All the Views Fit to Print
Richard Scaife, the billionaire provocateur who has famously funded conservative causes, has found another way to spread his message: by publishing an increasingly influential daily newspaper in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh was having a party. It was early April 1999, and thousands of people packed into the streets of the North Side to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new stadium for the Pirates, this sports-crazed city's beloved baseball team. Fireworks and a laser show illuminated the sky over the Allegheny River. The classic rock song "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" boomed from loudspeakers. A computerized design of the new stadium loomed on a massive screen. The mayor, the team's owner, and Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge addressed the enthusiastic crowd.
At the few remaining papers where the publisher is also the owner, the publisher traditionally controls the editorial pages but rarely dictates news coverage.
But the next day, there was no story about the bash on the front page of the city's second-largest newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The coverage appeared in the local section and focused on the renaming of a bridge leading to the stadium for Pirates legend Roberto Clemente. The fireworks and speeches were left to the memory of those who had attended the event -- or had caught the lead segment on the local newscasts or read the front page of the city's other daily newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The day before, David House, then the Tribune-Review's editor, had called his publisher, gingerly broaching the subject of how to cover a ceremony celebrating a stadium that his boss had opposed. "I knew he had strong feelings about it, because it involved the Pirates, and he does not like [Pirates owner Kevin] McClatchy," says House. "He said, 'Not on page one, but it's fine if you cover it in the local section.'...We were disappointed that such a significant event couldn't be on page one. But we tried to make the best of it."
House's boss is not your average publisher. He is Richard Scaife, the billionaire philanthropist many consider to be the architect of what Hillary Rodham Clinton dubbed "a vast right-wing conspiracy." Remember the stories suggesting that Vince Foster, President Clinton's former counsel, was murdered? Scaife's money funded those reports and other conservative causes -- to the tune of some $200 million over the past 30 years.
Scaife, an heir to Pittsburgh oil, aluminum, and banking fortunes, is reported to be worth $1.2 billion by Forbes and ranks 236 on its list of the 400 richest Americans. But he's not just a wealthy provocateur who tried to take down a president. He is a successful newspaperman -- the owner and publisher of a thriving paper that competes with the once-dominant Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- and an irritant to many in the community and at the paper itself.
In this age of corporate conglomerates, many big-city newspapers are part of large chains, and publishers are merely salaried employees focused on the bottom line. At the few remaining papers where the publisher is also the owner, the publisher traditionally controls the editorial pages but rarely dictates news coverage. Scaife, however, has spread his editorial influence over the entire product, from the news pages to the editorials to the lifestyle section. If some of Scaife's views weren't so enigmatic -- and others so extreme -- perhaps the results wouldn't be so remarkable. But what other publisher of a major newspaper has pursued a rumor that Russian soldiers had landed in the Allegheny National Forest, and then marched a reporter into the woods to investigate, as Scaife did in 1999? ("I found absolutely nothing," says the reporter, Joe Mandak.)
The Tribune-Review gives Scaife a respectable forum in which to air his views and at the same time magnifies his influence. After all, it's a large metropolitan paper with some strong local coverage, and when Scaife pushes a story there, it evolves, at least for some unsuspecting readers, from the ideological vagaries of a rich guy into a supposedly objective story. "You get the sense that [the Tribune-Review] is a plaything for Richard Scaife," says Doug Root, a spokesman for Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy, a longstanding Scaife foe. "It's a megaphone for him."
Downtown Pittsburgh sits at the confluence of three rivers in western Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, 70 miles from the West Virginia border. Those who haven't visited recently might imagine it as a faded rust-belt town. In fact, it is attractive and vibrant. The city's 35 miles of riverbanks are laced with trees and surrounded by hills and valleys, and although the city has lost thousands of steel jobs since the seventies, the economy has rebounded. The revitalized downtown boasts a new convention center and block after block of sleek office towers.
The Scaife family's long history in the region is evident all over Pittsburgh. At 54 stories, the headquarters of Mellon Bank, founded by Richard Scaife's great-grandfather, rises above nearly every other skyscraper. (Scaife's given name is Mellon Scaife, but he stopped using "Mellon" when his uncle lessened his father's role in the family's enterprises.) A prominent building at the University of Pittsburgh, where Scaife studied, is called Scaife Hall. Another university in town also has a Scaife Hall -- in fact, the university itself, Carnegie Mellon, carries his family's name.
Scaife grew up in a lavish but emotionally impoverished home, according to numerous press accounts. As reported in a 1999 Washington Post series, his mother was an alcoholic, and Scaife and his sister were raised by nannies. He was admitted to Yale but was expelled in his freshman year after he rolled a beer keg over another student's legs; Scaife eventually graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957. He remained in the family business, joining the boards of its various companies and foundations, confirms Scaife's lawyer, Yale Gutnick. Scaife also dabbled in politics: In the early sixties, he served on the campaign staff of a local district-attorney candidate and contributed $1 million to the 1972 Nixon campaign. Contrary to many media reports, however, Scaife developed an ideological vision that is really more libertarian than right-wing; he supports abortion rights, for instance, and in 1998 he told USA Today, "I think government should leave us alone."
For decades, Scaife was a heavy drinker (Gutnick acknowledges that Scaife spent time in the Betty Ford Center), a socially awkward man given to outbursts. In a 1981 article for the Columbia Journalism Review, Karen Rothmyer wrote that when she tried to corner Scaife for an interview, he called her "a f---ing Communist c---" and accused her of "hatchet journalism." (Gutnick says that Scaife stopped drinking in the early nineties and has since undergone "a remarkable change in attitude.")
By the early nineties, Scaife was quietly influencing public opinion. By spreading his wealth from conservative foundations to think tanks to magazines, he began a crusade to convince the public that Bill and Hillary Clinton were criminals. From 1993 to 1997, he donated about $2 million to The American Spectator for the "Arkansas Project," an investigation of the Clintons' financial dealings, which led to Whitewater and, eventually, to Paula Jones.
Now 68, Scaife -- a tall, imposing man with striking blue eyes and a shock of white hair -- is still intensely private. He makes few public appearances, and hasn't spoken to the press since 1999, when John F. Kennedy Jr. interviewed him for George. (Scaife denied Brill's Content's interview requests and didn't respond to faxed questions.) "He's mysteriously invisible," says Sala Udin, a member of Pittsburgh's city council. But Scaife's influence reverberates throughout his paper and the city.
Scaife has always been fascinated by newspapers. "Whenever [my father] would go to a particular city, he'd bring me a copy of the local newspaper," Scaife told Kennedy. "I had a bunch of racks at home, and I filed the papers alphabetically by state....By the time I was ten, I had subscribed to three newspapers." By his late 30s, they had become his profession. In 1969, he bought the Tribune-Review, then a small suburban paper based in Greensburg, about 30 miles from Pittsburgh. (According to former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham's memoir, Scaife was approached by Richard Nixon in an unsuccessful effort to buy the Post -- and presumably alter its political leanings.) At the Tribune-Review, Scaife quickly started to exert his influence. Pat Minarcin, then in charge of The Associated Press's bureau in Pittsburgh, recalls that when The AP ran a story in 1972 revealing that Scaife had donated 334 checks of $3,000 each to the Nixon campaign to avoid gift taxes, Scaife had every AP machine thrown out of the newsroom.
The Tribune-Review covered the suburbs for more than 20 years. During that period, Scaife ran the paper, contributed to conservative and charitable causes, and even found time to serve as a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which oversaw the U.S. Information Agency. In 1992, Scaife saw an opportunity to move his paper into the heart of the city when Teamsters drivers went on strike at Pittsburgh's major dailies, the Post-Gazette and the larger Pittsburgh Press. Suddenly the city of 370,000 lacked a major paper. Scaife responded by putting out a Pittsburgh edition of his suburban daily, which began with a handful of reporters in Station Square, a historic section of Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, he tried to buy the Press from its owner, the E.W. Scripps Co. Despite Scaife's reported $125 million offer, Scripps sold the Press for less to the Blade Communications- owned Post-Gazette, which immediately folded the Press into its own daily. (Scaife sued, charging a monopoly. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.) Unable to buy one of the big dailies, Scaife pumped money into the Tribune-Review, hoping to make it into a major presence in Pittsburgh. (He eventually bought seven other small Pittsburgh-area papers and an ownership stake in a local radio station.)
Today, the Tribune-Review's Pittsburgh headquarters, crowded with more than 100 employees, spans the third floor of a red brick building along the Allegheny River, and sits in the shadow of the ballpark the paper so strongly opposed. (Scaife also fought against a new football stadium for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Voters defeated a referendum to fund both stadiums with a tax hike; a different proposal was pushed through by local politicians in 1999.) Downtown Pittsburgh looms across the river, blurry in the rain on a late-fall afternoon. In a brightly lit pub on the ground floor of the building, Frank Craig, the Tribune-Review's editor, takes a long drag on what must be his sixth cigarette in two hours, making up for all the time he spends in the smoke-free newsroom. Wearing a dark gray suit, his neatly trimmed beard flecked with gray, Craig has the appearance of a community college professor but the efficient, direct manner of somebody always on deadline.
In the newsroom, a sort of code is bandied about:
either FOD (Friend of Dick) or EOD (Enemy of Dick).
Craig arrived at the Tribune-Review in January 2000 straight from the enemy: For four years, he was an assistant managing editor at The Blade, in Toledo, Ohio, which has the same owner as the Post-Gazette. As he looks out across the river toward his rival's headquarters, Craig disputes that Scaife's views warp the Tribune-Review's news coverage. "I have never felt constrained by our editorial opinion with regard to how we cover the news," he says. "I think that every publisher, particularly independent publishers, have particular views just like editors do."
But many who've worked under Scaife disagree. According to interviews with 21 current and former employees at the Tribune-Review, Scaife frequently pushes his political and personal agendas into the paper, often misleading readers in the process. "As a reporter, I want to make a solid argument that my reporting is objective," says one staffer at a Scaife-owned paper. "I don't think I have the high moral ground to do that anymore."
Scaife -- or close associates acting on his behalf -- usually issues commands via a small circle of editors, who communicate what he wants, often cryptically, to reporters and the production staff. His influence is not all-encompassing: Some reporters are adamant that Scaife has never pressured them to spin their stories. But for issues close to his heart, such as local development or particular politicians, Scaife's views often drive the coverage.
In the newsroom, a sort of code is bandied about to distinguish between stories that would make Scaife happy or unhappy. The shorthand is either FOP (Friend of Publisher) or EOP (Enemy of Publisher) or, more affectionately, FOD (Friend of Dick) or EOD (Enemy of Dick). When an editor drops the code word, a story either gets special treatment or gets canned. "You'd look around at an [editorial] meeting, and if someone said FOP, [the story] would be bumped up" to a prominent spot, says one former employee.
Few EODs were targeted as frequently as former president Clinton or his administration. Last November the Post-Gazette, relying on anonymous sources, reported that on the Sunday before the presidential election, Scaife ordered that no pictures of Vice-President Al Gore appear on the front page of the Tribune-Review. According to the Post-Gazette, he also demanded that editors alter an Associated Press story so that all mentions of the Demo-cratic candidate would be relegated to the bottom paragraphs of the piece. (Tribune-Review editor Frank Craig would neither confirm nor deny the story, saying that he was away when the paper's piece ran and that he wouldn't respond to a Post-Gazette article that did not contain a "single attributed quote.")
One staffer who recently left the Tribune-Review says that when he challenged the placement of an article in a news meeting, editors would tell him, "'This is a mortgage I have to pay.'" The implication was that Scaife was behind the decisions. Former Tribune-Review editor David House says he quickly learned that disagreeing with Scaife was not an option. In 1998, House placed a story that took a negative view of the Pirates baseball team's financial outlook on the bottom of the front page. He quickly got a phone call. "I don't think you get it," the publisher growled, according to House. "I don't want the Pirates on page one." (House was fired in late 1999 while he was on leave for quadruple bypass surgery. Gutnick, Scaife's lawyer, explained that House was let go because he was ill and couldn't give the "total commitment" the job required.)
One reporter who works for the Tribune-Review says he was discouraged from writing about Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter after the politician opposed Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987, which Scaife supported. "He was one of [Pennsylvania's two U.S.] senators who came to town and we couldn't even write about him," says the reporter.
In another instance, the paper deleted Specter's name from a story about a Senate subcommittee hearing on breast cancer he had chaired in February 1997. Lynne Margolis, a Tribune-Review features reporter (who later quit the paper), often wrote about the issue and was eager to cover the story. Margolis says she attended the hearing, wrote her piece with Specter as a main player, and handed it off to editors. When she picked up the paper the next morning and saw her story on the front page, however, she was surprised to read about a hearing "held by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education." Says Margolis, "They took out all the references to the guy that organized the hearing!...It's our job to be accurate and fair. But we're not being accurate if a major focal point of the story is missing." House says he remembers being told that relations between Specter and Scaife were strained, but he says he was never ordered not to cover the senator's appearances. Comments Specter, "I have no complaints. I make it a practice not to complain."
Scaife most famously used the paper to advance his own views in 1994, when he hired reporter Christopher Ruddy, who had been dismissed from the New York Post (as Ruddy confirms), to investigate the death of Vince Foster. Ruddy relentlessly pursued conspiracy theories and even questioned whether President Clinton was involved. "Rarely did [Ruddy] go anywhere other than page one," says House. "Scaife just loved Ruddy." (In fact, Scaife so appreciates Ruddy that although the reporter has moved on to start his own conservative news website, he occasionally contributes to the Tribune-Review.) Ruddy says that he never worked directly with Scaife on his stories and that concerns about the publisher's influence at the paper are overblown. "I do not believe...that [Scaife] sits there and dictates coverage in any way," says Ruddy. "He has other things to do." Ruddy's articles got national play: Outlets including The Hotline, a widely read Capitol Hill newsletter; the Detroit News; the Chattanooga Free Press; and the (Charleston, South Carolina) Post and Courier cited Ruddy's reporting that Foster's death was not a suicide. Other newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, largely downplayed Ruddy's work, but they still disseminated his ideas.
Not only has Scaife occasionally suited news coverage to his taste, he has done it in a way that leaves readers unaware of his tinkering. He pushes the paper to run stories that rely on quotes or reports from organizations he funds, yet the articles rarely disclose Scaife's connection. The result is a kind of "information laundering," as one former reporter calls it. When a Scaife-inspired article that quotes a Scaife-funded foundation is published in the Tribune-Review, the story appears more reputable than it otherwise would.
During the Tribune-Review's reporting on the controversy about the Pirates' new stadium, for example, it quoted the organization that led the fight against the ballpark, a think tank called the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, in more than 100 stories. What the paper rarely mentioned is that Scaife has given nearly $2 million to the institute. (Scaife halted his contributions after disagreements with the organization's president.) Two former reporters say they almost always disclosed the connection in their copy, but that editors almost always removed it. (Craig, the Tribune-Review's editor, says he didn't know about the extent of Scaife's connection to the institute. But even if he had, he says, it wouldn't be necessary to mention it in the paper: "I think people would get tired of reading that.")
The Tribune-Review is also a megaphone for national Scaife-funded organizations. The paper regularly tracks lawsuits brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization that has filed some two dozen suits against the Clinton administration, but rarely mentions that Scaife has contributed $2 million to the organization.
Scaife and his staff have also apparently tweaked the paper's news coverage to get his favorite local candidate elected. In 1999, Allegheny County ended its 205-year tradition of electing three county commissioners and held an election to choose just one county executive. Republican Jim Roddey, a Pittsburgh businessman, squared off against Democrat Cyril Wecht, the county coroner. It was no secret whom Richard Scaife supported: He contributed $75,000 to Roddey's campaign (making him Roddey's second-largest donor), and the Tribune-Review gave Roddey a rousing endorsement on its editorial page. (Roddey won by a slim margin.)
But the newspaper's preference was also evident in its news articles: In the three months before the election, the paper ran two articles critical of Roddey and ten critical of Wecht. One story, headlined "Pitt splits from Wecht backer," trumpeted that the University of Pittsburgh was "distancing itself" from a former professor who appeared in a Wecht commercial. In fact, the school had simply released a statement affirming that it "does not take positions on political campaigns or endorsements" -- something that was downplayed in the paper. Only two articles, both of which detailed each campaigns' major donors, noted that Scaife had contributed money to Roddey.
Although Scaife's positions on local issues aren't always easy to define (he supported the transformation of Station Square into a shopping and restaurant district, though he is generally anti-development), this much is clear: If the Democratic mayor of Pittsburgh, Tom Murphy, is for it, Scaife is against it. "He hates the mayor," says House, the Tribune-Review's former editor. "Orally, verbally, and philosophically, Scaife doesn't cotton to him." While others on his local-enemies list are often relegated to the inside of the paper, "Murphy's fine on page one," says House. "As long as it's something awful about him."
One former reporter, Tom Smithyman, says that his editor greeted him with the joke "What can we do to make the mayor's life miserable today?" A December 1998 story clearly exhibited that kind of thinking. The article noted that the mayor "has become a political pariah with a number of people in the Capitol." The piece included quotes from some of the mayor's critics. ("He is toast," said one.) Another detractor quoted in the piece was "longtime political consultant" Dennis Casey. The article failed to disclose that Casey, who died last year, had handled public relations for Scaife for decades.
"There's definitely a slant to all of the stories," says one former reporter. "You don't embellish facts, but take those parts that would be most unflattering to the administration and play those high." Apparently the feelings were mutual. The administration often gives exclusives to the Post-Gazette, acknowledges Craig Kwiecinski, a spokesman for the mayor. According to one former production staffer, when the mayor was digging with his golden shovel at a groundbreaking ceremony, he used it to toss dirt at a Tribune-Review photographer. "It was purely accidental," says Kwiecinski. (The picture did end up in the Tribune-Review.)
Former Republican county commissioner Bob Cranmer, who initially opposed the new Pirates and Steelers stadiums, also incurred Scaife's wrath. After Cranmer switched positions and supported the ballparks, the paper ran a photo of the commissioner rising from his chair that made him "look palsied," says a staffer who had objected, unsuccessfully, to using the photo. "It was a bias they were trying to put into the pages," says the staffer. "They had a gentleman's disagreement, but why demonize him?"
Other local politicians have noted that Scaife uses the paper's news pages to reward those who agree with him. One longtime city official says that after a meeting with Scaife during his campaign for office five years ago, he was told that the publisher liked his politics, and that if he followed through on his promises, he'd be guaranteed favorable coverage. ("Dick Scaife does not talk like that," says Scaife attorney Yale Gutnick. "He does not ask for anything from anybody. It's a bald-faced untruth in my opinion.") Another local official says that in a meeting about a bond issue, county executive Jim Roddey expressed his approval by commenting, "Dick Scaife says it's OK to do this." (Roddey declined requests for comment.)
Not everything in Scaife's media universe centers on politics. In September 1999, the paper ran a story -- with no quotes or named sources -- claiming that "some residents of Shadyside's most exclusive neighborhood" are "grumb[ling] privately" that an expensive addition to a neighboring home might harm property values. The unnamed resident who complained the loudest, according to four reporters, was Richard Scaife -- who, they say, also suggested the story. ("I've never heard that," says Gutnick, who adds that "it has taken forever to complete that addition.") The reporter for the piece, Jason Togyer, who now works at the Greensburg edition of the paper, says he spent two days reporting, didn't find a story, and told his editor as much. When the editor demanded that a story run anyway, Togyer says, he handed over his research and "washed his hands of it," insisting that his name not be used (it ran under the byline "Tribune-Review"). As for the residents "grumbling privately," Togyer says none of those he interviewed ever talked about property values.
Another member of the Scaife family also makes her opinions known at the paper. In the late eighties, as many press accounts have noted and Scaife's lawyer acknowledges, Scaife began an affair with a doyenne of Pittsburgh society, Margaret "Ritchie" Battle. In May 1991, four days after Scaife divorced Frances Scaife, his wife of 35 years, Scaife and Battle were married. (Battle, also interviewed by John F. Kennedy Jr. in George, jokingly remarked that she and Scaife "had lived in sin for years.")
Today, Mrs. Scaife is a frequent presence at society functions in Pittsburgh and in the local society pages, including those of the Tribune-Review. In one piece, the paper reported that Mrs. Scaife had won an award for philanthropy and described her as a "celestial honoree" whose "good deeds often light up our town." According to current and former staffers, Mrs. Scaife, who serves on the board but has no formal job at the paper, exerts her own brand of influence over the Tribune-Review, particularly when it comes to lifestyle coverage.
"In a lot of cases [the coverage] feels like whatever form of self-indulgence Ritchie chooses," says former Tribune-Review reporter Margolis, who's now a freelance writer. Fashion and the symphony are Mrs. Scaife's favorite topics; in 1998, while the newsroom was struggling to cover the city with a tight budget, the paper sent music critic Todd Gutnick, who's the son of Scaife's lawyer, to Japan to cover the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performances there. An editor at the paper's Greensburg edition says that the same year, she was told she was being demoted because Mrs. Scaife thought she was giving too much attention to art and not enough to fashion.
David House, the former Tribune-Review editor, says that he rather enjoyed Mrs. Scaife's interest in the paper. "Ritchie is like Dick," says House. "She's extremely bright, and there were times when I saw flashes of excellent news judgment."
Craig, the Tribune-Review's current editor, also acknowledges that Mrs. Scaife affects the paper's coverage. "Do I ignore what she says? Of course not," he says. But he insists that he balances both the Scaifes' suggestions with his own sensibilities. So has he ever rejected any of the Scaifes' recommendations? "I can think of a couple that I won," Craig says with a tight smile, although he declines to specify. "I don't want to remind them that I won because I want to win again."
The lights of the downtown buildings flicker behind a screen of rain as the sky gets darker, and in the pub on the ground floor of the Tribune-Review building, Craig is drinking his third cup of black tea. As he smokes another cigarette, he brings up the Post-Gazette, the city's top paper. "It's very possible to knock off an entrenched daily," he says.
Even some of Scaife's critics acknowledge that his paper has provided a needed jolt to Pittsburgh's city leaders.
Craig and his boss are gaining ground. The Post-Gazette is still the dominant newspaper, with a 240,000 Monday-through-Friday circulation; the Tribune-Review's is 85,000 Monday through Wednesday and 130,000 Thursday through Saturday. Between 1995 and 2000, the Post-Gazette's circulation declined by 9,000, while the Tribune-Review gained more than 16,000 new subscribers between 1995 and 1998. Although staffers at the Post-Gazette dismiss the competing paper -- John Craig, the Post-Gazette's editor (and no relation to Frank Craig), likens Scaife to an "eccentric uncle" -- the Tribune-Review is one of six papers pinned up in the Post-Gazette's newsroom every day.
Ironically, as much as Scaife meddles with his paper, his ability to trumpet his views -- which include a deep desire to question city government -- may be helping the paper win readers. It may also be a good thing for Pittsburgh.
"Pittsburgh has always had a top-down approach and historically everyone just supports the leadership," says Arthur Ziegler Jr., the well-respected president of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (Mr. and Mrs. Scaife are on its board). "That's changing. And the Trib is part of that change."
As Tribune-Review editor Frank Craig points out, the rival paper can't claim to be pristine: The Post-Gazette owns a $2 million stake in the Pirates, and many staffers at that paper privately confirm that they are uncomfortable with the fact that their editor cochairs a task force on developing the city's riverfront.
Even some critics who abhor Scaife's politics acknowledge that some of the Tribune-Review's stories have had a positive impact. In February 2000, for instance, the Tribune-Review published a 13,000-word series that examined the city's debt, which the paper put at $1.68 billion. Though some city officials criticized the story as being alarmist and for fudging numbers, many in town acknowledge that it raised an important issue.
"They do a pretty decent job of covering [the city]," says Chris Potter, managing editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper, an alternative newsweekly, and no fan of Scaife's conservative politics. "I'm sort of glad" Scaife publishes the paper, Potter continues, "because every once in a while they do kind of shake some things up."
The Tribune-Review did that in 1998 by revealing that the Pennsylvania Game Commission relied on armed but poorly trained volunteer wardens to enforce hunting regulations, and that there was no tracking system to log hunters' frequent complaints of verbal and sometimes physical abuse. The series of stories led the state government to require the commission to enact reforms, and the head of the agency was eventually fired.
The paper has also begun to win some awards. In a competition last year against large Pennsylvania papers like the Post-Gazette and The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Tribune-Review took four first-place Keystone Press awards (the Post-Gazette took seven and the Inquirer six).
Ultimately, it's the competition between Pittsburgh's two major papers that benefits the city, says Sally Kalson, a columnist at the Post-Gazette who once worked for a Scaife-owned publication. Says Kalson, "Readers pay their money and take their chances."
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