Meet the new Editor

Justin Finneran
Justin Finneran

It’s good to be back. You see, my first job was a paperboy for The Evening Phoenix back in the early 90s. It was a great job, but I did not make enough to retire, so I decided that it be best that I go on to obtain my high school diploma – which I did as a member of Phoenixville Area High School’s class of 1994. The next decade of my life, which I refer to as my Chromatic Period, I tried my hand at dozens of different occupations. I had jobs ranging from dog walking to demolition, and while I enjoyed almost all of them I never found my niche.

Throughout it all I would write in my spare time, not professionally, but rather as therapy of sorts or simply for fun. Those who I shared my writing with seemed to enjoy it, and one close friend suggested that I pursue writing in some higher form. At that point in time I had no reason not to try it out and see what the future held for me as a legitimate pro. So it came to be that, ten years after finishing high school, I literally gave it the old college try. It did not take me long to realize that something had fallen into place – I tore through my initial courses with vigor and excitement, and since I finally truly cared about my education (because I was paying, or should I say am still paying, for it), I became a fully invested and excellent student. I chose journalism because I saw it as a career path which A) involved writing, B) involved exploring and learning of new things almost daily, and C) gave me the opportunity to have a positive effect on the world around me with my work.

Four-and-a-half years later I had the pleasure of tacking up on my wall a little piece of paper from Temple University that had my name smack dab in the middle of it. I was a bonafide ‘journo’, but I was only working part-time at a radio station – it was not planned to be that way, but that is another different and stranger story – so one day I just walked into the Phoenix newspaper building and offered my services as an unpaid intern (it was 2009, and no one seemed to be hiring) to get my foot in the door with then editor Leanne Petite. Happy to have me on board, she quickly tasked me with general assignment reporting.

Within a few months I was taken on as a freelance correspondent for both The Phoenix and the Tri County Record in Morgantown, PA. It was a few months later that I was offered the position of Editor of the Tri County Record. I happily accepted the job and dove right into the great communities which constitute its coverage area. Three years passed from that point to when my friend and colleague Heather Tyrrell announced that she would be stepping down as Editor of the recently revamped Phoenix Reporter & Item, and I knew right away that I was going to try and convince my bosses that I was the right person to pick up where she had left off. Had it been any other newspaper, I likely would not have budged, but I grew up in Phoenixville and I know a fair amount about nearly all of the places that the former Item and Reporter papers covered. If you look at my shift from the Tri County Record to the Phoenix Reporter & Item ‘on paper’ it is more or less a lateral move, but for me it is a giant step forward because it is a return to my roots.


Well, that’s my story, for what it’s worth, and now it is time for me to wrap it up and move ahead with telling the stories of the Phoenix Reporter & Item community. I am fortunate to have a very talented group of co-workers and freelance journalists to work alongside of, and together we will strive to keep each and every reader informed and entertained whether they read the paper or click their way through

Thank You,

Justin Finneran

Editor, Phoenix Reporter & Item