© 2023 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates To Discuss City’s Pressing Issues At Today’s Debate

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today's program: WESA and the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation will host a debate with Pittsburgh’s Mayoral Candidates, as Mayor Bill Peduto attempts to secure a third term; a new study published today looks at how health care workers can use techniques from anti-vaccine social media users to share science-based information online; and we’ll talk about how Penguins' trades could affect their playoff performance.

Pittsburgh mayoral candidates will debate today
(0:00 — 5:34)

This evening at 7 p.m., WESA and the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation will broadcast a debate with the four Democratic candidates for mayor of Pittsburgh: state representative Ed Gainey, retired police officer Tony Moreno, South Oakland resident Mike Thompson, and incumbent Mayor William Peduto.

Ed Gainey used to be an ally of Mayor Bill Peduto’s for several years, has endorsed him in previous runs,” says WESA’s government and accountability editor Chris Potter. “The kind of constant refrain of the Gainey effort is, if it hasn’t happened in eight years, it won’t happen in another four.”

Gainey won the county Democratic endorsement and is trying to become the first Black mayor.

Tony Moreno, on the other hand, is running as an “outsiders’ outsider,” says Potter. As a retired police officer, Moreno is most familiar with public safety and has discussed management issues with the police department.

Mike Thompson made a point of saying that he is the only of the candidates that doesn’t live in his own home, says Potter. “He’s a renter, and speaks sort of from the perspective of renters in general.”

“He certainly is well read up on solutions being implemented in other cities.”

Incumbent Bill Peduto is running for his third term, which he assured will be his last.

“He knows that there’s work left to be done and that these problems have not been solved and he’s saying, look, I’ve been a steady hand, let me finish the tasks for which I’ve already started the work here,” says Potter.

The big underlying question for each candidate, Potter says, is “Who is Pittsburgh for?”

Potter will moderate the debate along with PBMF board member and WESA reporter Ariel Worthy.

How to use social media effectively to share science-based vaccine information
(5:35 — 13:00)

Last year, an event organized on Twitter called #DoctorsSpeakUp, meant to promote vaccines among doctors online saw more than half of the tweets associated with the event oppose vaccination.

A study about what can be learned, using that event, about spreading messages on social media from the anti-vaccine movement has been published in the journal, Vaccine today.

“We looked at about 5% of the tweets and what we found is that about 80% of those were anti-vaccine, which is not what we were expecting,” says Beth Hoffman, the study’s lead researcher and a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

She says upon digging deeper, most of the anti-vaccine tweets were related to a single infographic published in the days leading up to the event, suggesting a coordinated effort to publish tweets with the “Doctors Speak Up” hashtag.

  This infographic was shared on Twitter by anti-vaccine activists the day prior to the #DoctorsSpeakUp event on March 5, 2020.
Courtesy of Beth Hoffman
This infographic was shared on Twitter by anti-vaccine activists the day prior to the #DoctorsSpeakUp event on March 5, 2020.

The study published in Vaccine outlines five guidelines for future pro-vaccine events, for example: be inclusive, make sure participants have suggested tweets in hand and are trained in how to respond to messages, and engage in risk communication by sharing personal stories and science-backed information online.

“Even though vaccine activists are a very vocal minority, they are a very small minority. There’s only about 2 to 3% of the population that’s solidly anti-vaccine,” says Hoffman. She says a better strategy is to engage with vaccine hesitant people “to inoculate them against misinformation.”

Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician and co-author of the study, says sometimes it’s better to not engage people sharing anti-vaccine information online, especially if they’re seemingly only interested in sharing misinformation.

Wolynn is also founder of Shots Heard Round the World, an organization seeking to combat anti-vaccine information on social media and help other health care providers better engage their community online.

“The anti-vaccine movement, while a lot of people think, well these are people that are really concerned about vaccines, oftentimes, at the highest levels are being pushed by people with ulterior motives, those that are seeking out profit or political gain or power,” says Wolynn.

The Penguins make final trades
(13:05 — 18:00)

The National Hockey League’s trading deadline passed Monday, April 13 at 3 p.m. and the Penguins were active, but not busy trying to shape their roster for the race to the playoffs.

“We’ve gotten accustomed in the last six or seven years to a lot of action, a lot of wheeling and dealing and kind of brash moves, certainly from [former Penguins manager Jim] Rutherford and that’s not what we saw from [Ron] Hextall,” says Sean Gentille, senior writer for The Athletic. “It was a pretty measured approach.”

The Penguins made one trade with the L.A. Kings, but it was for well known veteran Jeff Carter.

“The biggest thing that Carter brings is positional versatility,” says Gentille., “He can play center, he can play both wings, so he’s kind of like a two birds with one stone sort of player.”

Gentille says in light of injuries among the Penguins, they need a player who can play more than one position.

Ron Hextall does not like to give up draft picks but he traded a conditional third rounder in 2022 and a conditional fourth rounder the next year.

“That’s probably below market, I think Hextall did a really good job without having to part with any future second round picks in particular,” says Gentille. “That’s a really good price to pay for Carter.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Isabelle is a student at George Washington University studying Political Communication. She loves all things Pittsburgh sports and serves as a sports anchor for GW-TV. In her free time, she enjoys museum hopping and walking her dog, Stevie.
Subscribe to The Confluence podcast
Recent Episodes Of The Confluence
Load More