As Pittsburgh marches forward with bright ideas, new projects and self-driving cars, huge gulfs in opportunity persist between white and black residents.

As media, we cover this divide, but we’re not detached from the issue and have a choice to either be part of the solution or stay with the status quo. This involves everyday decisions such as who is quoted in a story and how they’re portrayed, along with larger issues like the diversity of newsrooms that are supposed to hold leaders and institutions accountable for inequality.

To raise awareness, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation are hosting an important discussion Sept. 21 on newsroom diversity and coverage of race.

PublicSource reporter Jeffrey Benzing will discuss our recent project on unsolved murders and the importance of context when looking at the impact of violence on Pittsburgh’s black communities.

The panel will also feature Kristen Doerschner, assistant managing editor at the Beaver County Times, Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier and Scott Trabandt, managing editor at WPXI. Former KDKA-TV reporter Harold Hayes will moderate.

Washington Post reporters Keith Alexander and Wesley Lowery will discuss their Pulitzer Prize-winning series on police shootings.

Because of their work, an accurate count of police shootings of citizens finally exists. Their series examined racial disparities in shootings and showed how badly the federal government had handled or rather mishandled reporting of these deadly incidents.

Space is limited, so RSVP now.

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?