Stories

The most enjoyable part of a storyteller is being introduced to new people, places and ways of life, and serving as a voice to the voiceless. Below is a collection of stories chosen to indicate a wide range of reporting – from research-driven narratives to investigative profiles.


Purpose Changes Richard Garland’s Path of Violence to Violence Prevention

by Daniel Priore, Abraham Kabazie and Nunu Withrow-Davis

He was a fighter.

He belonged to a gang.

He didn’t have a traditional family upbringing.  He came from a broken and dysfunctional home with only a grandmother for parental guidance.

And at 12 years old, Richard Garland knew his violent and hostile lifestyle would land him in jail. He was ready.

Like many inmates, Garland had trouble overcoming his past mistakes during his 23 1/2 years behind bars. But he did not allow himself to be counted among the majority. Garland is now the director of the Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI), which tries to understand and reduce violence in communities. He is also an assistant professor of public health practice at the University of Pittsburgh. He found success by using opportunity and a purpose of helping others.

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Undocumented Experiences: Duquesne’s Oral History Initiative Aims to Share Stories of the Marginalized

By Daniel Priore        

“You can’t get something like that from another source.”

This is how Megan DeFries describes listening to oral histories of slaves sharing their hardships and firsthand experiences in a racist South during the Civil War. As she explains, in the 1930s during the Great Depression, federal writers began a project to document former slaves to allow them to tell their story and add a humanistic view to official records.

 By piloting the recently launched Duquesne University Oral History Initiative (OHI), DeFries aims to give the same opportunity to those living on the margins in communities throughout Pittsburgh.

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To Punish or Rehabilitate: Lessons from Comparing US Prisons Across International Lines

Words and Graphics by Daniel Priore

What happens after someone is convicted of murder?

In the most serious cases, the person is given life without parole or a death penalty sentence. Here, he or she is held in strict quarters, likely to never rejoin society.

Or the person could receive a life sentence of around 15 years, possibly serve a 21-year term and have no chance at the death penalty.

Both these scenarios can be reality; however, it solely depends on where the crime was committed.

The first outcome happens to be in the United States. The second in Norway. And this is just one of many examples of the different approaches to crime throughout the world.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the United States sends more people to prison than any other nation, thus illustrating its theories on the purpose of prison and how the facilities should look and operate. Comparing this crime outlook to the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia demonstrates the varying definition of prison sentences and what it requires to rehabilitate someone.

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Joseph Wilk: A Teen Librarian Making the Library More Than Just a Place for Books

by Daniel Priore

For years, a young student walked into the Carnegie Library Teen Department in Oakland with a scowl on his face. He hardly talked and usually just plopped himself down at the computers for hours.

That didn’t stop Joseph Wilk from being friendly. He always welcomed teens with a smile.

One day the student walked over to Wilk and asked him if he heard the news. Wilk was not quite sure what he was talking about, so he asked him what had happened. The student explained how he was accepted into a study abroad program in Russia and would not be stopping by the library anymore.

The student then told Wilk how much it meant to see him every day. “‘You probably don’t know this, but I’ve been going through some health issues, and it was a really hard time. And as much as I tried to make you as miserable as I was, you never let me do it and I looked forward to seeing you every day,’” Wilk recalled him saying.

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South Craig Street: A Small Stretch Filled with Many Wonders

By Daniel Priore

At first it might seem difficult to find some peace from the constant noise along Forbes and Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Hustling students heading to class and honking traffic on its way to and from Downtown set the daily scene.

But, all is not lost for those searching for a nice little place to sit down and relax.

South Craig Street is perpendicular to the Carnegie Museum and just past the University of Pittsburgh. But what makes this section unique is visitors can spend their entire day eating and shopping, satisfying their most obscure desires.

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Jorden Thornton’s Motto: Drive, Support, Initiative Triumph Over Life’s Gender Stereotypes

By Daniel Priore

The sun did not rise that morning, or if it did, it was impossible to see past the thick, rolling grey clouds. The snow came down at a steady pace, etching a foreboding frost onto the field. Below-freezing temperatures only made conditions more unbearable as the shaking players prepared themselves for the mental and physical test of wills that was their upcoming 8 a.m. match. Shouts of pregame encouragement and frustration enclosed the stadium, but the crowd noise was almost inaudible for the players. To them, the silence was mainly broken by deep, painful heavy breaths and gushes of wind. It was a scene from an early winter’s game at Lambeau Field; however, this frozen tundra was just outside Raleigh, North Carolina, and there were no grown men to be seen.

A team of 10-year-old girls from West Virginia took the soccer field to play in a tournament featuring other youth female travel teams from across the country. Rocking their white cotton shirts with blue bottoms and taped-together cleats, these West Virginians looked far from professional. Naturally, they had earned themselves as the pushover group of the competition.

In addition, the opposing squad had the upper hand in talent to go along with the apparel to fit the weather conditions and the tournament environment.

Despite the unfavorable odds, a self-admitted gangly girl with pigtails and braces from the mountain state was focused on something else.

That 10-year-old was Jorden Thornton, and all she wanted was to hear the referee’s whistle blow. Thornton knew that once that piercing sound cut through the air she could make a statement about those misconceptions. She knew all of the preconceived stereotypes about her body and skill set could be soon buried away just as her surroundings were in snow.

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The following are stories links from time spent at 90.5 WESA.

November 2016:

Pittsburgh Zoo Nabs New Certification Heralding Animal Facilities

August 2016:

Billy Goats High, Billy Goats Low: StoryCorner Uses Art And Movement To Bring Stories To Life

Not For Runners Who Hate Hills: Beechview To Host World’s Steepest 5K

July 2016:

Health Department’s New Placards Offer Easy Access To Food Establishments’ Inspection Ratings

Mayoral Descendants Dust Off Their Top Hats To Join Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial Parade

June 2016:

Pittsburgh Arts Organizations Get Updated Assistance Technology For Patrons With Disabilities

Pittsburgh Public Schools Begin Tests To Determine Quality Of Drinking Water

May 2016:

Business Owners Split on the Benefit of ‘Open Streets’

Pennsylvania HS Students With Disabilities To Get More Workforce Training

Pittsburgh Paramedics Prove Their Skills Go Beyond The Ambulance

Allegheny County Tries To Pinpoint Homeless Youth Problem

Pennsylvania’s Scenic Route 6 Getting Upgrades For Cyclists

Job Expo At PNC Park To Connect Veterans With New Careers

As Centennial Nears, More Visitors Going To National Parks

April 2016:

Local Leaders To Focus On Inter-Municipality Issues At Annual Meeting

Medical Marijuana Legalized In PA, Program To Be Ready In Two Years

Church Crawl To Focus On South Side’s History, Faith

YMCA Says Closing Hazelwood Building Will Open New Opportunities

March 2016:

Carnegie Library Of Pittsburgh Hosting Community Meeting Tuesday

Next Phase Of Preservation Begins For Birmingham Bridge

February 2016: 

Public Utility Commission Offers Help To Residents Without Heat

January 2016:

House, Senate Approve Plan To Delay Keystone Exams

PA Veterans Organizations To Get Boost From $550K Grant