Promotional Spotlight: Gannett

Promotional Spotlight: Gannett

Gannett creates Pennsylvania state capitol bureau

While the distance from any given city in Pennsylvania to the state capitol is rarely more than a few hours drive time, there can be a disconnect between the happenings of the legislature and the communities it represents.  Shane Fitzgerald, USA Today Network Pennsylvania editor, hopes to bridge that gap and supplement the Pennsylvania Gannett papers across the commonwealth with the newly formed state capitol bureau.  The bureau team will seek to cover the capitol and statewide issues as well as supplement coverage for all of Gannett’s Pennsylvania publications. “This isn’t about following every bill,” said Fitzgerald. “This is about providing a resource to the localized editorial teams – insight and focus on things at the capitol that will affect their local region.”

Fitzgerald is no stranger to the idea of maintaining oversight of several publications across the commonwealth while preserving and bolstering hyperlocal editorial coverage.  Fitzgerald’s role expanded with the recent GateHouse and Gannett merger, as he moved from sub-regional editor for the former GateHouse Atlantic Region and took on a broader role for the USA Today Network, serving as Gannett’s Pennsylvania editor. “With the [GateHouse and Gannett] merger, we greatly increased our footprint in Pennsylvania,” said Fitzgerald. “We have publications reporting from all four corners of the state now, and we have a unique position with many of them in that they are not located within the state population centers, they are in the suburbs and provide editorial coverage specific to the communities they represent.”

The Gannett state capitol bureau was developed as one of Fitzgerald’s first initiatives in his new role with the company and the creation of a state capitol bureau is a common practice for Gannett in other states.  “New Jersey and New York already have state capitol bureaus for their Gannett properties,” said Fitzgerald. “We were preparing to create ours when the coronavirus pandemic caused a slight delay in the development.” Fitzgerald said the bureau came to fruition in late June, and it utilizes three current staff members who will be shifting part, if not all, of their time to a focus on the state capitol.  One of the perks Fitzgerald finds with the approach of starting the bureau with current team members is the existing working relationship; the veteran reporters who make up the bureau do not require constant oversight from the editors.

Fitzgerald is eager for the bureau to delve deeper on legislative issues with impact in his publications’ regions.  “The [state capitol] bureau will allow us to tackle issues in a more substantial way,” said Fitzgerald. “Topics like gerrymandering – we will be able to provide our readers with a developed story that will include information about what has been done, and what can be done from census to the redrawing of district maps.” Another topic that he feels will benefit from the additional and focused capitol coverage is the upcoming 2020 elections. Fitzgerald will be working to foster a strong and open relationship between the bureau and local editors to facilitate the best coverage of issues that matter most to each publication.

For additional information, contact Shane Fitzgerald at 215-949-4160 or