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Laura Tsutsui

Producer for The Confluence

Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. 

Before moving to Pittsburgh, Laura covered California's San Joaquin Valley for three years at KVPR in Fresno. She reported on fires, congressional races, and everything in between. With the KVPR team, Laura won multiple Golden Mike Awards from the Radio Television News Association of Southern California, and was a California Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. 

Laura is a mentor, alumna and community manager for NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a weeklong program that pairs college students with public media mentors to help them produce radio and digital media.

In her off hours, you can catch her live-streaming a musical, or convincing her seven west-coast-residing siblings that it's not that cold in Pittsburgh. 

  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: U.S. House Republican leaders unveiled their "Commitment to America" platform in western Pennsylvania last week, ahead of the November election; Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Child Protective Services 2021 Annual Report found there was an increase of reports of child abuse, but the department anticipated the uptick after a decline of reports in 2020 attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic; and we speak to a co-founder of an organization helping women and trans people reenter society after incarceration.Today’s guests include: Chris Potter, WESA’s government and accountability editor; Richard DiBello, senior forensic interviewer with the Child Advocacy Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital; and etta cetera, co-founder of Let’s Get Free.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: State lawmakers are considering companion bills in the House and Senate that would establish a statewide rape-kit tracking system; a coalition of organizations representing Asian American and Pacific Islanders have put forth an AAPI policy platform for the state; and a conversation about why it’s so hard to identify who is lacking broadband access in the state. Today’s guests include: Donna Greco, policy director with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape; Lani Mears, president of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh; and Sascha Meinrath, Palmer Chair in the Telecommunications Department at Pennsylvania State University and director of X-Lab at Penn State.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: Pace-O-Matic, a skill games company that’s been lobbying to have their games formally recognized as legal, invited a group of state legislators to Wyoming; data from the U.S. Census Bureau found 5% more Pittsburghers were living in poverty in 2021, compared to two years prior; and the city will be hosting its inaugural Architecture Week. Today’s guests include: Angela Couloumbis, investigative reporter at Spotlight PA; Anita Zuberi, an associate professor of sociology at Duquesne University; and Michelle Fanzo, executive director of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: Some conservative activists want to eliminate electronic voting machines and are petitioning their counties to add a ballot question, taking the proposal to voters; an initiative from the University of Pittsburgh looks to make homes more accessible so aging residents can continue to live independently; and we speak to two professors at Pennsylvania Western University who received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the influence of learning communities on student outcomes. Today’s guests include: Gillian McGoldrick, Harrisburg bureau chief for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Everette James, director of the Health Policy Institute at the University of Pittsburgh; and Peter Cormas, associate professor in the Department of Education, and Kyle Frederick, professor in the Department of Geosciences, at Pennsylvania Western University.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: We talk about the widening availability of COVID-19 vaccines that target certain variants of the virus; and a conversation with an organizer and speaker for the second annual Eradicate Hate Summit, which is convening nearly 300 experts in Pittsburgh to talk about solutions to a rise in hate crimes and hateful rhetoric.Today’s guests include: Dr. Amesh Adalja, infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; Laura Ellsworth, partner-in-charge of global community service initiatives at Jones Day and co-chair of the summit, and Julie Platt, board chair of the Jewish Federations of North America.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: State Rep. Dan Frankel has renewed calls to expand the state’s Hate Crimes law after criticizing gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano for giving money to Gab, a right-wing social media site where others have posted antisemitic speech; an organization serving unhoused people has found an increasing need in Pittsburgh as pandemic eviction protections have been rolled back; and an investigation into how although marijuana is permitted for medical use, lawmakers have not clarified the protections workers when it comes to using the substance, even on personal time.Today’s guests include: State Rep. Dan Frankel; Dan Palka, administrative director with Allegheny Health Network’s Reaching Out on the Streets (R.O.O.T.S.); and Ed Mahon, investigative reporter with Spotlight PA
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: Gov. Tom Wolf is arguing the GOP-led legislature’s effort to combine measures in one bill violates the state constitution which prohibits passing laws regarding multiple, unrelated issues; the longevity of Roberto Clemente’s Sports City is under debate as the Puerto Rican government claims the player’s family has let it fall into disrepair; and the state Department of Education is updating its science standards, the first revision since they were created in 2002. Today’s guests include: Sam Dunklau, capitol bureau chief for WESA; Tom Fontaine, editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; and Karen Molchanow, executive director for the State Board of Education, and Brian Gasper, chief of the Division of Instructional Quality in the Department of Education.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: A report from the state auditor general on the performance of the Turnpike Commission says uncollected tolls and challenges to raising tolls have created an “unsustainable situation”; state lawmakers spent $3 million on outside law firms to help the caucuses prepare redistricted maps; and a conversation about a new production debuting next week in Pittsburgh featuring several Ukrainian refugee artists, and produced by a Pittsburgh native. Today’s guests include: Timothy DeFoor, Pennsylvania auditor general; Kate Huangpu, government reporter for Spotlight PA; and Audrey Rose Dégez, producing director and performer, and Yuliia Linnik, performer and public relations manager, with the Slovo Theatre Group.
  • On today’s episode of The Confluence: A report from the state Department of Corrections shows recidivism rates have changed little in the last 15 years; in his new podcast, former NPR host David Greene interviews athletes about the defining moments in their careers, giving insight to their lives; and a new book looks at what happened in McKeesport after its century-old newspaper closed in 2015. Today’s guests include: Kirstin Cornnell, family and community support director with Pennsylvania Prison Society; David Greene, former host of NPR’s Morning Edition and host of the podcast “In the Moment with David Greene.”
  • Anne Garrels, longtime foreign correspondent for NPR, died Wednesday, September 7, of lung cancer at age 71. Garrels was a bureau chief for ABC television news in Moscow and Central America. But she is probably best known for her reporting for NPR from Baghdad during the Iraq War. She spoke in Pittsburgh 15 years ago and WDUQ broadcast her remarks.