Consumer Reports Reporter Killed By Metro-North Train

Consumer Reports reporter Gian Trotta is dead after being struck by a train near Goldens Bridge station, reports the Journal News, which says the Westchester Medical Examiner has called his death a suicide.

I met this guy years ago. We were with our children at Chappaqua Library. Little G was playing with Gian Trotta’s little girl in the kiddie corner at the library–a playhouse, some puzzles, a bunch of blocks–and Gian and I got talking.

We were both reporters. He’d said he’d been a beat reporter for Newsday, covering a pro team, I can’t remember which. He’d been at MSNBC. He mentioned a handful of prestigious publications he’d written for, but not in a braggy way. He mentioned working at Consumer Reports in Yonkers, covering home and garden stuff.

We spoke for over an hour; he was friendly and engaging. We exchanged business cards. The economy was in the tank at the time, and media companies were downsizing bigtime. I figured he’d be a good guy to know in case my employer downsized me.

He said he organized parent-kid get-togethers now and then: museums, playgrounds, the city, that sort of thing. I said me and Little G would love to take part. (I don’t even remember if Little Miss C had arrived in this world yet.)

After I got home, I googled him, because that’s what reporters do after they meet each other. I hadn’t read his card and assumed his name was spelled John. Not much came up in terms of the various publications he’d claimed to be published in.

I studied his card and noted the odd spelling: GIAN. I googled him again and a bunch of bylines came up at the publications he’d said he worked at.

Gian invited me on one of those excursions–I think it was some children’s museum in Connecticut–but we weren’t able to go. We lost touch.

I saw the headline on lohud.com today about a Consumer Reports reporter who’d been killed. I clicked on it only because I thought of that guy I’d met at Chappaqua Library.

I hoped it wasn’t the guy I’d met–I mean, how many dozens of reporters are there at Consumer Reports?

It was.

This entry was posted in Chappaqua, Goldens Bridge, Little G and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Consumer Reports Reporter Killed By Metro-North Train

  1. Susan says:

    Ugh, that’s so awful! Just to think that you two have this nice convo, he seems to be relatively upbeat–arranging outings, playing with his kid–yet just a few years later he kills himself? Just goes to show, you never know what’s going on inside a person. Scary.

  2. Friend and co-worker says:

    He was one of the Good Guys. We worked together at CR. We were both on a layoff list during a management/union fracas in 2009. We escaped that fate to fight another day, but neither of us were the same after that. Last week, during a company-wide meeting (and just prior to new contract negotiations) the President mentioned the “L-word” again. I thought this would happen. I’d hoped to have a convo with Gian about it. He had an espresso machine in his office. We’d become kind of comrades-in-arms.

    His boss is taking it really hard. He’s kicking himself, wondering if he should have seen something, or whether it was something he himself said or did – after all, we’re all under a lot of pressure these days.

    Gian left behind a 7-year-old daughter who seemed to be the absolute light of his life. I’m still trying to get my head around it.

    • an italian relative says:

      Thanks Friend and co-worker, your words give sense to an absurd story.
      Since I heard of Gian’s departure, I can’t stop wondering why.

  3. I worked with Gian in the mid-1990s at Pathfinder, Time-Warner’s audacious but ultimately doomed Web portal. Gian was in charge of communications, which meant supervising Chat lines, Bulletin Boards, and other interactive communications. We became friends and I spoke to him last about a month ago.

    Gian was a sweet, intelligent, moral, funny guy with encyclopedic knowledge. He deeply loved his family and treated his friends well. I cannot fathom what drove him to this act of self-destruction, but it is rare that one ever can. Some of the best people who have been closest to me in my life have committed suicide. I have found it useful not to dwell on the question “what could we have done to prevent this,” because doing so creates an endless loop of guilt that it is impossible to extricate oneself from.

    Life is precious and every day, while a gift, can also be an unbearable
    ordeal. We are all very fragile.

  4. Brian marchand says:

    I worked with Gian at Prodigy Services in the early to mid 90’s. As others have stated he was an absolutely wonderful guy. We lost touch over the years but I would think of him often as we worked together at the dawn of the Internet Age and I always marveled at how many of his predictions came true and how his approach to working in online media was spot on – right from the beginning.

    We recently reconnected on Facebook and I was so happy to see pictures of him and his family. His daughter did seem to indeed be the light of his life. I can’t imagine how it came to this. He had so much to offer this world. He will truly be missed…

  5. A Friend says:

    I knew Gian. Our daughters are classmates. He was a very warm and friendly person. I am both shocked and saddened.

  6. Steve Matthews says:

    I worked with Gian at Newsday from the late 1980’s until sometime in the early 1990’s…….Truly great guy, we both fished together reguarly…….And enjoyed many nights doing the clubs when we were single…….I still have a picture taken by his wife (then girlfriend, Maria) of the two of us fishing together at Lido Beach, LI dated Nov. 1990…….We lost touch after he left Newsday…….A great friend and wonderful, caring person…What a shame…..My thoughts and prayers are with his family…….

  7. Evan Rudowski says:

    I went to college with Gian and Maria and especially got to know him working together at Newsday in the 1980s. We kept in touch on and off and I visited him and Maria several times when back in New York. We had a lovely day with our wives and kids at the Long Island children’s museum a few years ago. They brought along gifts for our kids, a generous touch that was entirely characteristic of them both.

    I echo the sentiments above; Gian was a truly good-hearted, sincere and warm person, who worked hard and loved his family. It’s impossible to make any sense of it. We’re heartbroken for him and for Maria and their little girl.

  8. Knew him too says:

    I also worked with Gian at one of his many, many jobs. This just goes to show you that you can work shoulder to shoulder with someone and not know them. In that way, the office gives a false intimacy. We don’t know the quality of his work, the condition of his finances or the state of his personal life. We do know that he had a lot of good people who cared for him. But somehow the terror of living became greater than the terror of dying for Gian and none of us will ever know why. We can run it over and over in our minds and never learn what was in his mind when he made that decision. So there’s no blame and no logic just good memories of a guy who sat down the hall or you met in the library or went fishing with. And profound sadness for those he left behind.

  9. Emily Sachar says:

    Gian was such a talented man. I keep turning this “story” over and over in my mind. I last saw Gian some 3-4 years ago; we met for coffee at the Barnes & Noble in Park Slope; his young daughter was in tow and he was chasing her around while trying to drink his coffee. While Gian always struck me as on-the-edge, I never imagined he was so deeply pained. His suicide strikes me as a reminder that I must always look for the pain in others’ apparently strong lives, to remember how fragile we all are, and never to judge. I so wish Gian had reached out to me, or to someone. Did he? I wish I could have provided some comfort.

  10. mike feingold says:

    I’ve known Gian since the catholic high school days in Freeport.
    We had our first apt’s on 40 Randal ave, He was always a voice of reason and a good friend, Gian my Friend you WILL be missed

  11. Cyd Gorman says:

    I too worked with Gian at Prodigy Services in White Plains NY and then reconnected with him years later when we were both working for different companies in New Rochelle NY. He was such a generous soul… organizing dinner at a Mexican restaurant when mutual friends were visiting from out of town. He brought his family to one of our beach parties in Stamford CT… and we recently spoke of meeting up again for a backyard BBQ. Why Gian? Why leave your daughter and wife alone?

  12. jeopardyboy says:

    I’ve known Gian more than 20 years. I worked with him at Prodigy, and at About.com. He helped get me a job once when I was out of work, as well as several freelancing gigs over the years. He was a very bright guy with an encyclopedic memory and appeared on at least one TV game show. He was fluent in three languages. He was a great writer, reporter and a truly skilled editor. Nobody worked harder that Gian; I’d seen him work 30 or 40 days straight, including weekends. He seemed to me to be a guy who had it all together. I am heartbroken for Maria and their daughter, who I know was the light of his life.

  13. trotta alessandra says:

    gian io tua cugina dall italia non ti conoscevo cosi bene come tutte queste persone.mi rimane di te il ricordo della nostra infanzia quando sono venuta a casa vostra a freeport e un cugino dispettoso e vivace si divertiva a tirarmi dietro il suo gatto kabuchi e a spaventarmi in altri mille modi.era tutto divertente e perfetto lo eravamo noi nel pieno dei nostri anni verdi lo era la strabiliante america e tutti i nostri sogni ancora da realizzare.la vita ci cambia e ci allontana con tutte le nostre nevrosi piccole o grandi che siano.io ti ricorderò seduto vicino a me e a tua sorella terry in quel fantastico concerto di tina turner a john’s beach in una lontanissima estate di tanti anni fà.addio cuginetto mio…

  14. a friend says:

    please post for Gian on facebook. RIP Gian trotta

  15. Vic Nicotra says:

    John,you were part of my family.Everyone in our family will miss you very much.Wow, I can’t get over what has happened.You will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Gian and I met in 1996 at The Mining Company, which would later transform into what is now called About.com or About Inc. I was laid off from the company in 1998 but Gian and I kept in touch over the years, and met up a number of times. I just found out about his death today, and I’m in shock. Not only the death, but the manner of death. This was a very intelligent, friendly and laid-back man. He was always very supportive of my career and sometimes would think of me when he found a position he thought I ought to apply for. He hoped we could come over to his house in Connecticut last summer but it never happened. He has a wife and young daughter… This is just terrible.

  17. Steven says:

    For all who knew Gian, there’s going to be a gathering on 7/28 at Kennedy’s bar on West 57th in Manhattan. Details here: http://bit.ly/jT30FW

  18. Jen says:

    I used to work under Gian as one of his writers. I was shocked by this news. I wish him peace and hope that he has found what he was looking for. I will always remember him and make his story a lesson in life. Rest in Peace, Gian. My condolences to Gian’s family and loved ones.

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