The Post and Courier newsroom was treated to a pizza lunch from The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday. The Sun previously got pizzas from The Boston Globe, which previously got pizzas from the Chicago Tribune. Each gesture came when those newsrooms were in the midst of big stories in their communities.
Two years ago when the Tribune sent the Globe pizzas, it was a gesture to show how proud they were of the Globe’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, said Kevin Pang, a Tribune journalist, in an email. They didn’t imagine that the Globe would pass it on.
But it’s not really about the pizza.
“It’s less about the act of buying lunch than the bond of newspaper journalists,” Pang said. “We’re a tight breed, even if we don’t know each other. There’s fewer and fewer of us, so there’s a built-in kinship. I’d like to think we have each other’s backs.”
That’s how it felt to The Post and Courier’s newsroom, said Mitch Pugh, The Post and Courier’s executive editor, in a phone interview.
“Those of us who are still out here fighting, trying to keep local community journalism alive, we respect each other a little bit more,” Pugh said. “We know what we’ve been through. We feel more like we’re in this together, even though we’re competing.”
A pizza lunch is a nice gesture, but what’s behind it is the sense that they’re not alone, Pugh said.
“I think it’s hard for the public to understand what it’s like for journalists to cover these stories and how all-consuming it is and how it just changes your life,” he said.
On Thursday, two newsroom care packages arrived at The Post and Courier from the Roanoke Times and Minnesota Public Radio. They included candy, coffee, stress balls, light-up children’s toys and a hand-written note that said “Thinking of you.”
“It’s pretty awesome,” Pugh said.
He’d seen past stories about newsrooms sending each other pizzas, but before yesterday, he didn’t realize how they were linked. Now, he said, the Post and Courier will continue the tradition.
“Hopefully we won’t have to return the favor any time soon.”