PublicSource journalism recognized for its value in challenging times for media

Dear readers,

We’re thrilled to share with you some good news. So far this year, PublicSource reporters have taken home 16 awards from local, state and regional journalism contests. In addition, the national Education Writers Association recognized PublicSource reporters Mary Niederberger and Jeffrey Benzing as finalists for their stories on disproportionate treatment and challenges for black girls in the Pittsburgh region as part of our “I am a black girl and…” series. Journalism professionals selected PublicSource for the following honors:

A Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for our continuing coverage of Pittsburgh’s crisis with lead in the water. The region in which we claimed the award spans Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

Photos: Activists demand justice for Antwon Rose Jr., an unarmed black teen killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer

Update (June 27, 2018): The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office charged East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld with criminal homicide in Antwon Rose Jr.'s death. His bail was set for $250,000 by a magisterial district judge. The DA's office said in a statement that they believe setting bail was "improper" because statute indicates that anyone charged with a crime that could result in life in prison is not entitled to bail. However, DA spokesman Mike Manko said the office does "not plan on contesting it at this time." PublicSource reporter Jeffrey Benzing live-tweeted the DA's press conference on Wednesday morning.

O’Harold Hoots, a displaced resident from the Penn Plaza complex, was the first of nearly 40 opponents to the proposed development to speak during Tuesday's meeting of the planning commission. Hoots asked that the commission consider the human face of those that would be negatively affected by the redevelopment.

The people who filibustered Pittsburgh’s planning commission over plans for the former Penn Plaza site

Jackie Smith, Ashley Cox, Dan Kubis, Rachel Brown, Adam Clark… The list read before the City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon included the names of almost 1,300 people who wrote letters to the commission, opposing the development plan proposed by LG Realty for the former site of Penn Plaza Apartments. After more than four hours, the commission voted to approve design plans for the $150 million development in East Liberty. One year following the controversial demolition of Penn Plaza and after six months of mediation between the community and developers, LG Realty presented plans to put commercial retail space, a park and several office buildings at the former site of affordable housing. About 30 to 40 people spoke at the meeting, some of them in support of the project. A few of them took their three minutes of time at the podium to read the names of the people who submitted letters opposing the Pennley Park South Redevelopment Plan.

My 6-year-old grandson thought a book character’s skin was ‘too dark.’ Here’s how I handled it.

When my 6-year-old grandson told me he didn’t like the African-American girl in a book about diverse children because she was ‘too dark,’ I felt like the protagonist in the French film “Amélie” when she transformed into water and dropped into a huge puddle on the floor. I was devastated — shocked, angry, surprised and, most importantly, stumped.

As homeschooling becomes more mainstream, is it right for my child? Here’s what I’ve learned.

Homeschooling has been on the rise in Pennsylvania since the 2011-12 school year when there were about 20,900 homeschooled students in the state. In 2015-16, the state Department of Education recorded nearly 23,900 homeschoolers, which likely underestimates its prevalence because students homeschooled for religious reasons are exempt from the registration requirement. Still, homeschooled students represent only about 1.38 percent of K-12 students in Pennsylvania.