Ashad Hajela

Ashad Hajela covers rural affairs for Spotlight PA, a collaborative nonprofit newsroom that reports stories across Pennsylvania. Prior to this, Hajela was a Stabile Investigative Fellow at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he investigated how parolees’ complaints are handled by the New York corrections system. Hajela started his career at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, covering protests following George Floyd’s killing, and the pandemic’s impact on jails and prisons. His reporting on Raleigh’s high-crime motels earned a top award from the North Carolina Press Association. Hajela also speaks Hindi and Spanish, and when he’s not working you’ll find him out trying new restaurants or taking dance classes.

Spotlight PA

Spotlight PA launched in 2019 and is now the largest newsroom dedicated to covering the state government and statewide issues in Pennsylvania. Focusing on investigative reporting, Spotlight PA, a nonprofit, delivers public service journalism at no cost to 77 newsroom partners throughout the state—a network that reaches 35 million people per month. Its journalism is changing the status quo in Harrisburg, the state capital, and driving meaningful policy change across the fifth-largest state in the country.