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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2019 at 8:09 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper 2019 Golden Quill award winners Tereneh Idia and Jared Wickerham - CP PHOTO: LISA CUNNINGHAM
CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
Pittsburgh City Paper 2019 Golden Quill award winners Tereneh Idia and Jared Wickerham
Last July, Jared Wickerham approached our editorial team with the idea of photographing the Pittsburgh Pirates with a Polaroid camera soon after he was hired as Pittsburgh City Paper's full-time staff photographer. It turned out to be an award-winning idea.

On Wed., May 29, he was awarded with two Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for his work: one for Craft Achievement – Photo Essay and the best-in-show Ed Romano Memorial Award: Photography, selected from all of this year's winners in photography categories.

A seasoned local sports photographer, Wickerham wanted a new way to capture the baseball games so many others have documented over the years. Every Sunday home game, the Pirates wore retro uniforms like the team wore in the 1970s. Wickerham decided to join them in that theme, armed with a vintage Polaroid SX-70 Model 1.

The players themselves were as excited to see the images as the rest of us. "Starling Marte, a guy who has undoubtedly been photographed a million times by hundreds of photographers, wanted to make sure he could get a copy of the Polaroid," wrote Wickerham in his intro to his essay.

You can see his award-winning photo essay here: Sunday Afternoons at PNC Park.

Another big winner from the evening was City Paper contributing writer Tereneh Idia, who took home the award for Excellence in Written Journalism, Daily – Columns/Blogs for her important columns on topics like race and adversity. Idia recently reached her first anniversary as the writer of City Paper's weekly Voices column, crediting popular Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman as the one for first encouraging her to start a column.

Read one of Idia's columns that helped earn her the award here: Who Gets to Be the (S)hero?

This was the first year that City Paper competed in the daily category against larger publications like Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In previous years, CP competed in the non-daily category but was bumped up for producing original content at least five days a week.

City Paper also had three Golden Quill finalists:

• News writer Ryan Deto in Excellence in Written Journalism, Daily – Business/Technology/Consumer for his story: Is the Pittsburgh Airport Building up a Flight Bubble?

• Music writer Jordan Snowden in Excellence in Written Journalism, Daily – Arts/Entertainment for her story: What Was It About Mac Miller That Connected With Pittsburghers?

• And, contributing writer Jessie Sage in Excellence in Written Journalism, Daily – Columns/Blogs for her column: Peepshow, a sex and social-justice column

For a full list of the winners and nominees, visit

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2019 at 11:53 AM

Several months after Amanda Waltz came on board as our senior A&E writer at Pittsburgh City Paper, and just a few days after I was named editor, she came to my desk and confided a secret, whispering the words Generation X bosses overseeing millennial staffs are most fearful of: "I have a podcast."

I soon realized why she hadn't confessed this to our former male editor. It wasn't just any podcast, she explained. It was about ghosts ... and sex. Ghoul on Ghoul, which Amanda records each week with her co-host, Sarah, promotes itself as "a supernatural sex-positive horror comedy podcast featuring first-person encounters with the paranormal."

It wasn't totally a shock. While Amanda is talented at writing both heavily reported news stories or diving head first into a multifaceted art review, she's also become known as the office deviate — the kind of person who will say anything on her mind without thinking twice. I mean that quite affectionately. She's refreshingly honest and also unashamed to have serious conversations about her sexuality. In the realms that an office environment allows, of course, though I'll admit that an alt-weekly newsroom is probably much more lax than others.

My first response when she told me about her podcast was to beg her to let me promote it. We've been aiming to increase diversity at the paper over the past year, introducing sex and social justice columnist Jessie Sage to our pages, and including even more feminist and social justice causes in our news coverage. Showing our readers that our senior writer also is a sex-positive horror junky is good press! But while she's talked openly about it in the office since, Amanda asked me to keep it a secret to the public, wanting to keep her personal life separate from her professional life.

But months later, after immersing herself more and more in the local arts and nightlife scenes as a reporter, she realized it was getting harder not to mention it when asked, so I now officially have permission to out her as a Ghoul.
The podcast itself is more charming than shocking. Yes, it's NSFW unless you're wearing headphones — or working at an alt-weekly, and the women swear. A lot. A fucking lot. But listening to the podcast is largely like eavesdropping on a conversation between two girlfriends sharing a large bottle of wine.

They laugh frequently at themselves and each other, share secrets about their own sex lives, and both have a tendency to break into voices and impressions, from Björk to Bon Jovi. Basically, they're not afraid to sound like giant dorks.

Each podcast is nearly an hour, and guests keep the show interesting. They've had on everyone from CP's own Jessie Sage to Tobin Seastedt of Crickets to Betsy, who brought on mealworms and grasshoppers for the hosts to eat on air before talking about all-natural lube. If transitioning from discussing the crunch of a bug leg in a cookie to an admission that it's harder to get wet as you age sounds weird, just trust me. They make it work.

Ghoul on Ghoul also specializes in ghost stories and local horror folklore; serial killers and cults; true crime and hauntings. And sometimes, it combines both. There's at least one episode where the women discuss sex with ghosts, and on the episode with Sage, they discuss ovipositors, a sex toy that allows women to deposit an egg inside their vaginas so they can experience the joy of giving birth to an alien.

Tonight, Amanda and Sarah celebrate their first anniversary with the Rate / Review / Subscribe / Imbide: A PGH Podcast Party at Spirit in Lawrenceville. The night includes DJ MB from the In Bed by Ten dance party and tarot readings. In addition to Ghoul on Ghoul, the pair have also invited other local podcasts to join the fun. Guests are encouraged to subscribe to any of the podcasts — Give Me Murder or Give Me Death, Neon Brainiacs, THRIFTY Podcast, Start The Beats w/SIKES, and Werewolf Ambulance — for a chance to win prizes.

The event is free and starts at 7 p.m., with the live show recording starting at 9 p.m. Older Entries »