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A Novel Approach to Reinvigorating Local News

In Berks County, the severe decline in local reporting in recent years has stifled transparency and accountability at all levels, and has made it hard to understand what is happening. To address this issue head-on, Spotlight PA is exploring the creation of a potential new journalism bureau dedicated to covering Reading and Berks County. The bureau would be independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit, with no opinion, endorsements, or political ads. This would be Spotlight PA’s second regional bureau; the newsroom launched its first in 2022, based in State College and covering north-central Pa.

Thanks to a planning grant from Berks County Community Foundation, Spotlight PA is working with a host of community partners in Berks County in 2023-4 to build a blueprint for revitalizing local news and investigative journalism. Heather Adams of Berks Community Television is serving as Spotlight PA’s Berks County Project Lead, guiding the planning process through June 2024. Her work involves assessing community needs in Berks County and studying feasibility for a bureau through conducting listening sessions and research, exploring content distribution methods, and developing the local bureau strategy with the input and direction of local voices.

About Spotlight PA

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit newsroom dedicated to high-quality investigative and public-service journalism about the Pennsylvania state government and urgent statewide issues. Spotlight PA was founded to address a crisis in journalism in Pennsylvania: the ongoing and rapid decline of corporate-owned legacy news outlets, which is greatly diminishing access to trusted, contextual, and factual reporting across the state. With support from foundations, individuals, and more, Spotlight PA is uncovering stories that would otherwise go untold and cutting through partisanship and misinformation to deliver trusted, reliable journalism at no cost to all in Pennsylvania. Since its inception in 2019, Spotlight PA has become a leading national model for independent, collaborative journalism that empowers residents and gets results. Its work has won numerous state and national awards and driven meaningful change and policy reforms in the state capital and beyond.
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