Why does PublicSource cover what it covers?

We get this question a lot, so we’d like to explain what elements and values we pursue when deciding what to cover.

When you look at it holistically, our journalism has two common themes:

One is accountability: We ask tough questions on your behalf and seek to share what we learn in a way that empowers the public to act however they see fit.

The second is a focus on community: You hear from people in our reported stories and first-person essays who don’t always get asked to share their perspectives and experiences.

We inform, explain, amplify and, when appropriate, we hold feet to the fire.

Our approach stems from the belief that you deserve to know how your taxpayer money is being spent, how public schools are performing, and what is in the water you drink and the air you breathe. Just as important is our duty to break down echo chambers, so you can hear how fellow Pittsburghers are experiencing life here.

When we evaluate what makes a story, one of the first considerations we have is about how it will benefit and serve you to know about it. We also think about if there is potential for change or reform.

While problems tend to divide, we aim to host the most important conversations of the region in a way that brings community together. That’s why we don’t see our job as complete until we’re able to report out what we learn about best practices and models to solve the problems we face. It is serious journalism, but it should not leave you feeling hopeless.

‘Stories for a better Pittsburgh’ is not just a catchy tagline; it is our mantra and our mandate. We recognize though that ‘better’ can look like different things to different people. Our hope is that the journalism we produce spurs the community to come together and find a common vision.

To support us in accomplishing that mission, please consider donating today.

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?

Halle has served as managing editor for PublicSource since 2015, leading the newsroom and its editorial strategy. Prior to this role, Halle was a reporter for PublicSource for three years and for the Sarasota...