The boy in the train station coffee shop

By Christopher Wink | Oct. 8, 2008 |

Worlds – yes, disparate worlds – come to some form of a cross-section in red-eyed, late nights in train stations.

Early Tuesday morning, we were doing that, surfing the intersection of the young and the acutely itinerant – being reminded of the sociological difference between situational and generational poverty.

We, three, were in a 24-hour coffee shop just before 1 A.M., waiting on a 6 A.M. train. A security guard recommended the spot, a few modern chairs off to the side where people buy cups of foam and cream. A young man, a year or two my junior, sat beside me, tapping his foot and twitching in his chair, regularly, if subtly. The kind of movements you might expect at 1 A.M. in a late-night train station coffee shop.

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I’m home from Europe, WDSTL

Sean Blanda (right) and I on Oct. 1, leaving from Newark Airport to begin our trip in London.
Sean Blanda (right) and I on Oct. 1, leaving from Newark Airport to begin our trip in London.

I returned this past week from more than a month of backpacking Europe with college buddy Sean Blanda. While there, he and I travel blogged and podcasted at

This week I am going to roll out some highlights and lessons learned, though Sean beat me to the latter.

One of those lessons, I’m afraid, will involve being hacked, as we were just that. (Check WDSTL, we may not have corrected by the time you read this).

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My internship with the Philadelphia Business Journal

With the editorial staff of the Philadelphia Business Journal on May 5, 2008.

Last Thursday, during a week revisit to Philadelphia, I shared happy hour with a few friends from my internship with the Philadelphia Business Journal, with which I had a great six month-internship the last semester of my college career.

With a little work, I got tons of solid clips and great experience (detailed below) with the Journal, and so I thought it was worth pointing that out.

The primary responsibilities of editorial interns with PBJ, owned by American City Business Journals, are to keep up their pages that follow the region’s philanthropic community, profile business leaders and all managerial movements in and around the city. While I pitched other stories of greater size, these base-level jobs never offered anything more than a few hundred words. Still, I worked hard to make them worth reading – if only to keep me focused and interested.

The internship meant a lot more than all of that, though.

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My Commencement Address (Temple University: 5/22/08)

By Christopher Wink | May 22, 2008 | Temple University Commencement Address

Seventeen hours ago I got off a plane from South Dakota, having spent my last week as a Temple student working with members of the Lakota Nation. It was another lesson in community.

Temple University’s graduating Class of 2008, today, we are graduating together from a long series of such lessons. Indeed, we are not just graduating from a university, but an entire community, something I have learned with a wonderful intimacy through my tenure here.

As I have learned about community, I have learned of the true expansiveness of Temple. See, the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, too numerous for me to know in entirety, have taken on a richness and a vibrancy like I never before realized they could.

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False Story — Rendell named vice-presidential nominee

I was tricked into writing this story by the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association in the Harrisburg, Pa. state capital newsroom on Aug. 15, 2008. This article is not true. All those interviewed were in on the joke.

Sen. Barack Obama embraces Philadelphia City Councilman Bob Brady and is applauded by Gov. Ed Rendell before speaking during a Democratic Unity Rally at Temple Universitys McGonigle Hall October 21, 2006 in Philadelphia. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Sen. Barack Obama embraces Philadelphia City Councilman Bob Brady and is applauded by Gov. Ed Rendell before speaking during a Democratic Unity Rally at Temple University's McGonigle Hall October 21, 2006 in Philadelphia. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

By Christopher Wink | Harrisburg Patriot-News | Aug. 15, 2008

Gov. Ed Rendell will be named Sen. Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate, a high-ranking source in the administration told the Patriot-News.

“Next Monday could be a very exciting day for Pennsylvania,” said Mary Isenhour, the commonwealth’s Democratic Party executive director. She wouldn’t corroborate the offer or Rendell’s acceptance of the position, but confirmed the governor was meeting with high-level Democrats in Washington D.C. Friday.

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How the Harrisburg bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer tricked me

I believe there is some line of thought that only those who like you enough will take the time to prank you. If this is true, it is entirely possible that the Harrisburg bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the largest and oldest metro dailies in the country, loves me.

Late last month, I was working on a large story for the Inquirer when influential Harrisburg correspondent and noted… prankster (the kindest way to put this, I think) Mario Cattabiani told me to drop everything and get on an assignment. He and his fellow Inqy Harrisburg staffers were launching a state government blog at the behest of their editors – which I already knew – and it was going live that day – news to me.

The editors didn’t want to seem to be biting off on the series of already established Harrisburg government blogs so they wanted to profile one of the more respected bloggers and suggested John L. Micek of the Allentown Morning Call, who hosted the popular Capitol Ideas.

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I was at Mike Schmidt's wine-tasting

IT WAS IN MARCH THAT I first reported for the Philadelphia Business Journal that Mike Schmidt, one of the most celebrated third basemen in baseball history and easily one of the most iconic Philadelphia sports heroes, was launching a charity wine: a Zinfandel.

Now, I may have thought it a little funny, if only because two worlds seemed to collide, and when I went to the product’s first wine tasting for media yesterday, it may have seemed a little sillier still when I took a freight elevator to the basement and wandered passed the Citizens Bank Park groundskeepers in pursuit of the tasting. But, to be fair, as we all know, Schmidt is putting his name on the line to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research.

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Former Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez in Philadelphia

EARLIER THIS WEEK Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez was on NPR’s Fresh Air, hear it here. The former popular Philadelphia Inquirer columnist was interviewed by Dave Davies, the venerable political writer for the Philadelphia Daily News who fills in for Terry Gross on Fresh Air from time to time.

He was promoting his newest book, The Soloist, which is already under production by DreamWorks as a movie of the same name to debut in November.

Lopez’s book chronicles his interaction with Nathaniel Ayers (depicted above), a homeless, former musical prodigy who began living in the streets after suffering the effects of schizophrenia. In the end, Lopez became an “unlikely advocate and friend” to Ayers, as the Los Angeles Times put it Monday.

The film casts Robert Downey Jr. as Lopez and Jamie Foxx as Ayers.

Lopez is in town today speaking to media, and tomorrow, in a free event at 2 p.m., Lopez will be at the Free Library. I’ll be there, so should you.

His first novel was the well-received Third and Indiana, set in Philadelphia, and he has also written In the Clear, Sunday Macaroni Club and had his Inquirer columns anthologized in Land of Giants. The last and the first I have read, amazed by his words, but I have also followed his L.A. Times columns and, I’ll say, he sometimes seems to be lacking the color that I think is safe to say few places provide like Philadelphia.

Maybe I’ll ask him about that tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of Obsessed with Film.

Multimedia coverage of Hillary Clinton at Temple


Last week, I posted about The Temple News covering Hillary Clinton holding a rally in McGonigle Hall at Temple, in front of a crowd of several thousand.

LeAnne Matlach, the assistant News Editor, reported there; Chris Stover, the Chief Copy Editor, filed an audio story, and Sean Blanda, our Online Editor, edited down video highlights of her 40-minute speech. In a pinch and without a photographer, I took photos, rounding out a complete multimedia package, though my photography is less than up to the normal standards of The Temple News.

Check out a slide show of those photos here on Flickr.

My coverage of Barack Obama in Philadelphia


There was a huge media crunch for Barack Obama’s Philadelphia address at the National Constitution Center today, though I did cover the event as best I could. (You can also see it here on The Temple News Web site)

I fought my way in, was escorted out twice, before finally get 30 seconds to take as many photos as I wanted in what was a rotating photographer system. A fire marshal enforced an occupancy limit as the second floor room was overfilled, there was a lot of frustration and perhaps as many as 80 journalists watching Obama’s speech on race from a overfill room, broadcasting a closed circuit video of the presidential candidate.

I was told some 250 media credentials were requested for 50 spots, as more than 100 tickets, mostly for city Democrats and high profile party leaders of the region, were only privately distributed.

Though the event’s locale wasn’t announced beyond media circles, still many supporters of Obama, perhaps more than 30, gathered to try to get in.