Regular readers will have noticed two new bylines here: our summer interns. We asked them to, while they’re working on a lot of other good stuff, write a little something about each other.
Delaney knew she wanted to work in a newsroom this summer, and she was initially excited when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette accepted her internship application. But it only took a quick Google search to find out that many of the PG’s workers were on strike. She found PUP during a class at Penn while surfing around for info about the strike, and she emailed interim editor Bob Batz Jr.
“I thought, ‘There’s a strong chance I’ll never hear back,’” she said. “He got back in an hour.”
With funding from Penn’s RealArts program, she accepted an internship at PUP, and lives with a high school friend in Squirrel Hill. She’s had the opportunity to build on her experience with Penn’s student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, where she was the news assignments editor. It was busy work, training incoming freshmen and editing three to five stories a day. She pivoted last semester, writing features at 34th Street Magazine.
“I like writing human interest stories and talking to people for a long time,” she said. “Interviews that feel more like a conversation.”
An English major, she grew up as a “huge book nerd” and realized her love for writing early on. After moving on from a childhood dream of being an author or poet, she looked to journalism.
She was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia, not far from Washington, D.C., but her family has roots in Pittsburgh. Her great-grandfather on her dad’s side was a union organizer at Westinghouse Air Brake in the early 1900s. Some of her family is still in the area.
She’s enjoyed her first few weeks of exploring the city.
“I like it so far,” she said. “There’s more going on in terms of hills, rivers and bridges. I like seeing mountains of houses and living further out from the center of the city.” She’s checked out coffee shops with her friend and roommate. Coffee Tree Roasters and Big Dog Coffee are two favorites.
Her hobbies include reading and cooking. She’s happy to have broken out of the “trap” of only reading for school and noted two favorite books: “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt and “On the Jellicoe Road“ by Melina Marchetta.
She calls herself a “big meal prep girl” and likes cooking homemade mac and cheese. “It’s much quicker than you imagine.”
She’s had the chance to write a few great stories for PUP so far, including a fun trip outside Acrisure Stadium during the Taylor Swift Eras Tour.
This summer at the Pittsburgh Union Progress, intern Harrison is keeping it local — seeking out and telling slice-of-life tales in the city he calls home.
From covering the origins of an upstart rugby league to following along a dedicated river clean-up crew to write about a day on their houseboats, human interest in local culture drives his coverage. It’s fitting that his favorite artist is Mac Miller — the tragic rap hero who grew up and jump-started his career in Pittsburgh, earning hometown loyalty.
As a Pittsburgh expert, Hamm has plenty of recommendations. Best view in the city, he says? It’s (almost) in his own backyard. After going all the way up a hill in his O’Hara neighborhood to access his friend’s yard, you’ll be greeted with a view of the Downtown skyline and rivers that rivals the Inclines in terms of splendor.
“Random strangers will go in his yard to look out at it,” he says with a laugh.
His book of choice also has personal connections: to both the greater region and his family. His mother, a librarian, gifted him a copy of “Demon Copperhead,” which shines a light on the natural beauties and dangers of the Appalachian mountains.
For almost a decade now, he has cultivated a love for journalism. In sixth grade, he started writing daily updates for his own sports blog on WordPress — keeping up with the routine even though, he jokes, “The [articles] were terrible. My dad was the only one who read it.”
Persistence proved key for Hamm, though: He continued to write prolifically about all kinds of sports, and midway through high school, he freelanced an article for the Washington Post analyzing Lionel Messi’s role in the 2018 World Cup. It’s one of the pieces that he’s proudest of and a major step along the road in his journalism journey.
It was at Denison University, where he will be a senior in the fall, that he got the advice that led him to apply to PUP. The long-time advisor of the student paper — for which Hamm wrote and edited — suggested that he cold-email local papers he was interested in.
Though PUP Batz was taken somewhat by surprise at the idea of a “strike paper” intern, they worked out a plan for Hamm to work there for the summer.
While he hopes to pursue journalism, possibly in the Pittsburgh area, he has been careful to avoid putting all of his eggs in that basket. As he says, “Journalism is not the easiest thing to get into,” especially in today’s landscape. He’s been practical with his major: politics and public affairs, which would allow him to work with communications or policy analysis as a more stable career option.
Whatever the next step is for Hamm, the writer will continue to cover his bases. After he was committed to interning for PUP, the PG offered him a internship spot, so he told the PG’s intern manager to “keep me in mind” if the strike ends before the summer. “I have no idea how he reacted to that,” he concludes with a chuckle, “but yeah.”