This story was produced by the State College regional bureau of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom dedicated to investigative and public-service journalism for Pennsylvania. Sign up for our regional newsletter, Talk of the Town.
Hey, y’all — I’m Sarah Rafacz, the editor of Spotlight PA’s first-ever regional bureau, based in State College.
With the exception of a five-month study abroad in London, I’ve lived in the State College area my entire life. I grew up in Pine Grove Mills at the foot of Tussey Ridge; Rothrock State Forest was practically my backyard.
I fell in love with journalism at The Daily Collegian when I was a sophomore in college. I started my career working nights and weekends on the copy desk at the Centre Daily Times, and most recently served as the editor of State College Magazine.
I’ve covered water issues in small towns, local government, Penn State, and student housing development. I’ve also examined the aftershocks of the police killing of Osaze Osagie and tried to accurately portray the fractures it deepened in the State College community.
My roots in central Pennsylvania run deep, and I’ve built my life and career in this valley. I’m invested in this region.
Something I love about working in local news is that I’m always running into people I’ve written stories about or interviewed in the past. Every day there’s the potential to stumble on a story while I’m out and about around town.
Local news is vitally important, and being a journalist is how I feel I contribute to and serve my community. I love living in central Pennsylvania, but no place is perfect. We have our own issues and struggles and ways we can be better.
It’s my mission to tell the whole truth about our region, through many conversations with the people who live here, diligent reporting, and a focus on equity and elevating underrepresented voices.
If you want to chat (whether it’s about local news, plants, or great hiking spots), you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 445-227-3852.
SUPPORT THIS JOURNALISM and help us save local news in State College and north-central Pennsylvania at spotlightpa.org/statecollege. Spotlight PA is funded by foundations and readers like you who are committed to accountability and public-service journalism that gets results.