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