Introducing ‘ On the Record,’ our new interview series taking you inside the reporter’s virtual notebook

For the first episode of's new show (and soon, podcast), Assistant Editor Stephen Babcock explains the story behind his recent deep dive into Pittsburgh's changing innovation economy.

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At, we report primarily on the tech and entrepreneurship communities of Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C. and Delaware — but what that means more broadly is that we cover local economies in change, with a goal of sharing lessons from those regions that can be implemented anywhere.

We’ve also long aimed to pull back the curtain on our reporting process whenever possible by introducing you to the people behind the bylines through our own events and articles.

Accordingly, today, we’re rolling out our latest way to connect with our reporting: “ On the Record,” a new video series — and soon, podcast — in which we dive deeper into one of the week’s biggest news items with the journalist behind the story. Think The New York Times’The Daily,” but focused on economies of the mid-Atlantic region, and with my voice (Managing Editor Julie Zeglen) guiding the conversation instead of the dulcet tones of Michael Barbaro. (I’m working on my impression, though, don’t worry.)

Full disclosure, we’ll be experimenting with the format (including length) over the next few episodes. But you can expect to hear from at least one reporter per week, to get a quick rundown of all our markets’ biggest stories at the end (aka the kicker), and to hear the why, how and what’s next of each featured topic.

For our pilot episode, I spoke with Assistant Editor Stephen Babcock, our longtime Baltimore reporter who’s now also leading our yearlong editorial series covering Pittsburgh’s changing innovation economy. He shared the highlights of his recent feature — “Big tech companies are flocking to Pittsburgh. The foundation was laid over decades” — including how he tackled local reporting from a state away.


The lesson from Pittsburgh’s transformation that other post-industrial cities can keep in mind: Lean on anchors and emphasize their strengths for further growth. Carnegie Mellon University is a center of education and research, of course, but also shows promise as an economic engine in its own right as it has expelled tech talent nurtured over decades that tech giants like Google, Facebook and Zoom wanted to be near.

Listen to the first episode here:

And watch here:

In the episode, I also shout out these big stories published in our other markets over the past week:

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