Cunningham was promoted to managing editor in May. She has previously served City Paper as art director, production director, and graphic designer since beginning with the publication in 1997.
Cunningham is the first woman to preside over City Paper’s editorial staff.
“City Paper has been my dream job,” Cunningham says. “I’m excited to get the chance to continue to amplify the voices of Pittsburgh's artists, musicians, and everyone in our community.”
Cunningham’s commitment to the local arts is unwavering. She has exclusively hired diverse local artists to create all of City Paper’s illustrations. She has also participated in local art shows, volunteered for local arts organizations, and supports local art galleries and theaters.
Cunningham has been involved in many recent City Paper initiatives, including: promoting Ryan Deto to senior news writer; increasing the responsibilities of staff writer Hannah Lynn; hiring Amanda Waltz (senior A&E writer), Jordan Snowden (staff writer), Jared Wickerham (photographer/videographer), and Josh Oswald (digital media manager); expanding digital content; developing a content partnership with Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation; and restoring emphasis on arts, food, and music coverage. She also expanded the role of Tereneh Idia and added Gab Bonesso — City Paper’s two featured columnists.
In its October 3 issue, City Paper will debut a new column from locally-based, nationally-known writer Jessie Sage. Cunningham helped close the exclusive deal with Sage, whose column will be titled “Peepshow,” in coordination with her weekly sex-and-social justice podcast.
“Our editorial staff has never been more energized,” Cunningham says. “I’m honored to have such a great group of people to work with.”
Cunningham is supported in the editorial department by associate editor Alex Gordon, and will continue serving alongside associate publisher Justin Matase and director of operations Kevin Shepherd on City Paper’s leadership team.
“Lisa embodies the City Paper brand,” Matase says. “She eats, sleeps, and breathes it every day, and is the clear choice to lead the editorial direction of Pittsburgh’s leading alternative arts and entertainment publication into the future.”
Cunningham succeeds Rob Rossi, who was hired in May. A longtime Pittsburgh sports writer, Rossi is returning to those roots while going back to college and finishing an authorized biography of hockey superstar Evgeni Malkin. He describes the decision to part with City Paper as “the hardest in [his] quarter-century career as a journalist.”
“I am honored to have played a small role in City Paper’s great history as an alternative voice for my hometown of Pittsburgh,” Rossi says. “My first official move was to name Lisa as managing editor because her ideas, passion, and talent were obvious from my first day. It will be a thrill to pick up City Paper each and every Wednesday to see what Lisa and her amazing staffers are doing.
“Readers will see what everybody who’s worked with her has long known: Lisa Cunningham is the soul of City Paper. Frankly, it's long overdue that somebody with an arts background is calling the shots at this place."
City Paper is owned by Eagle Media Corp., which recently rewarded CP employees with a profit-sharing initiative. Rossi says the “strong support and hands-off approach” afforded to him by ownership will allow Cunningham to continue pushing the envelope and raising readers’ expectations for “creative storytelling, spectacular design, and unparalleled energy.”
City Paper is a free newsweekly that is distributed Wednesdays. It has been in existence since 1991.