For almost 20 years, Caroline O’Halloran has reported on people, places and parties around the Main Line for local newspapers and magazines. Since 2015, she’s helmed SAVVY Main Line, a monthly online news magazine.
MLT: How do you decide what stories to cover?
CO: I always ask myself, “What’s the Main Line talking about? What should the Main Line be talking about?” I also look for news that directly impacts daily life here. Often that’s as light and fluffy as a hot new restaurant. But it’s frequently more substantial, like our stories about development reshaping the area—for good or ill—and the mental health struggles shattering local families. Sounds corny, but I always ask myself, “What good is being served by sharing this deeply personal story? That’s why SAVVY shies away from gossipy news—unless it could point to a systemic problem—and why we’re partial to stories about people triumphing over adversity.
MLT: Did segueing from print to digital change the way that you cover stories?
CO: I take most of my own photos now, and I enjoy it. And my writing is shorter, punchier and somewhat breezier. We even break AP Style rules when we think it better serves the reader. It’s all been fun and liberating.
MLT: How has the Main Line changed in the past 25 years?
CO: We’re more culturally and racially diverse and less starchy politically. I like to think we’ve become more tolerant and appreciative of others’ differences. Vacant storefronts and old office buildings are being bulldozed for multifamily housing because brick-and-mortar retail and in-person work have both taken hits in recent years. Our towns are starting to look different.
MLT: Tell us about your connection to the beer business.
CO: My grandfather, a Sicilian emigrant, founded Origlio Beverage in 1933. My father, Bill Mangan Sr., founded the first McKenzie Brew House in Chadds Ford 20 years ago. We lost my father in March, but he’d already passed the baton to my brother, Bill Jr.
MLT: And the biggest get of your career?
CO: The time I chatted up Bruce Springsteen at the Devon Horse Show. But my most fulfilling “get” was Andras Szekely, the Tredyffrin/Easttown school bus driver/photographer who’d been secretly living in his car for years. My profile was picked up by The Washington Post and other outlets. With the help of SAVVY readers and PR pro Sarah Doheny, Szekely got a new car and a new living situation.