I hope you and the people you care about stay safe and healthy during these uncertain and frightening times. We are saddened with you by the extent to which COVID-19 has disrupted daily routines, businesses and the community at large. Let us all hope that this coronavirus pandemic is not disruptive for long and we will find patience, resilience and humanity to rebuild.
But while this unprecedented crisis is evolving, we, at PublicSource, will be working to provide timely essential information to you, our readers and supporters. So, to that end, I wanted to share with you our coverage plans and let you know how we are taking precautions as a newsroom to provide a safe environment for our journalists, business staff, sources and the community we serve.
If there is a time when reliable information is essential, this time is now. So, we’ve been focused on reporting easy-to-follow details about the coronavirus in Allegheny County and across the state, including the latest tally of cases. We have built an interactive map and have been updating guidelines coming from local officials. On Sunday, we published an essay from health and development economist Jessica Pickett explaining why municipal fragmentation makes the wider Pittsburgh region especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are also involving our readers in our coverage. We received questions, commentary ideas and advice. And, while we are working to respond to all of them, we would also love to hear more about how we can serve you better. We are a small nonprofit newsroom and in moments like this one, we must offer a unique way that is focused on serving our local audience. So, fans of PublicSource, please help us live up to our name. Email me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On an operations-related front, as of Wednesday last week, following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone at PublicSource has been working from home. I asked all of our team members to suspend in-person meetings, conduct all interviews remotely and avoid large gatherings. The precautions were necessary. We do not want to put anyone who is associated with PublicSource in harm’s way.
On a personal note, thank you for trusting PublicSource to keep you informed. Many thanks especially to you, our members, foundations and partner organizations who invest in us to provide this essential service of local journalism to you every day.
We appreciate your readership and support.
This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.
James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.
It takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce journalism like this. Our stories are always made available for free so that they can benefit the most people, regardless of ability to pay. But as an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we count on donations from our readers to support this crucial work. Can you make a contribution of any amount (or better yet, set up a recurring monthly gift) to help ensure we can continue to report on what matters and tell stories for a better Pittsburgh?