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What Does Alcoa's Return Mean For Pittsburgh?

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John Miller
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90.5 WESA
Alcoa, which started in Pittsburgh in 1888 with an invention by engineer Charles Martin Hall, is returning to the city after being away for 11 years.

After moving its headquarters to New York 11 years ago, iconic aluminum manufacturer Alcoa is returning to Pittsburgh, where it was founded, at the beginning of next month.

When then-candidate Donald Trump spoke in Monessen, Pa. in June 2016, he promised to “put American steel -- and aluminum – back into the backbone of our country.”

Reporter John Miller, who specializes in metals and mining, has looked into the impact Alcoa’s homecoming will have on the region. He’s joined by 90.5 WESA development and transportation reporter Margaret J. Krauss, who’s traveled to New Kensington, Pa., the “town Alcoa built,” to see how its departure impacted the local economy.

"The Confluence" airs Fridays at noon on 90.5 WESA-FM at wesa.fm

As technology evolves, aluminum manufacturing has changed too, according to Allegheny Front managing editor and reporter Julie Grant. She looks at the company’s environmental impact around the world, and how it could affect the Pittsburgh region.

Also in the show…

An unbalanced budget in Harrisburg is worrying officials tasked with managing state funds.

Two months after agreeing on a $32 billion spending plan, there’s still no agreement on how to find it. PennLive and Harrisburg Patriot-News opinion editor John Micek says that could mean borrowing to pay Pennsylvania’s bills, or even implementing a spending freeze.

And finally…

Storytelling is changing; no longer are journalists confined to the written or spoken word, or to still photography and videos. Now, graphic artists, animators and web coders are lending their skills to traditional media.   

AmyJo Brown, coder, designer and co-founder of War Streets Media, talks about why she decided to pursue her own non-traditional news outlet and where she sees the future of journalism.

We’ll also hear from Idil Gozde, a graphic designer who’s been working with PublicSource for the “Small Town Pennsylvania” series. She’ll describe her creative process and what it’s been like making gifs for the outlet’s stories.

Ben Howard, assistant managing editor/digital design with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has been using mixed media to enhance the experiences of his audience. He’ll talk about the PG’s interactive approach to storytelling in the digital age. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer of Pittsburgh Explainer and our Good Question! series. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm
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