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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2022 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge Behind the Scenes of this year's Best of Pittsburgh issue
CP Cover Design: Lucy Chen
The cover of Pittsburgh City Paper's 2022 Best of Pittsburgh readers' poll issue

Here are the facts: From the nominees in the first round to the top 10 finalists in the voting round to the top three winners you’ll find in this issue, everyone in this year’s Best of Pittsburgh was decided by Pittsburgh City Paper readers.

What sets City Paper’s poll apart from others? Besides the obnoxiously large number of categories (yeah, we know — we keep trying to edit them down, but every year, we hear from readers who tell us we’ve missed some important ones), the Best of Pittsburgh is 100% determined by reader input. We use SecondStreet, an online voting platform, which automatically tabulates the results. No, City Paper staff members aren’t allowed to vote. And no, despite rumors which have existed since the poll first launched 30 years ago, no one can win a category by buying an ad. (But yes, winners are notified before this issue hits the stands and our sales team does sell them ads, which help support our local journalism throughout the rest of the year.)

What we do, though, is fact-check your noms. And we don’t just check them for spelling errors or to make sure you actually nominated Pittsburgh folks. We spend months checking each entry and eliminate any nomination we find to have posted anything racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamaphobic, transphobic, or harmful to others. We also listen to your feedback and adjust the categories before the poll starts every year based on your recommendations. Did we miss a category you’d like to see next year? Spot one you’d rather we delete? Reach out and let us know. This is your poll, after all, and we aim to have each year’s poll better than the last.

Why the space theme? Well, besides making this issue look cool as hell, there are space-themed events happening all over the city this year. For one, Pittsburgh is home to the Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park and a planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center, where yinzers can dream of life in another galaxy. The Science Center also just launched a new exhibit, Sun, Earth Universe, focusing on the solar system, the universe, and “the big questions NASA is trying to answer about each.” In November, the Center will also debut its Mars: The Next Giant Leap exhibit, which explores the possibilities of traveling to and living on the Red Planet. But mostly, we were inspired by the Moonshot Museum, Pennsylvania’s first-ever space museum, opening soon in the North Side. We can’t wait to see if it ends up on next year’s winners' list.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2022 at 7:00 AM

For the past decade, there’s been nothing short of a crisis in our state capital.

More and more of Pennsylvania’s sprawling and costly bureaucracy operated without scrutiny from investigative reporters, the watchdogs tracking how our hard-earned tax dollars are spent and demanding answers from lawmakers about waste, fraud, and abuse. 

Together, we can restore accountability. 

I’m proud to introduce you to Spotlight PA, a statewide and member-funded newsroom based in Harrisburg with the mission of holding the powerful in Pennsylvania to account through independent, nonpartisan investigative and public-service journalism. 

Spotlight PA is an unprecedented collaboration born of the grit and determination that makes our state great, and it now provides high-quality state government and statewide reporting at no cost to more than 90 community newsrooms across Pennsylvania. And we continue to grow. 

Today, we’re excited to announce an expansion to provide greater access to our independent journalism throughout Pittsburgh via a new partnership with Pittsburgh City Paper.

Spotlight PA is built on the belief that the public will support unique, high-quality investigative journalism you can’t get anywhere else. In doing so, we can build a new path forward for local news in Pennsylvania that’s sustainable and puts the community first. 

If you value independent, nonpartisan journalism and want to support access to it throughout Pittsburgh, you can make a gift of any amount to Spotlight PA now at spotlightpa.org/donate 

Spotlight PA’s growing team of nearly a dozen reporters includes Pennsylvania veterans and other accomplished journalists recruited from across the state and the U.S. 

Spotlight PA is now the single largest statewide newsroom in Pennsylvania dedicated to producing accountability journalism about the state government and urgent statewide issues. 

Our journalists are assigned to cover specific state departments, commissions, and agencies, as well as topics of statewide importance, from criminal justice to voting, economic development to politics. Many of these areas have gone without serious scrutiny for years. Spotlight PA reporters have the time, resources, and mandate to be fearless in their pursuit of the truth. 

Far from just providing the news, we connect and engage with you through innovative digital storytelling, creative partnerships, community events, and more.

Financial support for Spotlight PA comes from a unique coalition of state and national funders that recognize the importance that decisions made in Harrisburg have on their communities, from Erie to Scranton, Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. 

They also know and agree that our work must be independent and free from influence. Spotlight PA retains full editorial control, and our funders have no say whatsoever in which stories we pursue or how we pursue them. We do not accept anonymous donations, and all of our supporters are listed publicly at spotlightpa.org/support 

Spotlight PA was formed to serve you, the public, and we want you to be a part of our efforts. Many of the best investigations start with a call or email from a concerned reader. If you have tips or suggestions for an investigation, please visit spotlightpa.org/tips to see the various secure ways you can communicate with our team. 

After having lived in Pennsylvania for more than a decade, I’m proud to be leading such an ambitious effort to provide the people of this state with more of the high-quality investigative and public-service journalism we all need. Together, we can hold the powerful to account. 

Learn more about Spotlight PA and how to support our investigative journalism at spotlightpa.org/donate


Christopher Baxter is the executive director and editor-in-chief of Spotlight PA

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2022 at 12:20 PM

Pittsburgh City Paper is pleased to announce that Lucy Chen has been promoted to Art Director. Since being hired as an Editorial Designer at City Paper in 2021, Chen has helmed the paper's editorial design, including illustrating covers, designing the weekly editorial print pages, creating promotional images, and more.


"Lucy has been a gift to our entire company," says CP Editor in Chief Lisa Cunningham, who had a 10-year tenure as art director before being promoted to an editor's role. "I'm lucky to be able to work with someone so incredibly talented and imaginative, and I can't wait to see what she does next."

Recent City Paper projects Chen has led include designing the annual City Guide magazine, creating the logo for the company's new daily newsletter City Pigeon, and leading the space-themed design for the annual Best of Pittsburgh readers' poll. Later this year, City Paper also plans to unveil a print redesign, which Chen will be spearheading.

Chen is a 2021 graduate of the Sam Fox School for Design & Visual Arts, and a teacher at the Yanlai Dance Academy. To celebrate her promotion, City Paper asked Chen to share some of her favorite work so far, which follows in her own words:

It’s been one year since I started working at City Paper. Here are my five favorite illustrated covers of the past year.

1. Fall Guide
This cover took me the longest. When possible, I always like to design an illustration around a golden ratio. I find that it makes the composition much more interesting.

2. People of the Year
Hand lettering is one of my passions! I was so excited to draw so many letters for this cover. Nothing excites me more than a looptail "g."

3. Election Guide
Making this cover was a bit outside my comfort zone since it was all made using vectors instead of hand illustrations. I think my favorite sticker to make was the “I Voted in My PJS!”

4. Pride Issue
I used historical paintings as references for the figures for this issue. Can you guess which painting is the main girl holding the flag? (Answer at bottom of the page.)

5. Spring Guide
I ran out into the middle of the street to get a reference photo for this guide. It’s based on the Kauffman’s building Downtown and maybe shows my excitement for the Target that just went in.


Follow Lucy Chen on Instagram at instagram.com/lucyjchen

* Answer: Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

Monday, July 11, 2022

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2022 at 4:20 PM

Wondering what Pigeon Week is? Well, we recently launched a new newsletter, City Pigeon, sent out every weekday morning — and a city pigeon mascot to go with it. What better way to promote our new newsletter than to shine a spotlight on its namesake?

That’s why, all this week, we’ll be bringing you the best Pittsburgh pigeon content we can find, including contests, games, and even TikToks starring the CP Pigeon:
@pghcitypaper our new hire has potential, if only they would stop eating out of the garbage #pittsburgh #dayinmylife #pigeon #fyp ♬ The Office (Main Theme) - TV Sounds Unlimited
We'll also be hiding a pigeon in this week's print issue for you to find, plus unveiling new surprises all week long on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

As part of #PigeonWeek, we want YOUR help naming our new feathered coworker! If we choose your pigeon name, you'll win a prize pack that includes not only a bunch of Pittsburgh City Paper swag (including pigeon buttons, of course) but also a four-pack of FREE tickets to the National Aviary to get some hands-on experience with our avian friends.

A few guidelines:
  1. All entrants must submit an email address along with a pigeon name, so we can contact the winner and sign you up for our email newsletter (if you aren't already on the list) so you can familiarize yourself with the City Pigeon you're lending a name to!
  2. While City Paper prides itself on being Pittsburgh’s most fun publication, please keep the name suggestions appropriate for CP readers of all ages.
  3. And most importantly: get creative with it!

The winner will be notified on Fri., July 15. We will also announce the winning name then. So what are you waiting for? Enter your pigeon name to win here!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2022 at 12:29 PM

Pittsburgh nonprofits help bring an incredible wealth of services to the city. They feed minds and bodies, provide housing and necessities, and help give both humans and animals opportunities for better paths forward. Pittsburgh City Paper takes pride in reporting on these much-needed community assets throughout the year and is happy to announce that one local nonprofit will be chosen as the charity of choice for this year’s Best of Pittsburgh party.

“We are excited that our editorial team added the Best Nonprofit category this year. We feel very strongly about partnering with the community and helping our nonprofits raise awareness in the city,” says Rachel Winner-Eberhardt, City Paper's advertising director. “This is giving the winner the opportunity to not only do that, but raise funds for their organization as well.”

The reader's final choice for Best Nonprofit in this year’s poll will not only be invited to the Best of Pittsburgh party, but it will be named City Paper’s nonprofit charity of choice for the event, and a portion of ticket sales will go directly to the winner.

Over 100 nonprofits have been nominated so far in the first round of this year’s Best of Pittsburgh readers poll, and there’s still time to submit your favorites. Readers can nominate once per day in the first round, which continues through June 30, and the top 10 finalists with the highest number of nominations will move on to the final voting round on Aug. 1-31.

City Paper's Best of Pittsburgh readers' poll is the alt-media company's most popular issue of the year, and the entire staff collaborates to make it the best in the region. Best of Pittsburgh is run through SecondStreet, an online poll service, to ensure that the tallies are accurate, and the editorial staff fact checks every nominee to ensure that reader submissions are error-free and placed in the correct category. Once final nominations move on to the voting round, the staff also researches every finalist and eliminates any nominee with racist, sexist, homophobic, or problematic online posts. City Paper aims to be inclusive and representative of the entire community in its reporting, and that transfers over to wanting the same for this poll.

Nearly 150,000 nominations have been submitted so far. In addition to Best Nonprofit, there were over 60 new categories added this year including Best Pet Groomer, Best Fried Chicken, Best Hangout for Teens, Best Corner Store, Best Camp for Kids, and Best Classical Ensemble.

Submit your favorites now at pghcitypaper.com/bestofpgh2022

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2022 at 12:19 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper celebrates 2022 Golden Quill award wins (2)
CP Photo: Amanda Waltz
A photo from Amanda Waltz's award-winning Pittsburgh City Paper article on Hidden Media Network
In fall 2021, Pittsburgh City Paper A&E Editor Amanda Waltz entered Wonderland, a Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party. It was just one of many events heavily promoted on social media by Hidden Media Network, promising “all the best virtual and live experiences in over 30 cities around the world.” She left with more questions than answers.

In the following days, the more Waltz reported on the international event planning company, the more she discovered allegations of “bait and switch” tactics, unsafe COVID protocols, and more.

On May 24, the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania awarded Waltz with the first place Golden Quill award for “Excellence in Written Journalism, Arts/Entertainment – Division 3” for her report on the company, Hidden Media Network Promises Fun, Immersive Experiences, but Some Say Everything’s Not as It Seems.

The 58th annual Golden Quill Award ceremony, held at the Rivers Casino, honors “professional and student excellence in print, broadcast, photography, videography and digital journalism in Western Pennsylvania and nearby counties in Ohio and West Virginia,” according to the announcement.

Also receiving first-place wins were City Paper literary writer, Rege Behe, for “Excellence in Written Journalism, Criticism – Division 3” for his literature in Pittsburgh; former staff writer Kimberly Rooney for “Excellence in Written Journalism, Business/Technology/Consumer –Division 3” for their report, State Lawmakers Join Pittsburgh Restaurant Owners in Revolt Against Food Delivery Apps; and, former art director Abbie Adams for “Excellence in Journalistic Craft Achievement, Cover Design – Print, Divisions 1-4” for her Black Women Leaving Pittsburgh cover design.
click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper celebrates 2022 Golden Quill award wins
Excerpt from Abbie Adam's award-winning Pittsburgh City Paper cover design
City Paper also was named a finalist in multiple categories. The full list is below:

Excellence in Written Journalism, Arts/Entertainment – Division 3
Winner: “Hidden Media Network Promises Fun, Immersive Experiences, but Some Say Everything’s Not as It Seems,” Amanda Waltz

Excellence in Written Journalism, Criticism – Division 3
Winner: “Literature in Pittsburgh,” Rege Behe

Excellence in Written Journalism, Business/Technology/Consumer –Division 3
Winner: “State Lawmakers Join Pittsburgh Restaurant Owners in Revolt Against Food Delivery Apps,” Kimberly Rooney

Excellence in Journalistic Craft Achievement, Cover Design – Print, Divisions 1-4
Winner: “Black Women Leaving Pittsburgh,” Abbie Adams

Excellence in Written Journalism, News Feature – Division 3
Finalist: “How Newsrooms, Police Departments, and Social Media Fail Missing People of Color,” Kimberly Rooney

Excellence in Journalistic Craft Achievement, Personality Profile Photo – Divisions 1-6
Finalist: “Chrome Cable,” Jared Wickerham

Excellence in Written Journalism, Lifestyle – Division 3
Finalist: “Why Are So Many Black Women Talking About Leaving Pittsburgh?” Dani Janae

Excellence in Written Journalism, Public Affairs/Politics/Government –Division 3
Finalist: “Why Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Continues to Avoid Scrutiny,” Ryan Deto

Excellence in Written Journalism, Columns/Blogs – Division 3
Finalist: “Voices,” Tereneh Idia

While City Paper always appreciates being honored for our writing and artistic talents, hearing that our stories resonated with our readers, and from the people we write about, is more important than any award we've ever received. We are grateful for your continued support.

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2022 at 4:49 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper wins statewide Keystone Media Awards
A portion of Pittsburgh City Paper editorial designer Lucy Chen's award-winning news layout
Pittsburgh City Paper is honored to announce it has won six awards in the 2022 Keystone Media Awards, a statewide journalism competition for Pennsylvania media companies.

The awards, published on April 28 by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, are presented each year to Pennsylvania journalists whose work "displays relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers, and furthers First Amendment values."

Editorial Designer Lucy Chen won first place in the News Page Design Category for her print layout on Kimberly Rooney's story on Critical Race Theory.

Columnist Tereneh Idia won second place in Columns for three of her 2021 pieces: Didn't we almost have it all? Contemplating Black arts in Pittsburgh, The global (and local) politics of Black beauty, and The soul of a country.
click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper wins statewide Keystone Media Awards
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Dannielle Brown announced the Marquis Jaylen Brown Foundation along with the end of her 237-day hunger strike at Freedom Corner downtown on her 50th birthday on Thu., March 11, 2021.
Staff photographer and videographer Jared Wickerham received a second-place win for his News Event Photo of Dannielle Brown as she announced the end of her hunger strike, and photo intern Kaycee Orwig earned an Honorable Mention  for her Feature Photo illustrating Dani Janae's story on artist Zeal Eva.

Former managing editor Ryan Deto also won second place for his News Beat Reporting on the Pittsburgh police, which included his report on a protester injured by a police projectile.


Finally, the entire City Paper staff received second place in the Special Section category for its Coloring Issue: Getting Around Tahn.

More than 2,500 entries were received from 110 news organizations, and City Paper competed in the category of "multi‐day publications with 20,000 to 49,999 circulation." While the greatest reward comes from folks reading its stories, City Paper's staff is honored to be recognized for their hard work.

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Saturday, January 8, 2022

Posted By on Sat, Jan 8, 2022 at 12:40 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper wins 2021 Pittsburgh Black Media Federation awards (2)
Cover photos by Jared Wickerham
2020 Pittsburgh City Paper covers
When Pittsburgh City Paper photographer Jared Wickerham found out writer Jordan Snowden was interviewing local social media influencer Martayla Poellinitz, he knew he wanted to involve her make-up artistry in his cover shoot.

In the wake of George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed, Martayla, who had reached over 25,000 followers on her TikTok account @martymoment at the time of our article, was using her make-up artistry to spread political statements like "Defund the Police" and "Arrest the Cops who Killed Breonna Taylor" to her followers.

For her City Paper cover story, Jared invited Martayla to write an expression of her choosing on her face with makeup. She chose "Black Lives Matter," and the two of them got the shot (with organizers' permission) during a Civil Saturdays protest.

Their work, along with the graphic design of Abbie Adams, has earned them Best Cover Design (magazines) in the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation's
2021 Robert L. Vann Media Awards.

"
The awards honor excellence in journalism coverage of African American and African diaspora communities, individuals and issues," read a press release announcing the awards on Jan. 8, which were delayed due to COVID and "other challenges."

City Paper also won two other awards for Excellence in Written Journalism Non-Daily Newspapers/News Services: Tereneh Idia, who was recently named one of the winners of the prestigious Sally Kalson Courage in Journalism award, won Best Column for the second year in a row for her Voices column, and Jordan Snowden, also a repeat winner, won the Best Business/Consumer/Technology category for her story on "Pittsburgh stylist Chi Ilochi uses her company to heal, help, and inspire through clothing."

Founded in 1973, PBMF is a nonprofit organization consisting of Black professional journalists, public relations specialists, and journalism professors and college students. The journalism awards competition was launched by PBMF in 1988 to honor Robert L. Vann, the Pittsburgh Courier publisher committed to journalism and creating a voice for the Black community.

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Friday, December 31, 2021

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2021 at 8:00 AM

2021 was another dumpster fire of a year, kicking off with the Capitol insurrection, then continuing with the pandemic raging on as COVID cases grew amid battles over masks and vaccinations. Sure, there were some bright spots. (Check out our 2021 People of the Year winners for some examples.) But we're pretty sure most of us are in agreement that we're all just happy to see this year finally come to an end.

So what did Pittsburgh City Paper readers want to read about during this year of contention? Penises. That's right. A story about tiny penises was our most-read story of the year. (We love you for that.) But you clicked on some serious stuff as well, along with our writers' great arts and food stories. You also looked for advice on where to get out of town and, bless your alternative loving hearts, you were really into a painting of a duck.

Relive your favorites here:
click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
CP Photo: Ryan Deto
Mola's Pork Belly Bao

10. 13 Pittsburgh sandwiches that go beyond french fries and coleslaw

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Emily Anderson of Pittsburgh Fatties Social Club
9. Pittsburgh Fatties Social Club sets out to create a more fat-friendly city

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
Image: Penguin Random House
Photo from the cover of The Demon of Brownsville Road
8. A famous Pittsburgh haunting to get big screen adaptation from New Line Cinema

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
Photo: Courtesy of Reddit
7. GetGo apologizes, explains reason behind recent Moon Township closure

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
A man walks across the Wheeling Suspension Bridge in Wheeling, W. Va.
6. The essential day tripping towns from Pittsburgh

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
CP Photo Illustration: Abbie Adams
5. How the pandemic has shifted Pittsburgh’s housing market

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
Photo: HGTV
Leanne and Steve Ford
4. How a new Pittsburgh-based HGTV home renovation show almost made me buy a painting of a duck

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
Bernie Sanders, devoted City Paper reader.
3. Parking chairs to city steps: The best memes of Bernie sitting in his chair in Pittsburgh

2. Criminal-justice advocacy coalition backs “slate of eight” for Common Pleas judge races in Allegheny County

click to enlarge 10 Most-read Pittsburgh City Paper stories of 2021
The first tiny dick posted on @412dickrescue
1. Tiny dicks descend on Pittsburgh

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2021 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper columnist Tereneh Idia wins award named after late Pittsburgh journalist
Pittsburgh City Paper columnist Tereneh Idia
Pittsburgh City Paper columnist Tereneh Idia has tackled difficult topics, including racism, COVID-19, and body shaming, with blunt honesty and earnest passion. Now, her work has earned her a Pittsburgh Foundation award named after a respected local journalist.

Idia is one of two winners of the 2021 Sally Kalson Courage in Journalism award, created to honor the legacy of the late Sally Kalson, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2014. Kalson was a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter and columnist who, according to a press release, “put the spotlight on injustice and wrote truth to power” over her 30-year career.

Idia was chosen by a committee of advisors because, like Kalson, her City Paper Voices column “challenges Pittsburgh because she wants it to be better and knows it can be better.”

Idia is splitting the award — which includes a $5,000 cash prize that will be shared between the two winners — with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist Sean Hamill, whose investigative series on the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center showed how the Beaver County nursing home failed to protect its residents and employees from COVID-19. The facility is now under investigation by the Pa. Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper columnist Tereneh Idia wins award named after late Pittsburgh journalist
Photo: Randy Olson
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist Sean Hamill
Since being launched in 2019, the Sally Kalson Courage in Journalism Award Program reaches statewide to identify a broadcast, print, or online media journalist whose work embodies what Kalson was known for: “fearlessness, fortitude, and excellence in taking on issues of our time.”

“This program is our small effort to encourage people to look for, and report stories that go against the grain, despite that they implicate powerful interests,” says Kalson’s surviving husband, Ed Feinstein, who serves on the award committee along with Mila Sanina of PublicSource, attorney Amy Ginensky, investigative reporter James Steele, and Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman.

Also serving on the committee is Andy Conte, director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation. Conte spoke to Idia’s win, saying, “I think Sally would see a fellow traveler in Tereneh’s work.”

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Idia graduated from Drexel University LeBow College of Business. As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, she received her Masters in Science in Fashion Design from Kenyatta University and started her career in fashion as an educator, including teaching at Parson School of Design in New York City and as a visiting scholar on global fashion at Yale - National University of Singapore.

Idia has won numerous awards in the past, including back-to-back Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for Excellence in Written Journalism, Daily for Columns/Blogs. She was named Best Column (aka the Billy Manes Award) by the 2020 Association of Alternative Newsmedia and as one of the winners of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation's 32nd annual Robert L. Vann Media Awards.

Her multi-award winning CP column adds to a number of projects, both writing and non-writing related, Idia has done over the years. In addition to Voices, she writes the CP Clothes Make column, interviewing Pittsburgh artists, business owners, and others about their personal style. She also runs Idia’Dega, a global fashion collective for which she travels and works with African and Indigenous women artisans, including those of the Olorgesailie Maasai tribe in Kenya, and of the Oneida Indian Nation in New York.

Idia also recruits Pittsburgh artists to create designs for TripleAAAnimals, a series of fake sports teams that pay homage to local wildlife and the city’s distinct neighborhoods. The ever-expanding design collection can now be found on clothing, tote bags, and other items. As for her writing, Idia feels validated, to some degree, by her Kalson award win.

“I so often feel like I’m writing into a void,” says Idia. “Sometimes I feel like what I’m writing doesn’t have an impact. This recognition brings me hope that people are reading my columns and are gaining recognition of issues faced by Black residents.”

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