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Diversity & Community

A central pillar of Spotlight PA’s mission is to produce investigative journalism that reflects and addresses issues of urgent importance to the state’s diverse communities and their unique racial and socio-economic compositions. We intend to achieve that goal by focusing our attention on state government and statewide issues as they relate to the lives of all Pennsylvanians, but particularly those topics that affect vulnerable, disenfranchised or underrepresented groups. The following initiatives are aligned toward that goal:

Statement of commitment

Spotlight PA is committed to ensuring diversity in race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, physical disabilities and socioeconomic backgrounds is represented in the hiring, coverage and decision-making of the newsroom. Our ongoing goals include: strengthening diversity of staff and coverage by securing funding for additional full-time investigative reporters, creating a pipeline of new investigative talent through fellowships, and fostering a newsroom culture that encourages open dialogue.

Newsroom staff

In order to hold powerful institutions and government accountable, we must also be hold ourselves accountable. Our newsroom must reflect Pennsylvania. According to the latest U.S. Census figures, the state population is approximately 82% White, 12% Black, 7% Hispanic or Latino, 4% Asian and 2% two or more races. In addition, the population is 51% female. We continue to build our staff and have not yet fully achieved this diversity, but our final staff plan will ensure that the newsroom ultimately reflects the population. Once the staff is complete, we will publicly report our diversity statistics on this page.

Community advisory panel

Within the first full year of operation, Spotlight PA will form a highly diverse community advisory panel made up of representatives from towns large and small across the state. The purpose of the panel is to continuously help Spotlight PA reporters understand local, diverse communities, the important topics at hand, and how to best serve citizens there with our accountability journalism. Like our funders, the advisory panel will have no editorial control but will serve as an important sounding board for how we pursue our journalism.

Listening sessions

This summer, and periodically thereafter, Spotlight PA reporters will hold community listening sessions throughout the state to better understand which issues citizens care about most and how our investigative journalism can continually focus on and reflect those issues.


Investigative journalists can no longer assume the citizens they serve will discover, read and digest their work on their own. Indeed, some communities have lost trust in traditional news organizations, and we are eager to earn it back. We must work harder to connect citizens with our journalism, explain its importance and create spaces for engagement with it. We intend to do this with major projects through community events, as proven effective by other, similar organizations.