This op-ed originally appeared on Spotlight PA.
The challenges and threats facing our Democracy can seem so enormous and systemic that you might think one person, one article, or one vote couldn’t possibly make a difference.
But the biggest threat of all is giving in and believing all is already lost.
This month we celebrate Democracy Day as a commitment to the preservation of our freedoms. At Spotlight PA, it’s also a stark reminder of what’s at stake, why we work hard to produce unique journalism that informs and equips people to drive change, and why we need your help.
Nationwide, we’re losing newspapers at a rate of two per week, according to a report from Northwestern University. A fifth of the country’s population is now living in an area with either no local news outlet, or only one — fueling a rise in confusion, misinformation, or outright lies.
Here in Pennsylvania, the rapid decline of trusted, nonpartisan news in communities is alarming — and it’s only getting worse. Just last month, four major newspapers were sold to a media group owned by a hedge fund with a reputation for cutbacks and layoffs.
At the same time, public access to quality information is eroding, we’re on the precipice of a presidential election under unprecedented circumstances, and partisanship is flaring — all sure to again stress test our Democracy and our commitment to the facts over nonsense.
Now is the time to recommit to action.
Spotlight PA was founded to meet this moment: To restore trusted, nonpartisan statehouse and statewide journalism that enables Pennsylvanians to be engaged and take action, and to ensure everyone — not just those who can afford it — has free and unfettered access to it.