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WESA Newsroom wins multiple journalism awards, including Regional Murrows, Golden Quills

From left to right: WESA's Kiley Koscinski, Katie Blackley, Cindi Lash, Kate Giammarise, Sarah Schneider and Maria Carter at the 2022 Golden Quill Awards.
90.5 WESA
From left to right: WESA's Kiley Koscinski, Katie Blackley, Cindi Lash, Kate Giammarise, Sarah Schneider and Maria Carter at the 2022 Golden Quill Awards.

Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation, parent organization of 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, is proud to announce that the WESA newsroom, its journalists and The Allegheny Front have been honored in 2022 with significant awards in several state and regional competitions for journalism excellence.

“The variety of stories recognized reflects our efforts to bring quality journalism to many different newsbeats in Western Pennsylvania,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Terry O’Reilly.

In May, the Radio Television Digital News Association honored the WESA newsroom and its journalists with two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards — among the most prestigious in broadcast and digital news. WESA journalists also won two “Best in Show” awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.

In addition, for the third year in a row, WESA also has been named “Outstanding Large-Market Radio News Operation” in Pennsylvania in the Keystone Media Awards presented by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. WESA journalists also have won three awards in the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters competition, as well as multiple individual awards in other state and regional competitions.

“I am extremely proud of and grateful to our newsroom team for these honors and this recognition by our peers in western Pennsylvania journalism,” said Executive Editor Cindi Lash.

“These awards are indicative of the strong work our reporters, editors, producers and hosts report and deliver every day to inform our listeners and online readers,” she said. “They are particularly meaningful in a time when credible, trustworthy journalism has never been more important for the communities we serve.”

Details about WESA’s recent honors:

RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards:

The Radio Television Digital News Association on May 24 announced it has awarded two 2022 Regional Murrow Awards to the WESA newsroom. WESA competes in the large-market category within a region comprising Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and it competes against far-larger stations in those states.

The Regional Murrow Awards recognized 90.5 WESA for:

Regional Murrow Award winners will move on this summer to the national round of the competition, which includes the best broadcast journalism from all over the United States of America.

Most of the Golden Quill Awards won by WESA in 2022.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Most of the Golden Quill Awards won by WESA in 2022.

Golden Quill Awards:

Also on May 24, journalists from WESA and The Allegheny Front won 16 Golden Quill awards — out of 24 nominations — presented by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. Two first-place winners from WESA also won “Best in Show” awards in this annual competition, which honors work by professional and student journalists from Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia.

  • Reporter An-Li Herring won the Ed King “Best in Show” Award for audio journalism for “Farmers Wanted,” her multipart series that examined the challenges of cultivating a new generation of agriculture workers in Pennsylvania.
  • Reporter Kate Giammarise shared the Ray Sprigle “Best in Show” Award for written journalism with PublicSource Managing Editor Rich Lord for their collaborative series “Tenant Cities,” in which they examined conditions at an affordable-income housing complex in McKeesport and its corporate ownership.

Other WESA and Allegheny Front winners included:

  • Spot/Breaking News: An-Li Herring for “Local Restaurants Battle Red Tape to Get Federal COVID Funding, Only to Have the Money Snatched Away”
  • Traditional Feature: Kara Holsopple of The Allegheny Front, for “How a Determined Crew of Dumpbusters Clears a Ton of Trash from a Pittsburgh Hillside”
  • Profile: Bill O’Driscoll for “Pittsburgh-based Photographer Plumbs the ‘Infinite Essence’ of Black Bodies”
  • Documentary: Kevin Gavin, Marylee Williams and Laura Tsutsui of The Confluence for “Complete Strangers: Reflecting on the Sept. 11 Attacks, 20 Years Later”
  • Public Affairs/Politics/Government: An-Li Herring for “Overtime Pay for up to 190K Salary Earners Died in Harrisburg This Summer. Why Aren’t More Workers Upset?”
  • Education: Sarah Schneider for “‘I Was Honest’: How Educators Addressed the Insurrection at the Capitol”
  • Business/Technology Consumer: Kate Giammarise and An-Li Herring for “Popular but Underfunded Hazard Pay Program Helped Many, Left Others Behind”
  • Medical/Health: Sarah Boden for “For Many Immigrants, Language Access Is a Major Barrier to COVID Vaccination”
  • Science/Environment: Staff of The Allegheny Front for “Wild Pennsylvania” series
  • History/Culture: Kiley Koscinski for “Memories of Those Lost on Flight 93 Reverberate from the Tower of Voices”
  • Arts/Entertainment: Bill O’Driscoll for “Pittsburgh Arts Groups Have Returned to Indoor Shows, But Not All Patrons Have Followed”
  • Lifestyle: Katie Blackley, Lucy Perkins and Liz Reid for “Summer in the City: A Special Episode of Pittsburgh Explainer”
  • Enterprise/Investigative (audio): An-Li Herring for “Farmers Wanted”
  • Enterprise/Investigative (written): Kate Giammarise and Rich Lord of PublicSource for “Tenant Cities”

WESA’s newest reporter, Oliver Morrison, also won a Golden Quill for work published last year while he was on staff at PublicSource.

Keystone Media Awards:

In addition to being named "Outstanding Large Market Radio News Operation" in Pennsylvania, WESA was honored with 18 other awards — the most of any station entered in this competition — and six first-place awards.

The Keystone Media Awards recognize "journalism that consistently provides relevance, integrity, and initiative in serving readers and audiences, and faithfully fulfills its First Amendment rights/responsibilities." These awards will be presented at an awards brunch in October.

First-place award winners from WESA and The Allegheny Front include:

  • Best Spot News Coverage: Sarah Schneider for "After Parents' Pleas, Environmental Charter School Reinstates Teacher Who Questioned Reopening Plan"
  • Best Series: Katie Blackley for "Good Question!"
  • Best Feature: Sarah Schneider for "'I Was Honest’: How Educators Addressed the Insurrection at the Capitol"
  • Best Regularly Scheduled News or Sports Talk Program: Katie Blackley, Lucy Perkins and Liz Reid for "Summer in the City" A Special Episode of Pittsburgh Explainer"
  • Best Use of Sound (Radio only): Kiley Koscinski for "Memories of Those Lost on Flight 93 Reverberate from the Tower of Voices”
  • Best Enterprise Reporting: Julie Grant for "The Allegheny Front: Why Frack Wastewater Injected Underground Doesn't Always Stay There."

The Keystone judges also honored reporters An-Li Herring, Bill O'Driscoll and Kiley Koscinski, the team of The Confluence and the team of The Allegheny Front in second place and honorable-mention categories.

Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters:

On May 6, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters presented its annual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards, which encourage the highest standards in broadcasting and recognize programming of excellence and achievement through our annual awards.

WESA winners included:

  • Outstanding Radio Feature Story/Report/Series: Kiley Koscinski for “Memories of Those Lost on Flight 93 Reverberate from the Tower of Voices”
  • Outstanding COVID Feature Story/Report: Kiley Koscinski for “Pennsylvania’s Elderly Rely on Younger Relatives, Strangers on Facebook to Get COVID-19 Vaccine”
  • Outstanding Radio Public Affairs Program/Program Series: Katie Blackley, Lucy Perkins and Liz Reid for “Summer in the City: A Special Episode of Pittsburgh Explainer”

The Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Pro Chapter

The SPJ Keystone Pro Chapter has awarded its 2022 Spotlight Award to "Tenant Cities," the collaborative series reported jointly by Kate Giammarise of WESA and Rich Lord of PublicSource and produced jointly by both news organizations.

This contest draws work from all journalists who either lived in Pennsylvania or New Jersey when their work was published or whose work was first published in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. The Spotlight Award honors the journalist(s) whose published investigative story or series scooped other media and placed the public’s right to know in the public spotlight.

Pennsylvania Bar Association 2022 Media Awards

The Pennsylvania Bar Association in September announced that two WESA journalists were among the honorees in its 2022 Media Awards competition, which recognizes journalistic excellence in news and feature reporting on the legal system and its operations.

Sarah Boden, who covers health and science news, won a first-place award for her story: "Pittsburgh poised to become a new abortion battleground if Roe falls."

An-Li Herring, who covers business, economic and tech developments as well as courts, won a second-place award for her story: "Pittsburgh's guaranteed income program was vulnerable to claims of racial discrimination."

Both awards were presented in October during the 2022 Keystone Media Awards Brunch in Harrisburg.

Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting celebrates and congratulates all of our winners in 2022 for their excellence and is appreciative of their recognition from each of these respected journalism organizations.

Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation is an independent, locally owned community-supported public media organization. We are home to Pittsburgh’s NPR News station, 90.5 WESA, and adult album alternative music station, 91.3 WYEP, serving Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Western Pennsylvania. Our mission is to create and distribute trusted content, build connections, and strengthen our community through public media. Our vision is to foster a community that is well-informed, inclusive, and engaged.