"I graduated in 1978 and immediately went into Medill’s summer program. I spent my twenties in newspapers in Norfolk, Va., and Louisville, Ky., uncovering waste and corruption, observing, “how people deal with reality.” Then I landed at the Oz that was The Philadelphia Inquirer at the end of its staggering run of Pulitzer Prizes. I never left. I played through the entire course, from suburban reporter to the city desk, feature writer, feature columnist, foreign correspondent (Berlin), full-time blogger, and finally got the job of my dreams: metro columnist. Along the way I was asked to fill in for a colleague who was writing a book and teach his urban journalism class at Penn where I taught for a decade. By then I had taken a job as an editor at the Inquirer, which was finding itself online as well as dealing with the collapse of print advertising and figuring out how to do less with less. I had some interesting jobs in too-fast succession: enterprise editor, news-features editor and most recently quick-strike on the I Team, which means handling a group of investigative reporters whose job is to jump in when news demands and provide fast, deep context for the events of the day, week or month.
Through all of this my background in American Culture/Studies served. The interdisciplinary nature suited me. So did what I'd learned about gathering historical materials and layering them with interviews and observation to come up with something of value. "