In a society where television and social media seem to dictate the stories and content we regularly consume, it’s easy to forget the importance of local news sources in keeping up with what’s happening in our communities and making the right decisions stay in our backyards. Katie Green – the editor of the Neighborhood News Network for Trib Total Media – is passionate about making local news sources a success.
In my interview with her, I was able to learn about her earliest efforts on the editorial board, her love of reading, and how her work in the Trib often reveals stark contrasts between what is considered relevant or newsworthy for residents in different areas of Allegheny district . Read our full interview below:
Where do you come from?
I’m from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, about half an hour south of Pittsburgh.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the University of Pittsburgh. My major was English writing with a focus on journalism.
What inspired you to become an editor?
Honestly, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a writer growing up – journalist, writer, anything to do with writing.
My career really started at The Pitt News, where I started as a staff writer in the arts and entertainment field and then served as an A&E editor for my final two semesters there.
I guess my career path is kind of unconventional as I’ve never really worked as a reporter. When I graduated, I was doing an internship with a publication called Whirl Magazine. I did an internship there and got hired as an editorial assistant, and within a year of graduation I became their editor-in-chief when I was around 22 or 23 years old. Looking back, I can’t believe that I had so much responsibility and that I made it.
You’ve been with Trib Total Media for a little over two years. Tell us about your career there.
I started here in May 2019. I run weekly and monthly community newspapers in Allegheny County and around 33 hyperlocal websites. It was interesting to be part of the build and see it come to life.
Local news and its importance to the communities are very important to me. You can turn on the TV and access your national and international news on social media, but as far as what’s going on in your community, your local council or school board, the only places that get coverage will be local Newspapers.
What happens at the local level and in the school board is so much more important and effective for the daily life of citizens than the bigger things.
As editor of the Neighborhood News Network, you oversee the Bethel Park Journal, North Journal, Sewickley Herald, Signal Item, and South Hills Record. What did you learn about the culture and communities in these different areas?
What was really revealing is to see that what is important or relevant in one community may not even be an issue in another community. Pittsburgh is such a diverse area, and there are times when neighboring communities struggle with entirely different situations.
For example, the Penn Hills School District was about $ 172 million in debt when I started two years ago for building a new high school and elementary school. Their taxes are high and this is a major problem for this district as the housing value is not very high.
At the same time there is the Quaker Valley School District in Sewickley. They are also getting a new school, but this section is about whether to build it on an existing lot or on a new lot in Leetsdale. It was decided to build it on the new lot in Leetsdale, but I get letters to the editor almost every week still arguing for or against building the school.
You previously worked as a freelance writer for Jambands.com. Can you tell me about your experience of checking CDs for them?
My interests are always in arts and entertainment. At one point in college my ultimate goal was to work for Rolling Stone Magazine. So doing freelance work for jambands was a step in that direction. A CD came in the mail every month – sometimes I knew the artist, sometimes I didn’t – and I just reviewed it. It was much fun.
What do you like to do outside of work?
This may come as a shock to you, but I love to read. My goal is to read 21 books by 2021. Stephen King is my all-time favorite author, and I read Stephen King’s It when I was in fifth grade.
I’m also married and have an eight year old son who plays soccer so my husband and I go to his soccer games.
Over the years, I’ve also tracked my family tree. It’s difficult because my ancestors have lived on my mother’s side in the United States for hundreds of years. I’m actually eligible to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. My father’s family is from Slovenia and Croatia and not only is it difficult to get records there, but they are in a different language and not on the internet, so it is much more difficult.
– Maggie Medoff, WordWrite