Gazette 2.0 helps McKees Rocks tell its own stories

Gazette 2.0 helps McKees Rocks tell its own stories

By Andrew Conte

For several weeks this spring, Gazette 2.0 in McKees Rocks invited readers to come out on a Saturday afternoon for a journalism workshop. Nineteen people turned up on April 13 to talk about media coverage and story ideas over free pizza. People came from across the newspaper’s coverage areas in Moon, Robinson, Stowe, Kennedy, Coraopolis, Thornburg, Crafton, Ingram, Neville Island and McKees Rocks.

The group met in the back room of the Fox’s Pizza Den, where NFL helmets hung mounted to the walls next to photos of Steelers players, and arcade games played an electronic serenade in the background. Sonny Jani, who started Gazette 2.0 when the local newspaper closed in 2017, also owns the pizza shop.

Residents talked about how they believe when the media covers their western neighborhoods, stories tends to focus primarily on negative news such as crimes and fires. The good stories go under-reported or unnoticed. 

So what topics are being missed? Some are happy stories about the region’s history, its affordability, academic successes and business developments. Others are more challenging such as gentrification, lack of government transparency, education problems and access to information and services. 

Most significantly, the people who came out said they feel an ownership of their own story.