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Press Release

From the archives 2019

PennLive & The Patriot-News join Spotlight PA as founding partners

by Spotlight PA Staff |


Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein
Development Director

PennLive & The Patriot-News join Spotlight PA as founding partners

Unprecedented collaboration with The Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will power Pennsylvania’s largest newsroom dedicated to covering PA government.

HARRISBURG (Aug. 29, 2019) – Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan news organization, today announced the addition of PennLive and The Patriot-News as founding partners.

PennLive and The Patriot-News join The Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an unprecedented collaboration to expand investigative and public-service journalism in Pennsylvania.

“Watchdog reporting on state government is an extremely high priority for our readers. They’re especially interested in knowing how their tax money is being spent,” said Cate Barron, president of PA Media Group, parent company of PennLive and The Patriot-News. “Our partnership promises to add major muscle to this kind of coverage at the Capitol and throughout the state.”

Spotlight PA’s team of a dozen, including eight reporters recruited from across the U.S., will form the largest newsroom in Pennsylvania dedicated solely to covering state government and urgent statewide issues. Its mission is to hold powerful public and private forces — especially governments, businesses and special interests — to account through journalism that drives change.

In addition to joining Spotlight PA, the PennLive/Patriot-News newsroom will continue the award-winning work of its three-person Capitol bureau.

“PennLive/Patriot-News and Advance Local routinely produce award-winning investigative journalism,” said Christopher Baxter, editor in chief of Spotlight PA. “They recognize the value of high-quality reporting and the resources it takes to produce, and they are skilled at delivering that work to a digital audience. With their help, Spotlight PA will become an indispensable resource for our state.”

“We think Spotlight is an exciting example of our industry bound by shared journalistic values and coming together in new ways to make a difference – in this case for our readers and all residents of the Commonwealth. We are thrilled to be a partner,” said Tim Kennedy, regional president for Advance Local.

Spotlight PA is a grant-funded newsroom supported by a coalition of national and local funders, as well as individuals, who value accountability reporting from the capital and the need to connect residents with the important decisions made there. Those interested in supporting the newsroom can become a Founding Donor to Spotlight PA now.

Spotlight PA is a uniquely powerful public-service news partnership, combining the strength of several major news organizations with the agility of a start-up,” said Jim Friedlich, CEO of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the non-profit owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer and a lead funder of Spotlight PA. “We believe this approach will have significant impact not only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but in state capitals across the country.”

Each of the founding partners is contributing a full-time reporter to Spotlight PA as well as other financial and fundraising support to help put the news organization on a path to becoming a permanent, self-sustaining fixture in the state.

“These three news organizations have a strong track record for producing difference-making journalism,” said Stan Wischnowski, executive editor and senior vice president of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “In just the past seven years, they’ve collectively won four Pulitzer Prizes and had multiple Pulitzer finalists. There’s such a tremendous need for more accountability journalism like this at this critical juncture for our industry and our democracy.”

“Spotlight PA represents what may become a new and exciting model for journalism — all digital, nimble, totally collaborative, and laser focused,” said Keith Burris, executive editor of the Post-Gazette. “It also represents a significant initiative in Pennsylvania journalism — in informing our fellow citizens. Spotlight will shine a light on some dark and dubious places, in Harrisburg and beyond, and the Commonwealth will be better for it.”

The high-quality journalism produced by Spotlight PA will appear on spotlightpa.org and across the many platforms offered by the three founding partners, which reach in excess of 15 million unique visitors a month. Additional partners include PA Post, a nonprofit newsroom launched last year by central Pennsylvania’s public radio station, WITF, as well as The Caucus, a publication of the LNP Media Group in Lancaster. For more information about becoming a partner or benefitting from Spotlight PA content, visit spotlightpa.org.

About Spotlight PA

Spotlight PA is a Harrisburg-based newsroom serving all of the residents of the Commonwealth, dedicated to producing non­partisan investigative journalism about Pennsylvania government and urgent statewide issues. The mission of Spotlight PA is to hold powerful private and public forces across Pennsylvania — especially governments, businesses and special interests — to account through urgent and compelling investigative journalism that drives change and strengthens our democracy, the state and all who live here. Our collaborative newsroom is powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post­-Gazette and PennLive/The Patriot-News. We connect Pennsylvanians to their state, and to each other, through public service journalism that matters to their lives and is told creatively in the many modern, digital ways they consume their news. Spotlight PA content is available free of charge to newsrooms across the state. To become a distribution partner, visit spotlightpa.org/contact.

Transparency Statement

Spotlight PA is a nonpartisan, independent newsroom funded by grants from community foundations and individuals committed to robust investigative reporting. Spotlight PA editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over all of the content they produce. Funders do not have input into the selection of stories Spotlight PA pursues or the reporting process for those stories. Funders do not review any content before publication. All money for Spotlight PA is donated to the nonprofit Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which then directs the funding to Spotlight PA’s important work. Major funders include: Laura and John Arnold; The Erie Community Foundation; The Foundation for Enhancing Communities; Good Words Foundation; The Heinz Endowments; Lancaster County Community Foundation; The Lenfest Institute for Journalism; H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest; Henry L. Hillman Foundation; The Philadelphia Foundation; The Lois Tack Thompson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation; Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust; The Steinman Foundation; Wyncote Foundation; and the York County Community Foundation. For more on supporting Spotlight PA, visit spotlightpa.org/donate.

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