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Editor's Notes

From the archives 2020

Spotlight PA joins forces with PA Post to become largest statewide news organization in Pa.

by Christopher Baxter |

Spotlight PA is joining forces with PA Post, a project of WITF Public Media, to create the largest statewide news organization in Pennsylvania. The newsroom will continue to be known as Spotlight PA.

Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, Triblive/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

HARRISBURG — We’re about to kick things into a whole new gear.

Over the past 11 months, Spotlight PA has proven to be an essential source of accountability journalism about Pennsylvania state government and urgent statewide issues, delivering stories that otherwise would have gone untold and getting results.

From our reporting on the state’s failure to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19, to how lawmakers have hidden millions in campaign spending, our work has changed the equation in Harrisburg, led to calls for reform, and sparked real change.

We now provide this in-depth and high-quality reporting from the capital at no cost to 48 newsrooms in communities across Pennsylvania, an innovative and efficient way to combat the financial crisis facing the news industry and to help make our state better for all.

Today, I’m proud to announce we’re joining forces with another independent newsroom — PA Post, a project of WITF Public Media in Harrisburg — to expand our coverage. As part of the merger, WITF will join The Philadelphia Inquirer, PennLive/The Patriot-News, and Triblive/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as a governing partner and board member.

Our two newsrooms were founded around the same time, and share a similar mission: to connect Pennsylvanians to their state, and to each other, through accountability-driven, public-service journalism. We’ve worked hand-in-hand along the way, and have been inspired by the support we’ve received from you, our readers.

Now, I’m excited to transform our work into a single, stronger collaborative newsroom. The merger makes Spotlight PA the largest statewide newsroom dedicated to covering the Capitol and urgent statewide issues.

» Journalism that calls out injustice and holds the powerful to account is more important than ever, especially for a state with one of the largest, costliest and most opaque governments in the nation. If you agree, please consider supporting this new and exciting effort by becoming a monthly donor today.

Our combined newsroom — which will continue to be known as Spotlight PA — will give us more expertise to expand our reporting and grow our audience, all in pursuit of the day when everyone in Pennsylvania has the information they deserve to understand how their tax dollars are spent, hold their elected officials accountable and — perhaps most importantly — make their voice heard in pursuit of a more equitable future.

As part of the merger, two PA Post reporters — Ed Mahon and Joseph Darius Jaafari — will be joining Spotlight PA’s team. We will be creating a new, statewide coverage area focused on the criminal justice system and its disproportionate impact on communities of color, as well as expanding our footprint to ensure issues important to rural communities and communities in Western Pennsylvania are adequately reflected in our work.

To support this expansion, we will be hiring another deputy editor.

Additionally, Spotlight PA is leading the creation of a diverse source database — a directory of at least 100 experts of color across Pennsylvania — to improve representation in our own coverage, and to provide a resource to help other newsrooms do the same.

In total, our combined newsroom will now include 14 reporters and editors in addition to technology and fundraising staff. We will continue to publish all stories at spotlightpa.org and across our partner network. We will also continue to offer our free weekly newsletter, The Investigator, as well as our new weekly coronavirus alerts, customized by county, to provide more localized data to keep you informed and safe.

Finally, Spotlight PA will take over production of PA Post’s free daily newsletter, The Context, and examine how to continue to serve its engaged readers with unique content and curation they won’t get anywhere else in the state.

None of this critical public-service journalism would be possible without the support of foundations and individuals who value the truth and share our commitment to holding power to account and making Pennsylvania a better place for all. We’re especially grateful to The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the non-profit owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, for its unwavering support and leadership.

» If you believe local journalism is essential to our democracy, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution of $15/month today.

100% ESSENTIAL: Spotlight PA relies on funding from foundations and readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results. If you value this reporting, please give a gift today at spotlightpa.org/donate.

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