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There’s nothing short of a crisis in our state capital.

Every year, more of Pennsylvania’s sprawling and costly bureaucracy operates without scrutiny from investigative reporters, the watchdogs tracking how our hard-earned tax dollars are spent, ensuring the vulnerable are protected, and demanding answers from lawmakers about waste, fraud and abuse.

Together, we can restore accountability.

I’m proud to introduce you to Spotlight PA, an ambitious, statewide and donor-funded newsroom based in Harrisburg with the mission of holding the powerful in Pennsylvania to account through hard-hitting investigative journalism.

Spotlight PA is an unprecedented collaboration born of the grit and determination that makes our state great. It’s powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg.

But Spotlight PA serves everyone in Pennsylvania, not just our urban power centers.

And now, all of Spotlight PA’s content will be made available to readers throughout York County thanks to a new partnership with The York Dispatch.

This partnership is made possible by our growing community of supporters across Pennsylvania who are fed up with Harrisburg and want more accountability. Join us. For a limited time, your tax-deductible gift to Spotlight PA will be TRIPLED. Give now at spotlightpa.org/donate.

This unique project depends on your support. Spotlight PA’s independent team is stationed just two blocks from the Capitol, and our investigative reporters include Pennsylvania veterans and other accomplished journalists recruited from across the U.S.

The formation of Spotlight PA marks the single largest expansion of the statehouse reporting corps in Pennsylvania in recent history. Our newsroom is the only one dedicated to producing investigative journalism about the state government and urgent statewide issues.

Our journalists are assigned to cover specific state departments, commissions and agencies, as well as topics of statewide importance. Many of these areas have gone without serious scrutiny from the press for years. Spotlight PA reporters have the time, resources and mandate to be fearless in their pursuit of the truth.

Far from just providing the news, we intend to connect and engage with you through innovative digital storytelling, creative partnerships, community events and more.

SIGN UP for Spotlight PA’s free weekly newsletter for behind-the-scenes looks at our reporting plus a roundup of the best journalism from across the state.

Initial financial support for Spotlight PA comes from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the non-profit owner of The Inquirer, and a unique coalition of state and national funders that recognize the importance Harrisburg has on their communities, from Erie to Scranton, Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

They also know and agree that our work must be independent and free from influence. Spotlight PA retains full editorial control, and our funders have no say whatsoever in which stories we pursue or how we pursue them.

Spotlight PA was formed to serve you, the public, and we want you to be a part of our efforts. Many of the best investigations start with a call or email from a concerned reader. If you have tips or suggestions for an investigation, please visit spotlightpa.org/tips to see the various secure ways you can communicate with our team.

Ever since my first job as a local reporter in the Lehigh Valley for The Morning Call — and most recently as investigations editor in New Jersey’s largest newsroom, NJ.com and The Star-Ledger — I have seen how hard-hitting investigative journalism can drive change and improve lives, especially for those who are marginalized or forgotten.

Now, after having lived in Pennsylvania for more than a decade, I’m proud to be leading such an ambitious effort to provide the people of this state with more of the high-quality investigative journalism we all need and deserve. Together, we can hold the powerful to account.

Learn more about Spotlight PA and how to support our investigative journalism at spotlightpa.org.

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

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Read or Share this story: https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/opinion/contributors/2019/11/24/op-ed-york-dispatch-partners-investigative-team-holding-powerful-account-pa/4290565002/