Our mission

PublicSource is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, digital-first media organization dedicated to serving Pittsburgh and the region. PublicSource inspires critical thinking and bold ideas through journalism rooted in facts, diverse voices and pursuit of transparency.

We listen. We investigate. We tell in-depth stories for a better Pittsburgh.

Our principles

  1. PublicSource presents a bold vision for local journalism in the Pittsburgh region.
    Fearless. Truth-seeking. Responsible. Inclusive. The news you consume does not have to be just traffic, weather, shootings or sports. We deliver nuanced local coverage through our website, our weekly digest, social media accounts and through partners’ platforms.
  2. PublicSource’s agenda is to engage and inform residents of the Pittsburgh region on the most pressing issues that are having a real impact on people’s lives.
    We present facts and narratives that are informed by those facts. We analyze issues with a mind toward the future, toward successful models and solutions; we look to the history to find root causes for present-day problems and write with outcomes and impact in mind.
  3. PublicSource believes journalism is public service, and readers’ trust is the most valuable asset we have.
    Our fact-checking system is robust and thorough. We seek readers’ input because we cannot know everything and we don’t pretend to.
  4. We are not liberal or conservative.
    We are independent and abide by ethics principles adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN).
  5. PublicSource does not churn out clickbait.
    It delivers thoughtful journalism, which works for regular people who may not have resources to investigate things on their own.
  6. PublicSource does not only inform, it also engages with communities of shared interests through events.
    You can keep up with our latest events here.
  7. PublicSource is committed to being the platform for the community, easy to access and proactive rather than reactive.
    There is no paywall or exclusivity. We make our journalism available to you, and to media partners, because we believe informed and engaged citizens will make decisions that improve our region.
  8. PublicSource stands for evidence-based, accountable local journalism. PublicSource believes that thoughtful local journalism is essential to a smarter, better Pittsburgh region.
  9. PublicSource invites people to share their narratives on publicsource.org.
    It works with people in an effort to provide a platform for people who typically aren't being heard, people who are not just ‘newsmakers’ or ‘trend-setters’ but those who do not always get a microphone to share their experiences.
  10. PublicSource advocates for government transparency and serves as a watchdog to hold those in power to account.
    We seek to spread knowledge and truth.
  11. PublicSource retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic interests of our organization.
    Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions. We don’t sell out.
  12. PublicSource is innovation-driven and experimental in its work and spirit.
    We are a digital-first newsroom and we want our journalism not only to be relevant to you, but also user-friendly, appealing and surprising.

Editorial Independence Policy

PublicSource subscribes to INN’s standards of editorial independence as follows:

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We will maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization also may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN's Membership Standards.

Ethics Policy

PublicSource has adopted the ethics policy of the Society of Professional Journalists to guide us in our interactions with news sources and the public. It appears here.

Data security and privacy on PublicSource.org

PublicSource, a 501(c)(3) organization registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,  operates https://www.publicsource.org.

As a journalism organization, we value transparency and do everything we can to handle our user data responsibly at PublicSource, but we use third-party applications, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel on our site, and we have no control over how they may be using information these applications receive from your browser.

Like many website operators, we collect information that your browser sends whenever you visit our site. This data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, browser type (Google Chrome, Mozilla, etc.), browser version, the pages of our site that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages and other statistics.

We also use “cookies” to collect de-identified information. You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent though it could affect some functionality on the site.

Certain pages and services on our site may set other third-party cookies. We don’t have any way of knowing how such services handle the resulting data internally. PublicSource makes no claim, nor takes liability for the insecure submission of information via these applications.

Here are the services whose cookies you can find on PublicSource:

  • Sharing buttons for Facebook and Twitter. These use the standard scripts provided by each company.
  • Google Analytics, which we use to measure site traffic. Google Analytics gathers certain de-identified information over time, such as your IP address, browser type, internet service provider, referring and exit pages, time stamp, and similar data.
  • Stripe, which allows us to accept donations through our website.
  • Mailchimp, which helps us manage newsletter distributions.

We only collect personally identifiable information such as your name and email address when you sign up for a newsletter, donate to our organization, or otherwise submit it to us voluntarily.

We share your information with a minimal number of common service providers, whose products use your information to help us improve our site, deliver newsletters or allow us to offer donation opportunities. We also use email addresses to serve ads with information that is relevant to you and others with similar interests.

However, the identities of all donors and, in some cases, the amount they have given to PublicSource may be listed on our website or the newsletter. This level of transparency is important to our mission and independence.

All sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology via Stripe. All transactions are processed through Stripe and are not stored or processed on our servers.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this information, please contact PublicSource Executive Director Mila Sanina at mila@publicsource.org or by calling us at 412-515-0061.

Adapted from policies posted at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News.