Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, Triblive/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

HARRISBURG — We’re about to kick things into a whole new gear.

Over the past 11 months, Spotlight PA has proven to be an essential source of accountability journalism about Pennsylvania state government and urgent statewide issues, delivering stories that otherwise would have gone untold and getting results.

From our reporting on the state’s failure to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19, to how lawmakers have hidden millions in campaign spending, our work has changed the equation in Harrisburg, led to calls for reform, and sparked real change.

We now provide this in-depth and high-quality reporting from the capital at no cost to 48 newsrooms in communities across Pennsylvania, an innovative and efficient way to combat the financial crisis facing the news industry and to help make our state better for all.

Today, I’m proud to announce we’re joining forces with another independent newsroom — PA Post, a project of WITF Public Media in Harrisburg — to expand our coverage. As part of the merger, WITF will join The Inquirer, PennLive/the Patriot-News, and Triblive/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as a governing partner and board member.

Our two newsrooms were founded around the same time and share a similar mission: to connect Pennsylvanians to their state, and to each other, through accountability driven, public service journalism.

Now, I’m excited to transform our work into a single, stronger collaborative newsroom.

» DONATE NOW: Journalism that calls out injustice and holds the powerful to account is more important than ever. If you agree, please become a donor today at spotlightpa.org/donate.

Our combined newsroom — which will continue to be known as Spotlight PA — will give us more expertise to expand our reporting and grow our audience, all in pursuit of the day when everyone in Pennsylvania has the information they deserve to understand how their tax dollars are spent, to hold their elected officials accountable, and — perhaps most importantly — to make their voice heard in pursuit of a more equitable future.

As part of the merger, two PA Post reporters — Ed Mahon and Joseph Darius Jaafari — will be joining Spotlight PA’s team. We will be creating a new, statewide coverage area focused on the criminal justice system and its disproportionate impact on communities of color, as well as expanding our footprint to ensure issues important to rural communities and communities in Western Pennsylvania are adequately reflected in our work.

To support this expansion, we will be hiring another deputy editor.

Additionally, Spotlight PA is leading the creation of a diverse source database — a directory of at least 100 experts of color across Pennsylvania — to improve representation in our own coverage, and to provide a resource to help other newsrooms do the same. You can support that effort at spotlightpa.org/donate.

In total, our combined newsroom will now include 14 reporters and editors in addition to technology and fund-raising staff. We will continue to publish all stories at spotlightpa.org and across our partner network. We will also continue to offer our free weekly newsletter, the Investigator, as well as our new weekly coronavirus alerts, customized by county, to provide more localized data to keep you informed and safe.

Finally, Spotlight PA will take over production of PA Post’s free daily newsletter, the Context.

None of this critical public service journalism would be possible without the support of foundations and individuals who value the truth and share our commitment to holding power to account and making Pennsylvania a better place for all.

Christopher Baxter is the editor-in-chief of Spotlight PA.

100% ESSENTIAL: Spotlight PA relies on funding from foundations and readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results. If you value this reporting, please give a gift today at spotlightpa.org/donate.