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Editor's Notes

From the archives 2021

Spotlight PA wins 11 statewide journalism awards

by Christopher Baxter |

Spotlight PA received 11 statewide journalism awards in competition with the largest newsrooms in Pennsylvania.
Kent M. Wilhelm / Spotlight PA

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HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association and the state chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists have recognized Spotlight PA’s accountability journalism and engagement initiatives with a number of prestigious statewide awards.

Spotlight PA, in competition with every newsroom in the state, won two of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s top prizes: the Reader Initiative Award for its county-by-county COVID email alerts, and the Public Service Award for its Diverse Source Database.

Our investigative journalism was also honored in several categories in both the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) contest and in the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Keystone Pro Chapter contest:

  • “At Risk, In the Dark,” Spotlight PA’s investigation into emergency preparedness along the Mariner East pipelines, won first place in the Keystone SPJ’s daily environmental reporting category. An interactive map produced as part of the investigation, “Is Pennsylvania prepared for an accident?”, also won first place in PNA’s graphics/photo illustration category and second-place in Keystone SPJ’s web use daily category.

  • Decided in Secret,” Spotlight PA’s reporting on Gov. Tom Wolf’s chaotic coronavirus business waiver program during the early days of the pandemic, won first place in the Keystone SPJ’s business and labor reporting category, and second place in the PNA’s ongoing news coverage category.

  • “Condemn, Discuss, Repeat,” Spotlight PA’s investigation into how Pennsylvania’s higher education fails students of color, won first place in the Keystone SPJ’s daily education writing category.

  • “Cut, Now Crucial,” an investigation into how Pa. slashed its ranks of contact tracing nurses prior to the pandemic, won second place in Keystone SPJ’s health and medical reporting category.

  • “Short Days, Big Benefits,” a series with PennLive/The Patriot-News on how magisterial district judges enjoy short days and light workloads, won third place in Keystone SPJ’s Spotlight daily category.

  • A changing story by police on a rural Pa. shooting helped fuel white vigilantes and misinformation,” co-reported with Pittsburgh City Paper, received an honorable mention in PNA’s news feature story category.

Spotlight PA, the largest statewide news organization in Pennsylvania, produces accountability journalism about the state government and urgent statewide issues for 67 newsroom partners across Pennsylvania. We provide all of our journalism at no cost, ensuring communities in all corners of the state have access to the information they need to hold their elected officials to account and make informed decisions at the polls.

Spotlight PA’s investigative reporting relies on the support of our readers, with every dollar donated going straight back into our 100% essential journalism.

» For a limited time only, as part of our Spring membership drive, all contributions will be doubled thanks to a generous dollar-for-dollar matching gift from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Join us in celebrating these awards by making a tax-deductible donation today at spotlightpa.org/donate.

Christopher Baxter is the executive director and editor in chief of Spotlight PA. Spotlight PA is funded by foundations and readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

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