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Support Spotlight PA during Centre Gives to power public-service journalism in Centre County

Just days after announcing a hiring freeze, Penn State created a new office and hired a new vice president. Here’s what the university has to say about that decision.
Abby Drey
Centre Daily Times
Support Spotlight PA during Centre Gives to power public-service journalism in Centre County.

All donations to Spotlight PA during Centre Gives, a 36-hour online fundraiser on May 10-11, benefit its State College regional bureau.

Sarah Rafacz is the editor of Spotlight PA State College. Email her at

Over the past year, Spotlight PA State College has established itself as a vital community resource by holding Penn State leadership accountable, revealing what happens in small-town governments when no one is watching, and fighting for access to information.

As a Centre County native, I’m proud to lead this bureau of journalists working tirelessly in pursuit of the truth. And today, you can help us continue this critical work.

We’ve been given the tremendous opportunity to participate in Centre Gives, a 36-hour online fundraiser on May 10-11, to further our public-service mission. Donate to Spotlight PA’s Centre Gives campaign at

Your support makes our impactful journalism possible, driving accountability, transparency, and positive change. A few examples:

Wyatt Massey is the only full-time investigative reporter covering Penn State. He helps Penn Staters and the wider community understand how the university is run.

In October, his exclusive reporting revealed that the university hadn’t set aside funding for the Center for Racial Justice, a key promise following the 2020 protests against racism and police brutality. His reporting was cited by national outlets like The Washington Post and put a spotlight on the Bendapudi administration’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Plus, Massey uncovered a pattern of the Penn State Board of Trustees’ executive committee gathering in private, potentially violating the state’s open meetings law. He also launched the Penn State Transparency Tracker, an ongoing effort to document the ways the university is, and is not, being transparent.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. With your support, Massey can hold university leaders accountable.

On her second day on the job, Min Xian started digging into how and why a small town in rural Pennsylvania hired the cop who killed Tamir Rice. Her monthslong investigation revealed a local government rife with infighting.

Our readers’ response to the investigation told us what we had long believed — that they care about local government oversight as much as we do. In January, Xian hosted a virtual event focused on Pennsylvania’s fragmented system of local government. She also launched a series called How Local Government Works, answering questions from readers about open records, public meetings, and more.

And she’s just getting started. With your support, she can keep local elected officials honest.

Investigative and public-service journalism isn’t easy to produce. It takes a lot of time, a lot of determination, and a lot of guts. But it’s worth it because we’re making a positive difference in our community. We’re not just reporting the news. We’re fighting for the truth.

We do this work because we are invested in this community. But we need your support to dig deeper and push back against those who would try to deter our efforts.

If you care about high-quality journalism, please donate to our campaign during Centre Gives, a project of Centre Foundation.

This tremendous event elevates and supports more than 200 worthy nonprofits doing important work in Centre County.

Your financial support allows us to publish our work at no cost to readers, and also share it at no cost with more than 90 news organizations across Pennsylvania, including WPSU.

We’re grateful to WPSU for helping us deliver essential information to our Centre County readers.

So this Centre Gives, donate to Spotlight PA to support the continued growth of vital local news in Centre County. Go to to make your donation.

Sarah Rafacz is the editor of Spotlight PA’s State College bureau.