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Editor's Notes

How Spotlight PA is covering the 2020 election in Pennsylvania

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Our team of Spotlight PA reporters is fanned out across the state to deliver an independent, nonpartisan, and accurate report of one of our most fundamental rights and duties — casting a ballot.
LOUIS B. RUEDIGER / For 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 newsletters.

More than a few times this year, I’ve thought to myself what stories might have been missed, what investigations might have gone untold, or what wrongdoing might have gone unchecked if Spotlight PA had never existed. Today, once again, I have a profound sense of the work at hand.

Our team of Spotlight PA reporters is fanned out across Pennsylvania to deliver an independent, nonpartisan, and accurate report of one of our most fundamental rights and duties — casting a ballot. I wanted to take a moment to tell you what to expect from our coverage.

Weeks ago, our team decided to forgo providing the actual results of the election, knowing they would be available from every other local and national media outlet. Instead, we wanted to focus all of our energy on how we get to those results: the voting, counting, irregularities, court challenges, misinformation, and more.

From those discussions, we formed three primary areas of coverage for Spotlight PA: First, the actions of the state legislature, state political parties, and the Wolf administration; second, challenges in state and federal courts; and third, misinformation, voter suppression, and voter intimidation.

Today, working hand-in-hand with The Philadelphia Inquirer, TribLIVE, PennLive, WITF Public Media and our 50+ other community newsroom partners, we will deliver a real-time accounting of the day’s events. And then we’ll do it again tomorrow, and the day after, and for as long as the news demands.

Our team will be stationed from Erie to Lancaster and Butler County to Luzerne County, in an effort to complement the strong journalism in our anchor cities of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh with more perspective from other areas in the state.

There is a lot of anxiety about this election, especially the role Pennsylvania might play. But I can assure you our reporting will remain calm, without rushing to pre-judge or declare winners, always driven by facts, the truth, and what Pennsylvanians need to know most.

That’s what you and our democracy deserve from a news organization. As the largest outlet in Pennsylvania dedicated to covering the state government and urgent statewide issues, we take that responsibility seriously, and we answer to no one but you — our readers.

Unlike other news organizations that depend on ads and big corporate sponsors, our entire newsroom operation is funded through philanthropy and the generosity of our members. But our high-quality work is expensive. So today, more than ever, we need your support to continue.

If you donate to Spotlight PA right now, we’ll TRIPLE your gift thanks to NewsMatch, Wyncote Foundation and Independent Public Media Foundation. Monthly memberships will be tripled at their full-year value. Please, take a moment to consider the stakes, and give generously.

Regardless of what happens on Election Day and in the following days, you can feel confident there is a professional team of journalists on the ground, working on your behalf, to cut through partisanship and misinformation to deliver the news. Don’t wait; support them now.

As always, if you have questions or want to know more about Spotlight PA, feel free to drop me a note at cbaxter@spotlightpa.org.

Good luck, and go vote.

— Christopher Baxter is the editor in chief of Spotlight PA

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