Best wishes, Dave Gossett
As you look through the pages of the newspaper during the next few weeks, it’s likely you will notice that a familiar byline is missing.
That’s because Dave Gossett, a longtime area newsman who has spent the last decade or so with us, retired as of Saturday.
Dave’s an old-school newsman, the kind who always was looking for a story and always searching for a way to make sure that residents of the Tri-State Area in general, and Steubenville, in particular, stayed informed on some pretty important issues — more about that later.
That’s really not surprising, though, given his training at the Ohio University School of Journalism. As a fellow Bobcat, it’s easy to appreciate the effort it takes to get through any of the tracts at that school — his was news writing, mine marketing and public relations. We passed through school several years apart, but close enough for me to able to listen to his stories about reporting in the areas surrounding the school and remember what it was like to be living in Southeastern Ohio in the early and mid-1970s — including, of course, the then-annual fall and spring “disturbances” that overtook the streets of that perfect little college town of Athens.
His name — and voice — have been familiar to people in our region for some time now. In addition to full-time work at the old Weirton Steel Corp., Dave worked in local radio, including at the old WLIT-AM, where he did a little bit of everything, from hosting an on-air auction, to doing sports play-by-play to, yes, reporting on the news. He also spent some time as a reporter at The Weirton Daily Times.
No assignment has ever been too small — or too big — for Dave to handle. While it can be easy to look past a possible story, he always looked for a way to say yes. It’s a formula that has worked well.
Here’s that old-school thing again: While specialization seems to overtaken every field — including ours — Dave represents the best of community journalism, the reporter who can handle any type of story he is assigned or comes across. His beat was always covered — there was not too much that happened in the city that he was not aware of, and his coverage of local government activities has been second to none.
His versatility, however, was always on display. If it was a feature story or a business story, Dave knew just how to approach the subject. Whether it was breaking, tragic news — like last summer’s wounding of Judge Joseph Bruzzese and the fatal shooting of his assailant in the alley next to the Jefferson County Courthouse; the tragic loss of a former city resident — like the recent death of former city resident Michael Donnelly, who was trying to help a stranded motorist on a Dallas freeway, and his last-second decision that likely saved the life of a woman who also had stopped to help; a story about the good things happening in our region — like his reporting of the expansion and growing success of the Nutcracker Village and Advent Market at Historic Fort Steuben; changes in local politics — like the decision of Domenick Mucci to not seek re-election as mayor and the subsequent election of Jerry Barilla to the post; important social issues facing our community — like his 2015 series on prostitution in Steubenville; or the changing local business scene, Dave’s writing was able to capture the true essence of events and the people involved in them.
Those efforts have been recognized by his colleagues as well — Dave has won numerous awards for his writing from the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors and the West Virginia Press Association.
All of this was accomplished in vintage, old-school fashion: In a time when it seems that just about everyone is glued to his or her smartphone for large portions of the day, Dave made his calls and got his tips on a flip phone — and he gathered his information in a notebook — there was no place for an audio recorder of any kind.
Taking over coverage of the city will be veteran staff writer Paul Giannamore. It will mark his return to a beat he held many years ago.
We wish Dave well in his retirement and whatever paths he chooses to follow.
He’s a pro’s pro — and our newspaper — and, most certainly, our community — has been made better because of his work.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)