cover, I enjoyed the pressure and suspense of meeting a strict deadline and working down to the wire. The real world of journalism can better be explained as truly ‘living in the fast lane’…of writing that is.

My second byline was about a new drone training course that was being added to the curriculum of the Community College of Allegheny County and was being offered by SkyOp. This is considered the first course that SkyOp has ever offered in the state of Pennsylvania. The college had a press conference in the wake of this new class at the Pittsburgh campus.

The article was in the local news section of the paper and was titled CCAC introduces its first drone training course. 

The next story I covered was on a local Pittsburgh rock ‘n’ roll band that plays a style of music similar to the legends of rock, Aerosmith, AC/DC, & Guns N’ Roses.

The band, Gene the Werewolf was performing at a local venue in the Strip District of Pittsburgh called, The Altar Bar, but also releasing their album simultaneously. Everyone who attended the concert received a free copy of their new album, “The Loner”.

This story was very fun to cover and very interesting solely because I don’t listen to rock or even know a thing about it. But after listening to this band play live, they completely changed my mind. Not to mention, I had never previously wrote a music review, so it was definitely a little challenging.

This story was placed in the Weekend Magazine section of the Post-Gazette which is sent out to subscribers every Thursday.

I called the article, Gene the Werewolf is a big bad wolf on ‘The Loner’.

Last but certainly not least, was my favorite story of them all. The one that I had begun working on as soon as I started with the Post-Gazette and took me around two weeks to complete. This story also found its way onto the Weekend magazine edition of the paper.

The Turkish restaurant owner was a remarkable man with a great story and a great mindset on how to create and maintain a successful business establishment. Before you know it, Istanbul Sofra, located in Regent Square of Pittsburgh, will be known by everyone and not only for it’s amazing food, but its top-notch hospitality and environment. This story is what I’m most proud of as an intern for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

I feel that my article, Turkish restaurant owner continues to make an impact in the Pittsburgh area, is one of my better pieces of work, but I’m only looking to get better.

So far, this internship has been the most exciting and constructive experience in my entire life. I’ve already learned so much and had so much fun doing what I love as a journalist, that I never want this feeling to end.

I truly enjoy going to work every day, despite sitting in the bumper to bumper traffic on the Parkway for an hour and a half everyday on the way into the city, I couldn’t possibly complain.

My life is great!

 

-Shea Beaumont ’17

Shea Beaumont Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Internship #1

Throughout the first week of my internship with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette I got to meet a lot of great reporters and editors from one of the top newspapers around the World.

When I walked into the “newest newsroom in the country”, it was like what you would see in a movie. Computers and desks mapped out the space with reporters and editors scurrying around the room in every direction, clearly with nothing but deadline on their minds.

For myself, and the other 28 interns, we sat in a meeting room for the first two days while getting the chance to meet each other and having orientation to help get accustomed to working in an environment that we were not used to.

This was the real world.

They promised us that this was the best journalistic internship that is offered for college students because, at the Post-Gazette, they treat you like one of the employees.

Before making my way to my desk, I had a meeting with my features editors to discuss what was expected of us and what they wanted to see us get out of the internship. They said that there will always be a story for us to cover but preferred us to come up with and pitch our own.

When I got back to my desk, I got the chance to meet my mentor. Every intern was assigned a mentor who would check in with us weekly to make sure everything was going well. The mentors could also assign us assignments to cover. My mentor is Arthi Subramaniam, the food editor of the paper. Needless to say, my first story wasn’t about food, but about the owner of the #1 restaurant in all of Pittsburgh. A Turkish restaurant called Istanbul Sofra which serves a variety of Mediterranean cuisine. To make a long story short, this was the most interesting piece that I’ve ever worked on and the first big piece that I worked on for the internship so I instantly got excited to realize that this would be my job all summer long. The piece just finished up late last week and will be published on June 16th.

While starting my first assignment, my mentor, who sits right across from me, pitched another story for me to take with a quick turn around of just a few hours. After she told me what she wanted me to do, that was the point where I realized that I was going to love my job. She wanted me to write a food review on the Pittsburgh Arts Festival and to taste a variety of foods then come back to the office and write about what I thought about them. To be honest, I never wrote about food, and I wasn’t familiar how to write about it but I thought about how awesome it was to be covering food. Who doesn’t love to eat?

The story was featured on the front page of the magazine section on June 4, 2016. It was titled Please your palate at the Three Rivers Arts Festival

After seeing my name in the hometown newspaper I grew up reading, I realized that there is always a chance to achieve your goals, and working for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was one of those for me. I’m excited to be working for them all summer and to see what the future has in store for me.

This next week coming up, I will hopefully have more than a few bylines in the paper, so If you get a chance, make sure to check them out!

 

Shea Beaumont ’17

Mauroni Named Finalist in Mark of Excellence Awards

Angela Mauroni ’17, news editor for The Campus, was a finalist in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. The MOE Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year. The awards were presented at the Region I spring conference in New Haven, Connecticut on April 10. Region 1, the largest of the 12 SPJ regions, includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Junior News Editor Alex Weidenhof ’18 traveled to New Haven to accept the award on behalf of Angela and The Campus.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Hatch Earns Journalism Award for Newspaper Column

Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism in the Public Interest Cheryl Hatch earned the third place award – for her column in the Meadville Tribune – in the Opinions category of the 2016 Excellence in Journalism Awards of the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. The awards recognize the best of journalism coverage in Pennsylvania.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research