Pittsburgh Council honors "godmother of journalism in Western Pennsylvania"
Pittsburgh City Council said goodbye to the “godmother of journalism in Western Pennsylvania” by proclaiming Thursday as Elaine Effort Day in the city.
Effort of Highland Park is retiring Friday after a 38-year career with KQV-AM (1410). Pittsburgh's oldest all-news radio station is going off the air for good Sunday because of declining revenue from advertising and increasing labor costs.
Effort was a regular in City Hall and at major events in Pittsburgh. Officials holding news conferences often joked that they couldn't start until Effort, who often arrived late, appeared.
“I have 38 years of stories,” she said. “I've seen the best, I've seen the worst of people, and I think the best story is how Pittsburgh has recovered and is recovering and reinventing itself.
“I remember seeing the steel mills, these monoliths to manufacturing and steelmaking, on both sides of the river for as far as you can see and the proximity to Downtown. Then I watched the decline of that industry. Now what do you see when you go atop Mt. Washington? You have new office buildings where meds and eds and technology, tissue engineering, all of these wonderful things are happening.”
Council members lauded Effort for accuracy, honesty and grace.
“Elaine, you are the cream of the crop,” Councilman Dan Gilman said.
Effort, a Detroit native, started her career in 1970 working for radio station WUOM in Ann Arbor while attending the University of Michigan. She moved to Pittsburgh after landing a job at KQV and has covered seven city mayors, pioneering transplant surgeries, the change in Allegheny County government to home rule and countless homicide trials.
She is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of America and is serving in her 26th year as a Girl Scout leader.
Effort said she and husband, Edwin, have travel plans after her retirement. She also plans to spend one week each month with a daughter and grandchild in Boston. She said she's received several “interesting offers” for work outside of media.
“I'm keeping my options open,” she said. “I already have one week a month booked.”
KQV started in 1919 and is one of only three stations east of the Mississippi River with call letters beginning in K. The others are KDKA and KYW in Philadelphia.