Katie Blackley


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 and can usually be found exploring the city, answering inquiries from curious listeners. She also reports on Pittsburgh's LGBTQ+ community and is co-president of the local chapter of NLGJA.

She's the author of a book based on the Good Question! series.

After graduating from Duquesne University, 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. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that people over age 65 are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as are other adults and older teens with certain health conditions. Health and science reporter Sarah Boden looks into the local data on inoculation.

Susan Walsh / AP

Poetry, artwork and mental health advice are all part of a new self-published online magazine, or "zine" created by Pittsburgh-area Black and brown LGBTQ youth. Project Silk, a non-clinical community health and recreation space for LGBTQIA youth of color, recently launched The Silk Worm to help keep the community connected.

Matt Slocum / AP

On this week's Explainer:

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been slow and uneven.

Boston Red Sox / Twitter

Pittsburgh-area native Bianca Smith says it’s still “surreal” that she’s about to become the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball. The Boston Red Sox recently announced that they’d hired the 29-year-old as a Minor League coach. 

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Charges against two dozen protesters from last summer's demonstrations against police brutality are being refiled, but Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala disagree about the circumstances for that move.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

On this week's Explainer:

Far-right extremists who support President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. It was an effort to disrupt the congressional process of certifying Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President-elect and Vice President-elect.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Explainer is taking a break from the news this week. Instead, we're bringing you four winter scenes from WESA journalists.

First, take a walk with host Liz Reid and her dog, Roscoe; get your yoga mat and work out with The Confluence producer Laura Tsutsui and her partner (and hear why it's okay to sleep in a little); bake pistachio pinwheel cookies with The Confluence editor Marylee Williams; and hear from government and accountability reporter Ariel Worthy about what it's like to be pregnant for the first time during a pandemic.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

One of the first actions by President Donald Trump when he took office was to ban transgender people from serving in the military. Now that President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office on Jan. 20, local LGBTQ advocacy groups are cautiously optimistic about the Democrat’s proposed policies and protections for the community

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Nine hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds of sunlight will shine in Pittsburgh's sky on Christmas day. That's 37 seconds more than appeared on Monday, the winter solstice, and the shortest day of the year. 

Bill Ingalls / NASA via AP

Jupiter and Saturn will appear as the brightest stars in the sky this evening during an event that hasn’t been visible from Earth in this way for nearly 800 years


This week explained: 

Cheers erupted as UPMC nurse practitioner Charmaine Pykosh became the first person in Allegheny County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.



Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The University of Pittsburgh’s 31 nationality rooms are decorated for their respective holidays and just a click away.

Matt Slocum / AP

On this week’s Explainer:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine mandated new restrictions on Thursday, aimed at reining in the coronavirus as it continues to spread rapidly across the state.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

At the intersection of Franklin and South Trenton avenues in Regent Square, an unassuming blue marker commemorates the spot where President George Washington once camped.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

The coronavirus pandemic has many families who rely on food stamps struggling to put food on the table. Kate Giammarise reports on efforts by the Trump administration to prevent the distribution of additional benefits to certain recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

If some of the city’s riverfront trails look a little bare right now, there's no cause for concern. Restoration efforts are underway to remove invasive species and introduce plants native to Pennsylvania.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

On this week's Explainer:

Allegheny County set a new record this week, with more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases. Health reporter Sarah Boden reports state and county officials say they don't plan to put new restrictions in place, but are advising people to only interact with others in their home

Archives & Special Collections / University of Pittsburgh Library System

This week on Explainer we have something a little different -- the introduction to a new podcast called Land & Power.

In 2015, residents of the Penn Plaza apartment buildings in Pittsburgh learned that they’d have to leave their homes to make way for a new development. The news arrived like a pronouncement: this neighborhood, East Liberty, isn’t for you anymore.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Groups that support LGBTQ students are trying to connect with young people in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, but say virtual learning spaces create challenges. 

John Minchillo / AP


All eyes are on Pennsylvania as ballots continue to be counted. If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes the commonwealth, he’ll win the presidency. WESA’s government and accountability editor Chris Potter and reporter Lucy Perkins break down what’s at stake and what’s to come.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Demonstrators gathered in downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon for two protests to demand that, “every ballot be counted” in Pennsylvania. Later in the evening three people were arrested after a group split off from one of the protests. The state has been a major focus of the 2020 Election, as ballots are still being counted to determine which presidential candidate will earn the commonwealth’s 20 electoral votes.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This week on the Explainer:

COVID-19 cases are rising in Pennsylvania, with more than 40,000 people testing positive this month. Health and science reporter Sarah Boden breaks down the numbers, noting health officials say there isn’t a particular source of new infections.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On this week’s Explainer:

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On a chilly October evening, Vicki Potter stands in a gravel parking lot in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. The scent of popcorn mixes with the gasoline from nearby idling cars. Patrons are masked and sitting in the beds of trucks and trunks of minivans as an old-timey concession stand advertisement blares over the loudspeakers.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

WESA’s Lucy Perkins outlines what happened that caused nearly 29,000 misprinted ballots to go out to Allegheny County residents. County elections officials are blaming the error on a third-party vendor.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

Keystone Crossroads' Avi Wolfman-Arent reports that more than a half a million kids in Pennsylvania are learning to read right now. It's a demanding task in normal times, and considered by many to be the most significant event of a child's academic career. Remote learning could exacerbate existing gaps in literacy skills, which can impact a student's grasp of other subject areas.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

People’s Pride returns to Pittsburgh this weekend as a hybrid of virtual and in-person events. 


A project to reconnect Pittsburgh’s Hill District to downtown is well underway about a year before its projected completion. The I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project will bridge the neighborhoods with a three acre park atop the existing highways.

Andrew Harnik / AP

On this week's Explainer:

Government and accountability reporter Lucy Perkins was there when former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was in town this week, riding an Amtrak train through parts of Ohio and western Pennsylvania. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The coronavirus pandemic caused more than one million Pennsylvanians to vote by mail in the June primary, and state officials expect that number to roughly triple in November. With a little over a month until the election, the rules around voting by mail are still in flux, as several lawsuits make their way through the courts.