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Editor’s Notes

Donate to Spotlight PA State College during Centre Gives to power vital journalism in Centre County

by Sarah Rafacz of Spotlight PA State College |

Sarah Rafacz and Michelle Mertz at the Spotlight PA State College booth at Centre Gives Fest in 2023.
Pat Little / For Centre Foundation

Almost two years ago, Spotlight PA announced a historic local expansion of our award-winning investigative and public-service journalism — starting with our first regional bureau based in State College. The results have been astounding, but there is much more to do.

We’ve exposed systemic problems in Penn State’s misconduct reporting structure, resulting in improved transparency. We’ve delved into how rural communities are served (or not) by state agencies and lawmakers. And we’ve fought for and won public records in the local court.

These and dozens of other stories likely would have never been written without Spotlight PA. But we’re just getting started, and the future of this vital effort depends on you.

We’re thrilled to participate for the second year in Centre Gives, a 36-hour online fundraiser hosted by Centre Foundation on May 8-9, to continue our public-service mission. Make a gift in support of Spotlight PA State College right now at spotlightpa.org/centre.

Your support powers our nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. A few examples:

In July, Penn State Investigative Reporter Wyatt Massey, in collaboration with Centre Daily Times reporter Josh Moyer, published a yearlong investigation into the university’s highly touted misconduct reporting system and reforms implemented after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The reporting revealed deeply rooted flaws and distrust in the structure.

Since then, the university has launched a redesigned misconduct reporting website to ease the process of submitting a complaint. In March, the Office of Ethics and Compliance publicly released misconduct reporting data for the first time in six years.

In December, in partnership with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Spotlight PA sued the university’s board of trustees in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas for allegedly violating the state open meetings law.

In addition, Penn State has filed suit in Commonwealth Court against our newsroom to block the release of internal records that the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records determined should be made public.

Massey’s work is vital to ensuring such a large, influential institution — and a pivotal part of our community — operates with transparency and in the interest of those it’s supposed to serve.

Since her hire in August, Marley Parish has provided unique coverage of rural communities. She’s highlighted how Snow Shoe finally received help from their lawmakers in Harrisburg after years of hardship; why eminent domain disadvantages farmers; how a proposed solar project prompted Rush Township to face its mining past; and much more.

With your support, Parish can continue offering a thoughtful, informative perspective on our neighbors who don’t always make headlines.

Min Xian, our local accountability reporter, covers municipal government like no one else. Through deeply reported stories, she explains what goes wrong in small towns when no one is watching, and how those issues affect communities all across Pennsylvania. Her work makes local government more accessible for the residents it serves.

With your support, Xian can continue keeping our local elected officials honest.

At Spotlight PA, we believe everyone should have access to critical news and information — no matter where they live or what they can afford. That’s why our essential journalism is free for everyone. We also share our work, at no cost, with more than 100 news outlets across Pennsylvania, including the Centre Daily Times, WPSU, and StateCollege.com.

Ensuring this vital public service continues depends on your generosity today. Visit spotlightpa.org/centre to make your donation. Also, stop by and say hi at our booth at Centre Gives Fest, 5-8 p.m. May 9 at Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte!

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