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Support Our State College Bureau

To combat the continuing loss of local news in Pennsylvania, Spotlight PA launched its first pilot regional bureau based in State College and covering north-central Pennsylvania. We hope this bureau will serve as a model for how to address the crisis in local news in communities across the state. As part of this initiative, Spotlight PA hired a team of journalists dedicated to the region, which represents a sizable and significant infusion of talent relative to the number of current reporters.

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Every Thursday, you’ll get top news and notes for North-Central PA by Spotlight PA’s State College regional bureau.

A Novel Approach to Reinvigorating Local News

Sunsrise over State College, PA
Abby Drey / Centre Daily Times
Consistent with Spotlight PA’s member-funded, public-service mission, all of this high-quality journalism is distributed at no cost to our media partners — led by the Centre Daily Times — and to the public through spotlightpa.org.

Our team of journalists has the time, resources, and mandate to dig deep into the issues of the region. You can expect reporting on everything from the challenges facing rural communities to Penn State to local accountability issues like how our tax dollars are spent and how our towns are run. All of Spotlight PA’s reporting is conducted through an equity and accountability lens, examining issues that are causing harm and proposing solutions.

The team is employed by Spotlight PA and receives organizational support from the statewide newsroom, including management and editing — thus avoiding the significant start-up costs associated with launching a brand-new, nonprofit news outlet. The bureau publishes via Spotlight PA’s extensive distribution network, elevating issues of regional importance to a statewide audience, while also fostering mutual understanding among all Pennsylvanians.


We estimate this new bureau will cost approximately $500,000 a year to sustain at its proposed size, and its future will depend on local support from the community. You can support this special effort by clicking here, or to learn more about getting involved, please contact Spotlight PA Director of Individual and Corporate Giving Michelle Mertz at michelle@spotlightpa.org.

We’re so grateful to our founding individual donors for supporting this effort (see our State College bureau donor list below).

This expansion has also been made possible by a $1 million grant from the American Journalism Project, which is focused on enhancing Spotlight PA’s business and operations capacity to enable it to expand its journalism locally.

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  • Photo of Wyatt Massey

    Wyatt Massey

    Investigative Reporter

    Massey investigates how Penn State University operates, including its influence in the region and state. The university receives more than $300 million in funding from the state but evades most transparency measures under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. Massey scrutinizes the main University Park campus as well as the university’s 19 additional branch campuses.

    A native of rural Wisconsin, Massey previously covered faith and religion for the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Southeast Tennessee.

  • Photo of Marley Parish

    Marley Parish

    Rural Affairs Reporter

    Marley Parish is the rural affairs reporter of Spotlight PA’s State College regional bureau.

    Before joining Spotlight PA, she covered the state Senate for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, reporting on education, health, and elections. Previously, Marley was a community reporter for the Centre Daily Times, covering education, local government, and community issues.

    She has received statewide recognition for her coverage of the 2020 post-election review conducted by Senate Republicans and how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could affect statewide access to reproductive care.

  • Photo of Sarah Rafacz

    Sarah Rafacz

    State College Editor

    Sarah Rafacz is the editor of Spotlight PA’s State College bureau. Before joining Spotlight PA to help launch its first regional bureau, she was the editor of State College Magazine. Prior to that, Rafacz was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times, covering Penn State, local government and development. Rafacz, a native of Centre County, has bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English from Penn State.
  • Photo of Min Xian

    Min Xian

    Local Accountability Reporter

    Central and northern Pennsylvania is home to vast natural beauty, historic towns with changing economies, and a diverse mix of social-political values. Xian reports on how local governments are run and how public dollars are spent, with a focus on how public and private forces shape ordinary life in this region.

    Before joining Spotlight PA, Xian covered local government and rural issues for the region’s NPR affiliate, WPSU. Originally from southern China, she has called State College home since 2013.

State College Bureau Donors

Spotlight PA's State College Bureau (Donations of $1,000 and above)

  • Mimi Barash Coppersmith
  • Anthony Barbieri
  • R Thomas and Paulette Berner
  • Centre Foundation
  • Nancy Chiswick and Arthur Patterson
  • Vincent Crespi
  • John and Janet Dillon
  • Ronald Filippelli
  • David Gray
  • Sharon and Jeff Hyde
  • Richard and Sally Kalin
  • Laura and Peter Kemper
  • The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • David Martens
  • Martina Martin
  • John Nichols
  • Katie O'Toole and Gary Gray
  • Kathleen Pavelko
  • Donna Queeney and Nicholas Kerlin
  • Report for America
  • Gary Schell
  • David Seltzer
  • Susan and Ron Smith
  • Daniel and Linda Trevino

Spotlight PA's State College Bureau (Donations below $1,000)


    • Catherine and Kevin Alloway
    • Linda Arble
    • Marna Ares
    • Gary Augustson


    • Fred Baldwin
    • Marlene Bannon
    • Brian Beer
    • Mary Lou Bennett
    • Michael Berkman
    • Joanna Bernstein
    • Prudence Bickel
    • Steve Blake
    • Janet Blankenhorn
    • Lisa Borghesi
    • Carol Ann Brady
    • Susan Brantley
    • Lynn Braz
    • Jennifer Brock
    • Eric Brown
    • Stephen Brunner
    • Barbara Burchill
    • Richard Bush
    • Robert Buzzell


    • Bonna Cafiso
    • James Casey
    • Catalent
    • Sonia Cavigelli
    • Centre 1st Bank
    • Laura Clifton
    • David Conroy
    • Patricia Cossick
    • Ellen Coyle
    • Billie Coyne


    • Candace Dannaker
    • Joan De Coninck
    • Nancy Decker
    • Raymond Delevie
    • Mary Derstein
    • Michael Desmond
    • Carolyn Donaldson
    • Helene Dow
    • Patrick Dowling
    • Charles Dubois
    • Dan Duffy
    • Mary Dunn
    • James Dunne
    • Robert and Rachel Duplessis


    • Melissa Egbertson
    • James Eisenstein
    • Kathy Everett
    • William Ewing
    • Jubalyn Exwilliams


    • Victoria Fong
    • Elizabeth Foster
    • Mary Frandsen
    • Maryann Frankenberg
    • Lorie Fritts
    • Susan and Richard Fudurich


    • David Gackenbach
    • Anita Genger and Eric Boeldt
    • Mitch Gerstein
    • Carol Gillespie
    • Jennifer Glick
    • Richard Gordon
    • Theodora Rapp Graham
    • Rodger Granlund
    • Catie Grant
    • Parisi Gray
    • John Graybill
    • Elizabeth Green
    • Louise and Arthur Grim
    • Bruce Grinder
    • Rebekah Grmela
    • Cari Gustafson


    • Etta Habegger
    • Debra Hager
    • Thomas and Barbara Hale
    • Rick Hallstrom
    • Margaret Hambrick
    • Kristen Hanahan Realtor/Kissinger, Bigatel & Brower
    • Marie Hardin
    • William and Peggy Hartman
    • Ellen Harvey
    • Molly Hasselman-Gnan
    • Judith Heberling
    • Connor Henderson
    • Ellen and Jim Hermann
    • April Hile
    • Donald Housley
    • Paul Hughes
    • Eric Husted
    • Kay Hutton


    • Clinton Ibarra
    • Alma Ivey-Mathis


    • Bruce Jankura
    • Richard and Ann Jones
    • Ryan Jones


    • Marilyn Keat
    • Margaret Keiser
    • Peter and Rhonda Keller
    • Paul Kellermann
    • Lion Country KIA
    • Michael Kiernan
    • Lynn Kipp
    • Janet Koch
    • Richard Koch
    • John-Erik Koslosky
    • Ann Koziar
    • Stephen Krupa
    • Christian Kurpiel-Wakamiya
    • James Kvitkovich


    • James and Denise Lanning
    • Michael Lee
    • Dale Lenox
    • Tony Lentz
    • Benson and Christine Lichtig
    • Robert and Janice Lindsay
    • John Lopatka
    • Jeannine Lozier


    • Jason Maas
    • Dennis MacAdam
    • Lassie Macdonald
    • Robert Maney
    • Michele Marchetti
    • Alison Marchioni
    • Kenneth Martin
    • John McCarthy and Patricia House
    • Claudia McGill
    • Maryann Mcnally
    • Kitsy McNulty
    • Priscilla McNulty
    • Allen Mengel
    • Suzie Morris
    • Jean Morrow
    • Hugh and Janyce Mose
    • Tracy Mullen
    • Arleen Multhauf
    • Dean Murray
    • Gary Muzzelo


    • James Newcomer
    • Cynthia Nixon-Hudson and Randolph Hudson
    • Eric Norenberg
    • Mary and John Nousek


    • Elaine Olson
    • Carol Oneill


    • Robert and Ann Pangborn
    • Nancy Parks
    • Lynn Petnick
    • Elizabeth Phillips
    • Pete Phillips
    • Nathan Piekielek
    • Jennifer Pollock
    • Michael Poorman
    • Josh Portney
    • Bob Potter
    • Gail Preuninger
    • Louis and Susan Prevost
    • Todd Price
    • Mary Prunty


    • Donna Quadri


    • Paula Ralph
    • Ronald Ranieri
    • William Rathfon
    • Laura Reed-Morrisson
    • Jillian Rodgers
    • Craig Rose
    • Kate Rosenberg
    • Richard Ross
    • Louis Rubano


    • Benedict Saia
    • Sue Sargo
    • Steven Sattinger
    • Barb Saulsbury
    • Leslie Schlessinger and Joycellen Auritt
    • Thomas Schmoyer
    • Michael Schroeder
    • G Radcliffe Schultz
    • Geraldine Sealey
    • Marilyn Secco
    • Stephen Seidman
    • Barbara Sherlock
    • Frances Sherr
    • Theodore and Regina Showers
    • Jennifer Sibum
    • Kent Simendinger
    • Douglas Sivers
    • Mary Skees
    • Patricia Slagle
    • William Smith
    • Stephen Snell
    • Jackie Sobel
    • Aaron Songer
    • Graham Spanier
    • Jenna Spinelle
    • Lewis and Susan Steinberg
    • Louise and Michael Steiner
    • Patricia Stephens
    • Brian Strahl
    • Patrick Parsons and Susan Strohm
    • Stephen Wistar and Gulsana Sushina


    • Robert Anderson and Kimberlery Knorr Tait
    • Lynn Thomas
    • John Thompson
    • Karen Toth
    • Linda Twedt


    • M Esther Underhill
    • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County


    • Christina Vandepol
    • Ann Vaneerden
    • Tanner Vea
    • Susan Venegoni
    • Richard Villastrigo


    • John Wagner
    • Kathleen Weidner
    • Jerry Wettstone
    • David Whiteman
    • Betsy Whitman
    • Marty Wilder
    • Claudia Wilson
    • Ellen Wilson
    • Deborah Wolfe


    • Mina Yindra
    • Donald Young


    • Eddy Zalinski
    • Hollis Zelinsky
    • Barbara Ziff
    • Charlotte Zmyslo
    • Amy Zowniriw
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