Katie Blackley


Katie Blackley is a digital producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. After graduating in 2014, Katie was an editor for KQV 1410 AM in downtown Pittsburgh and did freelance video work for the Civic Light Opera.

She’s passionate about all things Pittsburgh and believes someday she’ll solve the Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The famous, or perhaps infamous, Pittsburgh accent is as central to the Steel City’s identity as Terrible Towels and yellow bridges.

Jeff White / AP

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to loosen Obama-era internet regulations and roll back net neutrality rules

This story was originally published  Sept. 11, 2017. 

In the spacious corridor of a trendy co-working space on Pittsburgh’s North Side, Michael Shenck runs through a list of all the ways his real estate startup, Ikos, uses the internet each day.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport opened Tuesday to daily non-passengers for the first time since security was tightened at airports nationwide after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"It's nice, it's for the economy to be able to come here and shop," said Elizabeth Township resident Shelli Ruggier, who came to pick up her grandson from a terminal. "We're just happy we can get to a gate and greet family members, rather than them getting off and not knowing anybody."

Steve Johnson / flickr

Residents of Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods and Reserve Township can again use water from their faucets. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Thursday evening that the precautionary flush and boil advisory instituted Monday had been lifted.

The advisory has not been lifted in Millvale, however, where additional tests are required to verify that the water is safe.

Volmar Beche / flickr

An elderly woman in Pittsburgh’s East End has contracted West Nile Virus, the first reported case in Allegheny County since 2015.

Allegheny County Health Department officials said, while the disease can’t be spread through human contact, infected mosquito activity is higher this summer than in the previous six years.

David J. Phillip / AP

Volunteers and rescue workers from the Pittsburgh area are making their way south to help flood victims in Texas.

John Miller / 90.5 WESA

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.


Last weekend, during a protest near Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square, several people online questioned the legality of a man openly carrying a rifle on a public city corner. According to Pennsylvania firearms laws, however, it’s perfectly legal.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Surrounded by sea of scissors, masking tape and aluminum foil, dozens of families gathered at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to build pinhole projectors out of paper towel tubes, long rectangular cardboard boxes and cereal boxes.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 300 people marched from Homewood to North Point Breeze Saturday afternoon led by black activists and followed by white allies. 

The peaceful march organized by a group of black women and femmes intentionally prioritized the needs and voices of black attendees. All intersections of the black community including physical ability and sexual orientation and identity were welcomed as well as white allies. Organizer Deaja Baker said it was a chance to uplift the black communities.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is ramping up efforts to teach boaters about safety at the region’s many locks and dams months after two women died while kayaking on the Ohio River.

Heather Kresge / Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America

When Arielle Cohen was first approached about joining the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter, she hesitated.

“What I said exactly was: ‘I’m definitely a capital "F" feminist, but I think I’m a lower "s" socialist,’” Cohen said.

Peter Kaminski / flickr

It’s time to stop using blue Giant Eagle grocery bags to hold recyclables.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s tunnels are considered the gateway to the city. More than 229,000 people drive through the Liberty, Fort Pitt, Squirrel Hill and Stowe tunnels each day.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On the corner of Bartlett Street and Panther Hollow Road in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park, there’s a colorful, decorated bench. Depending on the season, it could be painted like an American flag, covered in shamrocks or decked out for the Buccos.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Shortly after Connor Sites-Bowen moved to Pittsburgh in 2004, he got a little lost trying to get to Greenfield.

“I stopped and asked someone, I said, ‘I’m trying to get over here, which way do I go?’” Sites-Bowen said. “He said, ‘Oh, you go across the Greenfield Bridge right here and you go left where the Bruster’s used to be.’”

It was the “used to be” that stuck with Sites-Bowen. He said just like in any city, people rely on landmarks to get from one place to another, but in Pittsburgh, it doesn’t matter if the landmark exists anymore.

WeMake Milano / Milano

The internet and cable company Comcast has chosen Pittsburgh for its new networking platform, MachineQ, which purports to offer quicker and more energy-efficient options for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT technology is the interconnectivity of objects through tiny implanted data-sending machines.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Five local football players have been chosen for the All-American National Team, which is playing against the American Team this weekend as part of the Women’s Football Alliance Championship.

All the players are members of the Pittsburgh Passion football team, which is celebrating 15 years as a league. The All-American players were voted on as the best of the WFA’s 65 teams.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, one of the worst deals the U.S. has made. But the head of the country’s largest industrial union isn’t convinced his administration is doing enough to renegotiate the terms.

For most of the history of Pittsburgh, elected officials have been white men. But in 1956, then-Mayor David L. Lawrence did something unheard of: he appointed a woman to City Council.

That woman was Irma D’Ascenzo, an Italian-American Hazelwood resident who was working as secretary and chief examiner for the city's Civil Service Commission. Throughout World War II, and in the years following, she’d been volunteering and was active in her community.

D’Ascenzo’s great-granddaughter, Jeanne Persuit, said Lawrence recognized that rising to council was a natural step for her.

Personseo / flickr

Nearly 53,000 businesses in the Pittsburgh region are owned by women, according to recent federal data, and one local organization hopes to continue to bolster female entrepreneurship. 

Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship is opening a new 3,000-square-foot hub with four new informational classes.

Google Maps

Construction of a 33-unit affordable housing complex in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood is expected to start this week. Action-Housing Inc. will build the six-story Krause Commons at the former Poli’s Restaurant property on Murray Avenue.

Lena Andrews, development officer with Action-Housing, said the site was ideal because of the community surrounding it.

“We really like to build our projects in strong neighborhoods that have access to a lot of amenities,” Andrews said.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A giant white balloon floated across Pittsburgh’s Riverview Park Friday morning as part of a test launch of a University of Pittsburgh and NASA research project. A few dozen people watched as the balloon and a few colorful containers attached by a rope were released into the cloudy skies just before noon.

Paul A. Selvaggio / Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

At the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, inside a tall concrete room, kept warm and humid, is a series of cages filled with the most illegally trafficked animal in the world: the pangolin.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Long before cell phones held all of our photos and stored calendars for meetings, there was a primitive, but equally as personal object: the carved powder horn. 

Bill Gardner / 90.5 WESA

The language on the controversial black and yellow Sprint advertisement that blankets part of Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington has been changed, amid legal battles over the sign’s permit.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On a weekday afternoon in Pittsburgh’s South Hills, a few dozen adults are standing within taped yellow boundaries, sneakers scuffing a gym floor, lobbing what looks like a bright green wiffleball back and forth over a short net with soft, square paddles.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Does your street have sidewalks that end abruptly? Or spots on walkways without curb cuts? Bike Pittsburgh is documenting issues pedestrians and cyclists encounter in each of the city's 90 neighborhoods to bring attention to mobility obstacles in Pittsburgh.

Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, said the work of identifying things like overgrown steps, cars parked on sidewalks and visible crosswalks is central to the nonprofit’s mission.