Do you read Public Source? It surprises me when I ask this question and get perplexed looks in return. Public Source is an independent, investigative news outlet that covers critically important issues for Pittsburgh and beyond.

Their stories are everything local reporting should be: deep, engaging, thoroughly researched, vital. They have a current campaign you can join if you like (#PublicSource100), but if not, you can still read all you want at no charge.

Neither I nor Downstream are affiliated with Public Source in any way.

I call myself a writer and not a journalist, a distinction that is easy and obvious to me. Writing has proven to be the way I communicate most effectively, and has remained as one of the few constants throughout my life. Increasingly, various people in polite settings introduce me to others as a journalist. I wince – a nearly identical reaction to when I’m introduced as an architect, and for largely the same reason.

To see the difference, Public Source is where real journalism happens.

In the months and years ahead, the importance of reliable, independent journalism will be more important than at any time in recent history. Locally, one major commercial newspaper’s print operations have folded; the other is becoming too gauzy to wrap fish in. The latter, lusting after the former’s readers advertisers, will likely continue its downward pursuit of mediocrity.

Our beloved cat (R.I.P.) was named Nobody, taken from a character in the film Dead Man. Unlike his namesake, our cat turned out to be lazy, and passed many summer days loafing beneath a pear tree, especially when recently hatched chicks nested above. Occasionally a fledgling would tumble to the ground, and Nobody needed to do no more than reach out with his closest paw. He would bring us the bird, squirming in his jaws, to show what a good hunter he was.

This is an endearing quality for a cat, not a newspaper.

Despite the few lights still turned on at that paper, my primary reason for picking it up is to see if it has yet changed its tagline to Making Pittsburgh Great Again.

By the way, Nobody, the film character, chose that name to replace his given one, ‘Exhaybachay,’ meaning, He who talks loud, saying nothing. As Nobody, he had a lot to say.

There are many other local publications that strive for and achieve something much greater. Many of them are ‘free’ – as in free for you and me. But they are not free; and they may have their wings clipped soon.

Please check out Public Source. If you like it, connect with them via their newsletter or social media.  Again, I have nothing to gain here. I’m singling out Public Source from various other good news outlets only because their writing has moved me to do so.

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