Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: PennLive/The Patriot-News

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: PennLive/The Patriot-News

PA Media Group provides COVID coverage on multiple platforms

As PA Media Group saw the demand for COVID news and information on PennLive and in The Patriot-News skyrocket, the company rolled out several new platforms for coronavirus content in March.

These platforms included a daily electronic newsletter, a COVID vertical for essential news on the website, a supplement to the daily “Good Morning PA” podcast and direct text messaging service for the most important news on the pandemic.

Marketing and Advertising’s #Rally4Local initiative is providing free online and print listings to 470+ small businesses and nonprofits struggling under the pandemic. In addition to the microsite, the initiative includes a series of free business recovery teleseminars and virtual job fairs.

Other initiatives with the strongest reader response have included:

  • PennLive’s interactive data page following cases by county, nursing home deaths, regional reopenings and other statistics in progress. Readers have applauded these easy-to-use maps built by data journalist Megan Heaton.
  • A new Facebook livestream show hosted by opinion editor Joyce Davis. Experts appearing on “Coronavirus Q&A” field questions submitted by some of the thousands of viewers watching every weekday.
  • Explainer videos on social distancing, how COVID spreads, how to make a mask, etc., created by visual journalists and audio/video production house PennStudios.
  • Facebook livestream reporting. The newsroom is making video a go-to platform for major breaking news. Audience response was especially strong for coverage of the state shutdown protests at the capitol and survivor stories.
  • “School@home,” fun and educational children’s pages in every edition of The Patriot-News. These proved so popular the Harrisburg School District requested copies to supplement its remote learning curriculum. Hundreds of papers are donated to families participating in the district’s free lunch program.
  • Photo essays. To document the homefront, photographers launched an ongoing series of “Window of Hope” portraits showing life under stay-at-home orders. Photographers also profiled local restaurants making the best of the pivot to take out and delivery service over in-house dining. Community engagement has been high.
  • Virtual events. PA Media Group’s biggest special events of the year take place in spring and the company was determined they go on despite COVID’s restrictions on large public gatherings. The PennLive Sports Awards and 28th annual Best & Brightest program for high school seniors were produced as video celebrations in May.

Cate Barron, president of PA Media Group, said the company has received more positive feedback than in any other time in the more than 30 years she has been with the group. “We’re hearing from many readers who recognize what reliable local journalism is worth — especially in these uncertain times.”

Here is a sampling of the feedback readers have provided:

  • After buying his paper from a newsstand for many years, David Morrison recently decided to have it delivered. Historic Harrisburg’s executive director said he appreciates PA Media Group’s work to keep everyone informed and safe. “Bravo to your team these past crazy weeks,” David wrote. “PennLive, the print paper, and Joyce Davis’ live video sessions all have been excellent, reassuring, trustworthy, and helpful.”
  • Print subscriber Kathy Maze called to say: “These are crazy times we’re having right now and you guys are still there putting out the paper for those of us stuck at home … Thank you very much.”
  • Steve Aaron of SRA Communications appreciates the diversity of voices. “The content on PennLive has been really strong with divergent and important opinions — and that matters now more than ever. So, THANK YOU to you and to all of your colleagues.”
  • Harrisburg school administrators reported that they were using the School@home pages with online learning. PA Media Group is now donating 400 copies of every edition to the district’s free lunch program.

For additional information, contact Cate Barron at (717) 255-8165 or