Patrick Doyle has been the news director of 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, since April of last year. He has reported for Keystone Crossroads, a Pennsylvania journalism collaborative that covers urban renewal and worked as an executive editor of Boston Magazine and senior editor of Denver’s 5280 Magazine. Patrick grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York and lives in the East End with his wife, Jennie, and their dog, Dale.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” is going to be in town in mid-June, which is pretty exciting; he’ll be hanging out in our newsroom and working on his own stories. We’ve been fortunate to have a variety of NPR hosts and reporters come to Pittsburgh lately — in the past year, we’ve had Shankar Vedantam (Hidden Brain); Domenico Montanaro (NPR’s political editor); and Wade Goodwyn (NPR correspondent) visit.
Best part of your job?
Working with our top-notch newsroom. We have some incredibly smart and ambitious reporters, editors and hosts.
What’s your big idea for Pittsburgh?
Getting everyone to obey traffic laws.
How did you end up living in Pittsburgh?
In 2013, my wife Jennie (she’s a classical musician/writer) and I took a five-week-long road trip to visit cities around America, in order to find the next place we wanted to live. Pittsburgh was our first stop, and we really loved the mix of affordability, friendliness and possibility that we found here. No other city — including those oh-so-cool places like Asheville, Austin or Seattle — matched it. I wrote about the trip for Outside.
How is WESA ramping up its news department?
We’ve been growing our radio audience, digital audience, membership and our underwriting, and we’ve been pouring those resources into our journalism. We’ve also been fortunate enough to receive some generous gifts from area foundations, including the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.
Tell us about recent hires at WESA?
Yup! We’ve made a few internal organizational changes over the past couple years to take advantage of our staff’s skills while incorporating new folks from the outside. That includes assigning most of our reporters to specific beats — education, infrastructure, inequity, etc.
We promoted a few newsroom leaders into editor roles to oversee our coverage (Larkin Page-Jacobs from “All Things Considered” host to managing editor; Liz Reid from reporter to editor). We also were able to hire a number of great reporters both locally (Chris Potter from the Post-Gazette to serve as government editor; Bill O’Driscoll from City Paper as our arts/culture reporter) and nationally (Sarah Boden from Iowa Public Radio to cover science/health/tech; Amy Sisk from Inside Energy to cover energy; An-Li Herring and Lucy Perkins from NPR to cover government; and Kathleen Davis from Michigan Public Radio as a general assignment reporter). It’s a great team.
Podcast you’re addicted to?
I’m a big fan of NPR’s Invisibilia and Hidden Brain; I was a psychology major in college and I love learning about the weird reasons behind human behavior. I also like Reply All: from Gimlet Media. Their ability to wring human stories out of geeky Internet things is astounding.
Bridge you LOVE to walk or bike over?
I bike over the Smithfield Street Bridge on the way to work a few times a week. I can’t wait until the Mon Wharf switchback opens up.
Which Pittsburgh food truck do you want to be parked outside your house?
Lucy’s Banh Mi from the Strip District, please.
What book is on your nightstand or in your e-reader right now?
John McPhee’s “Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process.” I had a college professor introduce me to McPhee’s writing, and he is just continually amazing on a variety of obscure topics, from oranges to New Jersey’s Pine Barrens to Bill Bradley’s college basketball career.
If you could expand the T to one neighborhood?
The East End.
Where do you always take out-of-town visitors?
We go with the usual standbys — the Strip District, Point State Park, Mt. Washington — but also try to go to a restaurant that might be unique to Pittsburgh, like Gaucho, Morcilla, täkō or Church Brew Works.
Fill in the blank: My bike has logged the most hours on:
The Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Where will we find you on a Sunday morning?
Taking a walk or a hike with Jennie and our dog, Dale. He’s a 3-year-old Boxer mix with energy to burn.
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