South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Readers respond to: What The Reporter means to me


Last updated 1/9/2020 at 10:16am

Several weeks ago, I wrote a little story explaining what The Reporter has meant to me over the years. I wrote about some of the opportunities and experiences I had because of my life-long association with the weekly newspaper.

I also asked you to tell me what The Reporter has meant to you over the years. Some of you were generous with your time and have responded. Others told me how much they enjoyed my story and were thinking out theirs and would be s ending one in soon.

The following are some of the letters I’ve received so far.

The first one was from Anne Parys in South Side

Hi Tom,

 Great question! The South Pittsburgh Reporter is obviously a great source of local news, but what I really love is that every issue reminds me I am part of a neighborhood. I love to thumb through and see photos of friends and articles about events I attended (or missed!). It shines a light on our little corner of the world and ties together all of us who choose to make South Pittsburgh our home. I send press releases as part of my job. Over the years, the number of neighborhood papers has dwindled, so I am acutely aware of how lucky we are to have The Reporter. May we have another 80 years.

Lois Perry wrote:

I absolute try to get the Southside Reporter weekly. I love reading it. If we didn’t have it how would we get detailed news for our neighborhood? Thank you so much for your service!

Another South Sider, Kitty Vagley, sent this along:

Hi Tom,

I have been in the South Side for about a decade and The Reporter has been a window, a connector and an instigator.

It has been a window into the close-by worlds that you cover and, but for you, I would have no clue about their nearness or their existence. You bring them to life and allow me to consider how I can serve as a neighbor.

The Reporter also serves as a connector, introducing me to the events going on and the people involved. It helps me to see the South Side communities as a neighborhood.

Your paper is an instigator too. In getting the word out regarding meeting times and happenings, you equip me and others with the information we need to get involved and contribute to change.

I know that you spend far too many hours at meetings and producing the paper but it is such a valuable service. The South Side would be so much poorer without it. What else can build community in such a powerful fashion?

Kitty Vagley

Also –

Thank you for sharing this story ...and of maintaining the paper which has always been useful to those of us who live in the South Side. More than that, your paper has helped us see the community that we live in and the reasons why we live here. We are fortunate to have a living print newspaper in these difficult times for the media. Keep up the good work!


And finally for today, from Aaron Sukenik, executive director of the Hilltop Alliance:

Foremost, The Reporter’s coverage of what’s going on in South Pittsburgh communities is important to me and to the work of the Hilltop Alliance.

In the 1980s, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill used to famously say “All politics is local”. But today, as “New Localism” author Bruce Katz has turned around the famous saying, “All politics is national, all solutions are local”. This means that solutions, more than ever, are happening through public-private partnerships and local government, who’s politics and policy priorities originate with communities and community-based organizations. 

The Reporter’s close attention to community organizations, public meetings, local government activities, and news in neighborhoods, is more important today than ever. The community level is where the solutions to most public issues are born. By keeping citizens closer in touch with the organizations working in their community, we can hope to expand citizen participation and build a stronger, more resilient south Pittsburgh. The Reporter provides this connection and without it, we could take a step backwards. 

Tom, you realized all of this decades ago. From going to all of these meetings and learning about what all of these organizations have the power to do, you took a committed interest in covering the activities of the organizations doing work on-the-ground. You saw the potential that could be unleashed, and with that, became personally involved. I am certainly thankful that you did. That’s how we met, and that combined with the south Pittsburgh opportunities that arose and relationships that were built over the years, all converges to explaining how I ended up in this career and this position.

Aaron Sukenik

Others had questions, such as “What happened to the other pages?” and “Why don’t you print the real estate transfers anymore?”

The number of pages The South Pittsburgh Reporter is dependent upon the amount of advertising within those pages. Over the years we’ve published as many as 24 weekly pages and lately, due to the declining amount of advertising, we’ve been printing the minimum of four.

As far as no longer printing the real estate transfers, see the above answer about declining amount of advertising. RealStats provides the real estate transfers as a subscription service. Originally, we had a sponsor for the service. When that advertiser was no longer able to sponsor the services, we continued to print the transfers because they were one of, if not the, most popular features of The Reporter. Unfortunately, with declining advertising sales and the inability to secure a sponsor for the service we were forced to discontinue the service.

I’m still hoping to receive more of your letters, these and in the future, will be posted on our website,, under the Opinion link.

So, let me know what your connection to The South Pittsburgh Reporter is; How has it affected your life or how it continues to affect you now. The addresses again are: P.O. Box 4285, Pittsburgh, PA 15203; Email:; and, for those who still fax: 412-488-8011.


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