South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Roberta Smith was The Reporter

 

September 28, 2021



Roberta Smith was The Reporter. 

Roberta made The Reporter a household necessity. Everything that you needed to know was in there. She attended every meeting ...everywhere...and reported on it. It became more important than the Pittsburgh Press, the Post-Gazette, or the Sun Telegraph, because it was local, it was factual, and she knew what people wanted to know.

You knew where every meeting was, what time, who would be there and why. You just had to have one!... you would go out of your way to get one, and if you couldn’t find one, you would call someone else to see what was going on that week. If you happened to have two...you shared. She knew what the people wanted and she provided it...week after week.

To actually know Roberta was even better. She took notes in shorthand...she knew people...if she didn’t, she would get to know them. She could spot a “phony right away, just like she could spot a fake news item......She would photograph cute pictures of kids before she would photograph an upcoming politician. People’s names were spelled correctly because she took the time to make sure they were spelled correctly...she knew what questions to ask, and how to get to the bottom of things...she liked what she was doing and she was serious about it... she expected comments and at times faced harsh criticism, but she believed in providing the news like a true professional...like it or not.

When she took over the local newspaper, she was determined that a woman, a mother, a female, a housewife, could run a weekly newspaper and do it well. And she did. Yes, there were those who thought she couldn’t, but she jumped right in and did it anyway.

That was Roberta.

If she was sitting in the audience of any particular meeting, and she thought she had something to contribute, or she thought she could help in any way...she did. She didn’t sit back, she wasn’t afraid to say what she had to say, but she did it with a purpose, not just to hear herself talk, she contributed and she helped, and more often than not, rose to become a member of a committee or to lead a particular project she believed in...she did it.

Roberta wasn’t all business, she enjoyed what she did, and she enjoyed the people she worked with and spent time with, and she was welcomed everywhere she went...not just because she had a camera and was there to report what was going on, but because she was a friend when you needed one, she was fun to be with, and yes, sometimes she would tell you what she thought you were doing wrong, but she did it in a way that was constructive and helpful.

The things she learned from being in groups and on committees, she passed on to other groups to help them grow and prosper and to avoid mistakes and errors she had witnessed in her experiences with former groups. She shared her wisdom to the benefit of those who heeded her words.

I don’t think any of us really knew all the different things she did, or all the different people she knew, or all of the interests she had...we all knew a part of her. She was all of the things she started out to be...female, wife, mother, Woman of the Year, she could whip up a conversation, a costume, a solution, as well as a batch of cookies, a cake, or a full Holiday meal. She did it.

Most of all, she made a difference. She left the world a better place because that was Roberta!

Ann Scharding

 

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