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Biographies for Program:

The Valley That Changed the World

Pierina Morelli


Pierina Morelli is a field producer/photographer and editor for WQED’s On Q, a local Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award-winning program. Pierina works hard to bring viewers the “different” side of Pittsburgh…stories not seen anywhere else.   She is a former television news photographer with almost thirty years of experience and came to WQED in 1999 to help launch OnQ. Since then she has garnered numerous Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards and nominations for her work including in her photography and editing. Her work also received The Edward R. Murrow Award, The Gabriel Award, Telly Awards and other prestigious journalism awards. Pierina has been involved in several major WQED productions, including Pittsburgh to Haiti: A Mission of Mercy; Pittsburgh to Poland: Lessons of the Holocaust, Pennsylvania Quilts and Return to the Roots of Civil Rights: An OnQ Special Edition. Recently she and Iris Samson co-produced an hour long documentary The Valley that Changed the World that tells the story of oil in Pennsylvania that lead to the birth of the petroleum industry.    Pierina has a life-long interest in photography. In her early childhood she always had a camera around her neck. After graduating from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, Pierina first worked as a photojournalist for a small daily newspaper in Ohio before going into television in 1980. After seven years at WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio, Pierina came to Pittsburgh in 1987 to work for KDKA TV news.    

Iris Samson


Iris Samson has been a professional journalist for over thirty years. She was an integral part of the production team for the Mid-Atlantic Emmy® and Edward R.Murrow Award-winning OnQ documentary From Pittsburgh To Poland: Lessons of the Holocaust, produced in 2005, and was co-producer on the award-winning half hour documentary, Return to the Roots of Civil Rights that aired on WQED in 2006. Iris produces OnQ feature segments on everything from social issues to high-tech, and last year produced a half-hour special on Pittsburgh area World War II veterans. She has won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy® award, been nominated several times for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy® for her work and has also won a Golden Quill Award. Her extensive print background includes nearly two decades as a writer/assistant editor at The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.    

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