Welcome to the Capital-Star 2.0

New editor, same commitment to honest journalism for Pennsylvania

August 1, 2023 6:00 am
Pennsylvania Capitol Building. May 24, 2022. Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star).

Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

So I’m not exactly new around here, but I’ll be taking on a new role and thought it was time to formally introduce myself.

I’ve covered Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania on and off for the Capital-Star pretty much since its inception, so I know what a great team founding editor John Micek built here. He leaves large shoes to fill, but I’m honored to have the opportunity to give it a try.

Like most journalists I’d prefer not to make myself the story, but if you’ll indulge me, I’ll share a bit about my overall philosophy about news: Journalism is a public service.

The media business typically puts an inordinate emphasis on page views, social media reach, click-through rates, and similar metrics, and I admit getting caught up in some of that thinking in the past. And yes, those things are not totally unimportant. But if we’re not informing you, the public, helping you to understand how what your elected officials are doing affects you day-to-day — even if that means referring readers to someone else’s work— then we’re not really doing our jobs.

Of course I want our team to get scoops, and to develop deeply-reported stories and investigations, but I also want us to partner with other news outlets, not just to share content, but to team up on story projects that will serve our audiences. We can compete at the same time we collaborate and coexist. The media landscape in Pennsylvania has changed dramatically in just the past few years, but my hope is that the wreckage of the failed news models of the past will eventually create room for more new voices and innovation.

We know Pennsylvania is going to factor heavily into the 2024 election cycle; Sen. Bob Casey is seeking another term, and President Joe Biden has visited Philadelphia alone six times this year already. But the Capital-Star team is going to avoid getting caught up in the horse-race coverage of politics that many national news outlets — who parachute in and get a small glimpse of Pennsylvania every four years or so — can’t help but run. We won’t just tell you what happened, we’ll tell you what it means for you, and what the larger context is for the commonwealth.

I also want to add to the voices that appear in the Capital-Star, to include contributors from all corners of the state, with varied lived experiences and perspectives. Ideally, this will feel like a two-way conversation with our readers. And I want to spotlight the hard work from our stellar team of journalists: Cassie Miller, Marley Parish and Peter Hall whom I feel lucky to work alongside, and will lean on as I learn my way around Harrisburg. I’m coming from the western end of the state (and I’ll always root for the Penguins), but as I settle in at the capital I’ll strive to make our coverage as inclusive and wide-ranging as possible.

Since the Morning Coffee has been associated with John for many years, we decided it was time to retire the name and brew something fresh. Calling it the Yinz Jawn Newsletter felt a little like pandering, plus, Pennsylvania is much more than its two largest cities. The “star” in our name has always suggested —to me, at least— that this news outlet is a kind of beacon, a north star that guides the way for our readers. We’ll strive to make the Morning Guide an indispensable part of your busy day, getting you up to speed quickly with what you need to know.

I hope you’ll join us.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications.