LOCAL NEWSPAPER: Changes galore in store for Gazette 2.0
Gazette 2.0 is excited to announce the following promotions, title changes and additions to our hyperlocal news organization.
Longtime Staff Writer Jamie Wiggan has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief, while former editor Caitlin Spitzer flexes her design skills as the Creative Director. The Stowe-based organization is also taking steps toward broadening sports coverage with the addition of two sports interns under the guidance of a Gannon University journalism professor.
to changing roles
New Editor-in-Chief Jamie Wiggan joined the paper in December 2018 as a freelance writer and quickly worked his way up the ranks. In addition to reporting on local communities, the Sheraden resident now carries more of a managerial role that includes coordinating with the citizen journalists who make up the freelance team on story assignments and editing.
“In a lot of respects, my job won’t change,” Wiggan said. “I’ll be taking on more responsibilities, such as managing the freelance team and working toward building the overall news content of the paper.
“You’ll still be seeing me at school board and municipal meetings poking my nose around.”
Spitzer has been with the paper since its November 2017 inception. She previously worked for the former Suburban Gazette as a graphic designer and became the glue that held the newsroom together when joining the Gazette 2.0 startup. Her duties ran the gamut from billing to ad sales, customer service to managing a team of writers, and everything in between.
More in tune with her career goals, Spitzer is now in charge of overseeing all visual and design-related aspects of Gazette 2.0’s print, online, advertising and social media presence.
The Crafton native and Pittsburgh Technical College graduate also has a redesign in the works for the paper and will be launching a graphic design and print-related arm for the company.
Spitzer is confident these newsroom changes will be for the better, allowing her to focus on her true passion of graphic design. While serving as editor-in-chief, graphic design became more of an afterthought, she said.
When offered a hands-on role in helping build a community newspaper from the ground up, Wiggan knew he’d found his place at Gazette 2.0.
“[I’m excited to be] part of the conversation with our partners at the [Pittsburgh Media Partnership] in terms of reimagining the future of news and how stories are told,” he said.
These newsroom adjustments were made as part of an effort to streamline workflow and make sure staffers were engaged and doing what they love.
Local sports a must
for community news
As Gazette 2.0 strives to build a sports department from scratch, the fledgling paper will be doing so with the volunteer help of former sportswriter Frank Garland, the journalism communication program director at Gannon University.
A Robinson native, Garland spent much of his journalism career covering sports and is the author of "Willie Stargell: A Life in Baseball" and "Arky: The Baseball Life of Joseph Floyd "Arky" Vaughan." He also has fond memories of writing his first sports bylines for the now defunct Suburban Gazette.
“The sports section of a local paper can attract a number of readers in any community, and that goes double for the communities that Gazette 2.0 covers,” Garland said. “I know from personal experience that readers in McKees Rocks, Stowe, Robinson and the other communities we serve certainly are passionate about their sports and will benefit from our expanded coverage.”
Garland will be working with interns from the University of Pittsburgh and Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) to create a community-based sports department for print, digital and online publication.
The interns will spend the summer reporting on high school and community-based sports while networking with athletic directors and coaches throughout the area.
Intern Dontae Washington is a recent graduate of CCAC with a degree in general studies. As he transfers and enters his third year of college at Point Park University, Washington is looking for guidance on what he may want to major in. After talking with multiple mentors and college staff about career prospects, the conversation always seemed to come back to journalism, he said.
“I lived in Pittsburgh all my life and growing up in my family you had no choice but to be a sports fan,” he said. “Growing up in that kind of atmosphere made me the person I am today. I watched, read and even wrote about sports whenever I had a chance. I even got a letter to the editor published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.