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WITF’s Digital Footprint

  • Tim Lambert
Chester County election workers scan mail-in and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election in the United States at West Chester University, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in West Chester.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Chester County election workers scan mail-in and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election in the United States at West Chester University, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in West Chester.

News departments faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, from the coronavirus pandemic to protests for racial justice to a contentious election.

Through our digital efforts, WITF worked to amplify voices of people from under-represented communities As part of WITF’s PA Post, we published a series about the costs of incarceration. An analysis of price-gouging commissary items included an interactive guessing game for readers to estimate how much inmates are paying for goods like tampons and ramen. All stories in the series also included a form for people to share their own experiences with us. That led to additional coverage, including a Rastafarian who said he was placed in solitary confinement because of his hair and a hunger strike over coronavirus concerns.

 

After the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Pennsylvania, WITF used a similar approach to solicit questions from readers. We spent weeks researching and updating an FAQ with responses from state, federal and international experts. As the virus continued to spread in Pennsylvania, and the state Department of Health did not have easy-to-understand public information, WITF created interactive graphics to illustrate the pandemic in our area. Our team has revised these graphics throughout the past several months as new concerns arose, such as percent positivity and hospital capacity.

And as the election neared, we wanted to dig beyond polling data that show the majority of Pennsylvanians want lawmakers to do more to address climate change. So we asked: What do you want elected officials to do? Answers ran the gamut from tighter restrictions on pollution to job retraining for fossil fuel workers.

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