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Why Spotlight PA held a highly sensitive story

Plus: Meet your regional reporting team at 3 Dots Downtown and register for a free Spotlight PA event breaking down Pa.'s multibillion-dollar budget

July 21, 2022
Inside this edition: Why Spotlight PA fought to unseal search warrants but waited to publish a story, a free event breaking down Pa.'s multibillion-dollar budget, and an opportunity to meet your Spotlight PA reporters in person.
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Mission Focused
Abby Drey / Centre Daily Times
Real quick: Spotlight PA fought to unseal search warrants involving Penn State student crime victims, but there were too many unanswered questions to rush a story once we had them.

A bit more: A story broke Friday that revealed Penn State athletes had reportedly been extorted into sending sexually explicit images and videos of themselves and others, including videos recorded inside the football team’s locker room.

Spotlight PA was part of the effort to make public details of the alleged scheme, which had been sealed by a Centre County Court of Common Pleas judge. But when we gained access to the records last week, we decided it wasn’t right to immediately publish a story. And here’s why.

The contents of the file are disturbing. The documents include intimate details about potential victims of extortion, and describe possible sexual abuse. The documents raise a host of questions not just about what occurred, but how it was subsequently handled by the university, the district attorney’s office, and other law enforcement.

Those questions required more time, reporting, and context than could be provided in the hours after we received the records Friday afternoon. So we decided not to rush to publish.

The full story: Read more here.
📝 More From Spotlight PA
» New Pa. budget injects $125M into private school tax credit program that lacks basic accountability

PLUS: Join us Tuesday, July 26 at 6 p.m. on Zoom for a free breakdown of Pa.'s multibillion-dollar budget and how it will impact you. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.

» Pa. court system says it's not responsible for county judges banning opioid addiction medication

» The thorny push for Pa.'s first national park

» A beginner's guide to requesting public records on Pa. law enforcement
📷 Local Gem
A photo of the Tioga Reservoir by local accountability reporter Min Xian. Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
📰 In Other News
» Did you know there are 61 PA stops on the antique trail? Here's how to find them (Centre Daily Times)

» Pennsylvania is tracking wild turkeys by GPS to find out why populations are declining (WPSU)

» Labor Department investigates local Mexican restaurant (StateCollege.com)

» Here's a look at the Keystone State's 17 billionaires (Centre Daily Times)

» Williamsport administration, board members speak on abuse scandals (NorthcentralPA.com)

» Centre approves support for Aaronsburg water project (The Express)
Meet the Team!
3 Dots is shutting down Pugh Street in downtown State College on July 26 for a flea market and block party — and we're going to be there.

The event, 5-8 p.m., features live music, arts and crafts, food vendors, community organizations, and a beer garden.

Swing by the Spotlight PA State College table and tell us what issues are important to you (or just say hi!).

We hope to see you there!
📅 Events
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» July 23: Taste wines from 11 Pennsylvania vintners at the annual Summer Wine Walk in Bradford.  

» July 23: Castanea Community Day in Lock Haven features family activities, the Friends of the Bald Eagle Valley Trail 5K, a reptile show, and more.

» July 23: Catch a free outdoor screening of Back to the Future at Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte.

» July 23: Wicked Chicken plays Elk Creekside at Millheim Fire Co. Grounds.

» July 23-24: The African American Heritage Festival celebrates Black history at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona.
🧩 The Puzzler
An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, "spotlight" also forms "stoplight."

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

Good luck!

Last week's answer: Garden

Winner: Brian B.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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