While San Francisco ponders life without its own newspaper, the Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette announced today that they are dedicating monthly editions of the paper’s dining section to be their new coffee section: The coffee’s on.

From the article:

It’s clear a growing number of Pittsburgh cafes are on the cutting edge of coffee and espresso, and, despite the treacherous economy, our coffee scene continues to thrive and expand.

While I’ve occasionally written about coffee in the food section, the dining section and in my Sunday column, “On The Menu,” the scope and number of developments demand greater and more focused coverage. Starting today, on the fourth Thursday of every month the dining section will become the coffee section. Each month, with the help of coffee professionals and passionate amateurs, I’ll explore a different topic in the wide, wondrous world of Pittsburgh coffee.

The Post-Gazette Web site also promises to publish a new weekly column that will “include listings about different varietal and origin coffees available at Pittsburgh cafes, as well as coffee cuppings and classes.”

Does this mean that coffee is finally going legit among the mainstream dining set? Hardly. Qualitative, let alone quantitative, reviews of coffee remain non-existent in the mainstream media. Furthermore, given that newspaper dining sections are dominated by restaurant coverage, the continued sad state of restaurant espresso doesn’t bode well either.

We can easily envision a short-lived newspaper series that quickly repeats itself with the same stories on single origin beans, barista competitions, latte art, cupping, and Q grading — much like the ubiquitous hand-on-mouse B-roll shot that plagued every me-too TV show about the World Wide Web during the late 1990s.

However, the Post-Gazette threatens that “the focus will be on the coffee.” So with that, we’ll leave you with this journalism platitude: only time will tell.

UPDATE: March 16, 2009
Sure enough, the Post-Gazette published an example of their weekly “The Buzz”: The Buzz: What’s new with coffee.