In Wilkinsburg, a police officer’s perspective on the toll illegal guns take

Wilkinsburg is a borough on Pittsburgh’s eastern border with a reputation for violence and crime that it’s trying to shake. While violence is down this year in Wilkinsburg, illegal guns remain abundant.

Mark Wilson is a 21-year veteran of the Wilkinsburg Police Department. When violence does erupt in his hometown, Wilson sees up close how the presence of illegal guns escalates the situation. He’s left wondering what pushes someone to take another’s life: “What is it exactly that was done to you that you feel this person needs to lose their life for?” Produced for PublicSource.

Finding refuge on the soccer field

Standing on the sideline of an indoor sports field in Stanton Heights, soccer coach Omar Muya shouts directions to his players, alternating between English and his native Bantu dialect, Kizigua.

Like most of his team, Muya is Somali Bantu.

By day, 33-year-old Muya works as an electrician at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville. But here he is the coach. These practice sessions and games are a way for Somali youth to come together, play soccer and push pause on the outside world.

The Towboater

Amherst Madison deckhand Ryan Gilleran describes life on a towboat pushing barges full of coal, and often other materials, up and down America's waterways.

No Place But Home: Tony Buba

For more than four decades, filmmaker Tony Buba has chronicled the good, bad, and absurd in his hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, establishing an unmistakable filmography that foregrounds the plight of the working class while defying simple classification. No Place but Home, a documentary short by Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton, examines Buba’s storied career as told in his own words. Produced as a collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Art and 90.5 WESA. The CMOA also screened this piece at the museum in August 2016.

Meet the MAD DADS

"MAD DADS provides me the opportunity to give, and to continue to give back," said Donald Giddens, patrol director for the Greater Pittsburgh Area MAD DADS. Giddens was one of several MAD DADS members on a recent Saturday night patrol in Rankin and North Braddock. With patrols countywide, the group hopes to develop positive relationships with community members and prevent violence before if occurs. Produced for PublicSource and was nominated for a 2016 NATAS Mid-Atlantic Chapter Emmy.

Portrait of an Ironworker

Standing nearly 30 stories above downtown Pittsburgh, Al Williams — a third-generation ironworker with 36 years of experience — is in his element. The 54-year-old has logged roughly 70,000 hours working on countless structures around the city of Pittsburgh. That's included PPG Place, Consol Energy Center and the Liberty Bridge. Now he's working on the latest addition to Pittsburgh’s skyline, the Tower at PNC Plaza. Produced for 90.5 WESA.

Rubber Duckie, You're the One

Artist Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck Project floated down the Ohio and Allegheny rivers, kicking off Pittsburgh’s Festival of Firsts in late September 2013. Video by Ryan Loew, with additional sound by Katie Blackley. Music by Podington Bear. Produced for 90.5 WESA.

What's Old Is New Again

Brandon Boan, co-owner of the Tip Type letterpress print shop in Wilkinsburg, Pa., shares his thoughts on using and maintaining old pieces of equipment such as a linotype machine. Produced for 90.5 WESA.

Martinsville: A Visual Essay

"It's like a marriage, you know," said Jomo Lucas, a laid-off worker turned boxing coach. "What you put into Martinsville is what you get out of it." Located in Southwest Virginia, Martinsville's population is declining, graying and growing poorer by the year; its unemployment rate is the highest in the state. But there's beauty in the landscape, loyalty from residents and hope for the future. This is part of a larger project about the loss of manufacturing jobs in Southwest and Southside Virginia. Produced for The Roanoke Times, with photography by Jared Soares and video by Ryan Loew.