Starting this week, LebTown will be a content partner of Spotlight PA, a collaboration that will make additional investigative journalism about Pennsylvania’s state government accessible to our readers on LebTown.com.
LebTown has no obligation to run stories produced by Spotlight PA, and no money is changing hands as part of this partnership. We expect to syndicate about one article per week to start and will adjust as we better understand how our readers would like us to tap into this new resource.
Launched in September, the Spotlight PA newsroom is one of many new endeavors made possible by the magnanimity of one man, Gerry Lenfest, whose parting gift to Pennsylvania was to house the Philadelphia Inquirer under a nonprofit organization and endow it with the resources needed to reinvent the newspaper model for the 21st century.
It’s a mission very much after my own heart. And in some ways, LebTown’s partnership with Spotlight PA represents a full circle of sorts – as we’ve discussed before, Lenfest’s road to riches began no other place than Lebanon County.
I am also a former Inquirer employee myself, and worked for the company through its historic transition into a subsidiary of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the nonprofit vehicle of Lenfest’s generosity. I have seen firsthand the dedication and grit that goes into investigative journalism, and the character that it takes to do this work right. In an age of social media and partisan outlets, the investigative reporter is a person whose craft is often misunderstood.
If you follow LebTown, you hopefully know that I consider our ability to earn and retain the trust of our readers as the single most important thing we do. That’s why I feel it’s important to warn you. There is likely to be a time when a Spotlight PA story makes you feel uncomfortable. When it makes you mad. When it makes you feel vindicated, or maybe even under attack. When that happens, I want you to remember this column.
The investigative journalist, at their finest, embodies the old New York Times promise to report “without fear or favor.” To follow the truth no matter what. To summon all resources available and serve as a shining spotlight in constant search for the facts.
I have the utmost trust in the Spotlight PA team to uphold the standard they’ve set so far. Their promise is to be another manifestation of the vision set forth by Inquirer co-founder John Norvell two centuries ago: “In a free state, there should always be an inquirer asking on behalf of the people.”
But, ultimately, if you do ever feel that our standard hasn’t been met by a Spotlight PA story, I will be here to listen to your feedback. The buck stops with me. From day one, LebTown has been listening to our readers, our community, to build a news outlet that represents Lebanon County. Nothing about that changes because of this partnership.
To kickoff this new collaboration, we are also running a column today by Spotlight PA Editor in Chief Chris Baxter. Read it here. If you have any questions or feedback, please send me a note using the contact form below.