Stephanie Farr has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer since 2016, focusing on what makes Philadelphia unique. Caption by Freddy Gruber

Inquirer Journalist Shares Wisdom With PV’s Budding Reporters

On Friday, October 27, 2023, Stephanie Farr, columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, spoke to PVHS journalists at Temple University for the Pennsylvania School Press Association Regional Write-Off. Nearly 90 students from schools across Pennsylvania attended the competition, which included on-site writing and editing events. The conference allowed young writers to gain insights from professionals like Farr who had ample experience in the field of journalism.

Farr told the story of her career journey, which began with uncertainty about her path after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in creative nonfiction writing. She was certain that journalism was not the path for her, believing it to be a boring career. However, once she started freelancing for a small town newspaper, working her way up from obituaries to events and sports, she fell in love with it. Farr credited journalism with enriching her life by providing perspective, diverse encounters, and travel opportunities.

“Through journalism, I was able to do things I never otherwise would have gotten to do,” she said.

Eventually, her hard work paid off and she got a job at the Daily News, a competitor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. When the papers merged in 2016, Farr joined the Inquirer as a columnist covering the essence of Philadelphia, a city she has grown to love.

During her speech at the Write-Off, she left students with many words of wisdom. For aspiring journalists, Farr advocated developing public speaking skills.

“Take public speaking classes… are going to be in situations you never imagined,” Farr said.

True to the witty and offbeat nature of her articles, Farr left students with possibly her most far-reaching piece of advice.

“If you’re bored writing a story, the reader is going to be bored reading it.”

She emphasized the importance of letting your passion bleed into your writing and simply enjoying the experience. Farr encouraged students to search for stories that excite them.
In an ever-changing media landscape, Farr remains committed to spotlighting Philadelphia’s unique culture and spirit through her column. By sharing her journey, she inspires the next generation of writers to find their own path and voice.