GeekWire is coming to Pittsburgh — at least for a while.
The Seattle-based technology news hub announced today that it will establish a second, temporary headquarters in Pittsburgh for the month of February. The idea to create a reporting outpost was prompted by the much-publicized Amazon HQ2, with GeekWire placing special emphasis on choosing a city that it considers a strong contender for the Amazon prize.
Two or three reporters will arrive in Pittsburgh in late January to begin exploring Pittsburgh. Throughout February, they plan to write about the tech scene, but also examine the local food culture, public transportation, infrastructure, the arts, economic development and other factors relevant to the Amazon search.
"We are excited to choose Pittsburgh as the home for GeekWire HQ2 — our temporary headquarters for the month of February," said John Cook, GeekWire co-founder. "Pittsburgh is undergoing an amazing rebirth, transforming itself into a world leader in the innovation economy. Interesting stories abound in Pittsburgh — from the cutting-edge research labs of Carnegie Mellon to the startup spaces of East Liberty to the influx of engineering talent.
"We look forward to telling those stories, and connecting with civic, tech and business leaders about a changing city, while at the same time indulging in the city's food renaissance and cheering on the Penguins."
The School of Computer Science, with encouragement from colleagues at the University of Washington, last month submitted an invitation to GeekWire to consider Pittsburgh in its search. The SCS proposal emphasized that local officials likely would not break their silence regarding details of the region's bid for Amazon HQ2, but contended the city had too many great stories to ignore.
The GeekWire staff, despite trepidation about February weather in southwestern Pennsylvania, picked Pittsburgh as one of four finalists, along with Denver, Cincinnati and Raleigh. Editors invited readers to vote their preference among the finalists. Pittsburgh was the runaway winner, with 50 percent of the votes.
"Is there a cooler tech city than Pittsburgh? I don't think so," said SCS Dean Andrew Moore. "That's why we always welcome writers, editors and photographers who have the talent to convey what's happening here to the larger world. GeekWire has an excellent reputation in Seattle and we are excited about them coming here to get better acquainted."
GeekWire was launched in March 2011 by Cook and Todd Bishop, both veteran journalists. The site covers technology developments throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationally, with 70 percent of its readership outside the Seattle region. It focuses special attention on hometown industry behemoths Amazon and Microsoft, while covering research developments and tech startups in the region. It sponsors a number of events, such as the GeekWire Summit and GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit, and has a weekly radio show.
"GeekWire has grown to become a dominant tech news organization and an epicenter for the local technology community," according to the news site.
Though SCS extended an invitation, GeekWire will operate independently, just like any other news media outlet, and SCS will neither exercise control over editorial content nor favor GeekWire over other news outlets.
"We very much look forward to learning more about this historic American city, and how it is positioning for continued economic and societal vibrancy in the coming years," Cook said. "If you have story ideas for our reporters or just want to tell us a great place to eat, email us."