About the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism

Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, or PINJ, exists to provide coverage of the issues that directly affect our local communities and the people who live, work and go to school in them. Our journalists will strive to provide a particular focus on the inequities in our systems and attempt to give voice to those whose voices are not being heard and to shine light into systems that are currently opaque.

We hope to be able to fill some of the gaps in local news coverage created by shrinking news staffs at area media outlets that rely on advertising revenue with both longform and more immediate stories.

PINJ is made possible by a partnership with our fiscal sponsor The Alternative News Foundation.

Visit our Board of Directors here.

Advocating for accommodations has been a constant, but largely quiet, struggle for college students with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990.

Read our first series, Leveling the Playing Field, here.

The PINJ Team

Jody DiPerna

Book Editor, Contributing Writer

Jody DiPerna is an award winning journalist who has been chronicling life, history and literature in Western Pennsylvania for more than 15 years. She was a senior writer for the Pittsburgh Current and has written for Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the Pittsburgh Quarterly, as well as several national outlets.

Email: leftfielddiperna@gmail.com

Brittany Hailer

Director, Contributing Writer

Brittany Hailer is the Visiting Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh. Her memoir and poetry collection “Animal You’ll Surely Become” was published by Tolsun Books in 2018.

In 2020, she received a Golden Quill Award from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for an essay she wrote about her experience investigating the opioid crisis while her father struggled with homelessness and alcoholism.

For her stories of people affected by the opioid epidemic, she received a 2019 Golden Quill Award from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania and a Robert L. Vann Award of Excellence for investigative/enterprise reporting from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation.

In 2018, Brittany was selected to be a Justice Reporting Fellow as part of the John Jay/Langeloth Foundation Fellowship on “Reinventing Solitary Confinement” and again in 2020 for “Justice and the Pandemic.” Since then, she has investigated how the pandemic has impacted the Allegheny County Jail, including the jail’s kitchen, its COVID-19 mitigation efforts and isolation of the sick, and the deaths of those incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail.

Email: Bhailer08@gmail.com

Mary Niederberger

Editor, Contributing Writer

Mary Niederberger is a long-time Pittsburgh area journalist with more than three decades of news experience, much of it at daily news organizations. She was previously a suburban, general assignment and education reporter at the former Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and later worked as an education reporter at PublicSource and Pittsburgh Current. She has won multiple Golden Quills Awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for her education coverage as well as awards from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and the SPJ Keystone Spotlight contest. Niederberger has twice been awarded fellowships from the Education Writers Association for projects on funding inequities among Pennsylvania’s school districts and documenting the struggles of college students with disabilities.

Email: niederbergerme@gmail.com