Megan Harris

Digital Editor / Producer

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station; producer for the Criminal Injustice podcast; fill-in local Morning Edition producer; and producer/director for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live weekly news roundup.

Previously, Megan covered K-12 education and bicycle and pedestrian planning for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, education at The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Ky., and crime and breaking news for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn. She worked for a film production crew near Nashville, Tenn., and covered Division I sports at the University of Memphis.

In her off hours, she camps, climbs and Crossfits.

Ways to Connect

John Locher / AP

Gun violence kills thousands of Americans every year. It carries massive consequences in lives lost, injuries and medical treatment, but what about the economic cost – in jobs, businesses and community development? How can we measure the opportunity cost of gun violence?

Cliff Owen / AP

 

It’s been less than a week since U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) announced he’s resigning from Congress, and the field for a special election to fill his seat is already highly contested. Murphy was forced to resign amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker allegedly urged his mistress to get an abortion.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Over the last 50 years, more than 8,000 people have been sentenced to die under the death penalty, and 1,500 of them were ultimately executed. But today, the death penalty has fallen out of favor.

Chicago Police Department / AP

Police misconduct can do a lot of damage -- inciting fear or upsetting the public trust that officers need to do their jobs, especially when their actions affect primarily people of color.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Law enforcement agencies aren't interested in putting protesters behind bars, according to panel speakers at the two-day Shale Insight energy conference Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Colleen Long / AP

Police killings of unarmed black men, stop-and-frisk policies and racially disproportionate prison populations have all been called symptoms of a broken criminal justice system.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Jersey sales for Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva peaked Monday on at least two fan websites after he alone opted to stand on field during the national anthem in Chicago on Sunday.

Courtesy of Phillip Atiba Goff

Fear, fatigue, mood and experience all affect how people interact with others. That's especially true when those actions have life or death consequences.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel began his criminal justice career in 1989, just as the commonwealth's prison population began to balloon.

It was the beginning of America's mass incarceration era -- one that Wetzel said his office is only now beginning to reverse.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he thinks fully legalizing medical and recreational marijuana could solve the state's growing budget problems.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Pittsburgh plans to compete for the new site of AmazonHQ2, a second headquarters location announced by the Seattle-based company early Thursday.

Jeff Roberson / AP

After riots erupted Ferguson, Mo. following the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, investigations revealed that the entire criminal justice system in St. Louis County – not just the police department – levied massive amounts of fines and fees on its poorest citizens in order to fund itself.

It was a wake-up call for the nation, and one organization had already been in place working on these issues for five years.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. A consultant found PWSA to be “a failed organization atop a dangerous and crumbling structure” in an initial assessment presented Monday. Hours later, the authority issued a flush-and-boil water order for 18,000 homes across the North Side, Millvale and Reserve Township related to holes in the cover on top of a water reservoir in Shaler Township.

Evan Vucci / AP

Pittsburgh government and faith leaders invited the public to events this weekend "to come together during a trying time," Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday.

The events are a reaction to violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday when white supremacist groups rallied over the removal of a Confederate statue and fought with counter protesters, including Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car slammed into the crowd.

Matt Rourke / AP

A commission created by President Donald Trump asked him to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s opioid epidemic. Earlier this week, he declined. On Thursday, according to a White House pool report, he changed his mind.

The declaration would free the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to grant additional funding for resources, address leadership shortfalls and make changes to Medicaid coverage.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

The federal government doesn't track how often or what happens when police shoot civilians, and there's no official national database to show how big or complex the problem is.

Journalist Ben Montgomery said he learned a lot by requesting documents from more than 400 jurisdictions in Florida alone. In six years and more than 800 shootings, not one incident resulted in criminal charges.

Kamil Kaczor / Flickr

Officials announced Tuesday that PWSA is back in compliance with federal standards for lead levels in drinking water. The next day, City Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the authority to replace the private side of residential lead service lines when it replaces the public side.

Susan Walsh / AP

James Comey wasn’t the nation’s embattled former FBI Director in 2002, but the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan. He was giving a speech to a group of fellow attorneys -- men and women with impeccable courtroom records. 

Comey was not impressed.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

It's an oft-repeated mandate: law enforcement needs to change for the 21st century. But what does "21st century policing" actually mean, and how would a forward-thinking department be different than what most jurisdictions have now?

Eric Risberg / AP

The FBI has used the same protocols to process DNA for the last 20 years. It requires a human analyst to make comparisons based on subjective choices and simplified genetic samples.

Mark Perlin's product, True Allele, uses a different method. It's a program that lets computers process every high and low point in a piece of DNA – no comparisons or required.

On this episode of the Criminal Injustice podcast, host David Harris talks to Perlin about the program and how DNA analysis can be more powerful, faster and accurate.

Alex Nixon / 90.5 WESA

The Seneca Rocks area of West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest re-opened Friday morning after a nearly week-long, 5-acre fire tore through the western base of its north peak.

Officials said climbers should use caution when re-entering the area because of unstable footing along access routes and possible changes to climbing routes. The feature's hiking trail and observation platform were both impacted by the fire, but have been cleared of immediate hazards, officials said.

Michael Virtanen / AP

Law enforcement responded to a fire this weekend at one of West Virginia’s most recognizable landmarks.

Officials said guests at the Seneca Rocks area of the Monongahela National Forest set off fireworks that sparked a blaze around the Lower Slabs climbing area at around 10 p.m. Saturday. The fire and its plume were still visible through the wee hours Monday morning.

Massive and intimidating, the craggy, knife-edge landscape of Seneca Rocks draws serious rock climbers from southwestern Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, to its fiercely vertical routes.

New York Times

Police chiefs have to lead officers toward strong relationships with the communities they serve, but in the past, the same department may have participated in or enforced racial discrimination.

That history can prevent healing and can make police reform a nonstarter.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a 2013 memo last month written by his predecessor, Eric Holder. Sessions told prosecutors that not only will they abide by previously set mandatory minimum prison sentences, they would seek the harshest punishments possible.

Several Pennsylvania newspapers will be under new management this summer. 

GateHouse Media, a behemoth conglomerate overseen by New Media Investment Group, is slated to finalize purchase of The Beaver County Times, Ellwood City Ledger, The Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer (Doylestown), the Burlington County (New Jersey) Times and Calkins Digital in June.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penguins officials estimate 650,000 people showed up for this year’s Stanley Cup victory parade after captain Sidney Crosby led the team to their second consecutive NHL title. 

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Automatic license plate readers – those cameras on police cars and light poles that capture plate numbers – have been in widespread use since the 1990s. But some argue regulations for how and how long police can use and store that information hasn’t kept up with the technology.

Mark Humphrey / AP

It'll be tough to top this.

Sidney Crosby was awarded his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and goalie Matt Murray made 27 saves for his second straight shutout as the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team to repeat as champion in nearly two decades with a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 on Sunday.

Dake Kang / AP

City leaders say they want to streamline tax abatement programs for developers willing to take risks in historically underserved neighborhoods.

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