Fund My Media J-Lab ONA pre-conference highlights

The J-Lab Institute for Interactive Journalism held a pre-conference called ‘Fund My Media’ before the launch of the Online News Association annual conference Thursday.

Building on last year’s pre-conference before the ONA national event in San Francisco, the morning of discussions, speakers and panels were decidedly focused on keeping online editorial products alive: from foundation support, to events to other for-profit revenue. The event preceded the ONA conference held today and tomorrow.

You can watch the archived livestream of the morning’s sessions here.

Full Disclosure: In conjunction with the J-Lab Networked Journalism Collaborative project and funded by the William Penn Foundation, the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning has generously sponsored and supported my attendance here.

Yesterday’s ‘Fund My Media’ morning series of sessions were inventive and practical. Jan Schaffer and crew put together a rich, insightful, varied and fast moving event. It was a pleasure.

I shared a slew of thoughts, which I think will be updated, but here are some first thoughts for those who weren’t as fortunate to attend, and perhaps even those who have:

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Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund awards grants to Technically Philly and NEast Philly

I’m proud to say that I’ll have a small part in three of the fourteen inaugural reporting projects funded by the Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund, as announced Tuesday.

Funded by the William Penn Foundation and administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, a center of American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C, the $5,000 micro-grant awardees were based on recommendations from an April 2010 report by J-Lab.

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Technically Philly directory launches, more updates to come

Today, Technically Philly has announced its directory.

Directories are normally pretty boring. We think ours won’t be.

It’s certainly a small step, but, leveraging WordPress custom taxonomies with some incredible thinking power of Sean Blanda and plenty of sweat equity from myself and Brian James Kirk, we have launched pages for the nearly 1,000 companies and almost as many individuals we’ve covered at Technically Philly in the past two years.

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New Yorker profile of Nick Denton dives into online news profit

Earlier this month, the New Yorker had a big profile of Nick Denton, who famously launched in 2002 national blog network Gawker Media. It’s interesting, of course, for its personality, but I was drawn most to a few grafs focusing on news profitability.

Check out the profile in its entirety — or another recent big profile on him from New York Magazine — but below, find my favorite sections.

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The Social Network: thoughts and reading on the Facebook movie

I tend to watch films in move theaters when I think they’ll have a particularly significant impact, will be worth remembering years from now and, of course, when I’m lured in by the story.

The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin’s film that tells with some literary license of the meteoric first-year rise of Facebook, fit the bill.

Last week, I saw and was greatly entertained — call it a 9 out of 10, not perfect but sure close and worth the price of admission.

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Switch Philly: a roundup after the first major, paid Technically Philly event

The speakers at the first Switch Philly, held Oct. 6, 2010, from left: Deana Zelenka, Zecozi; Steve Barsh, Packlate; Geoff DiMasi, P'unk Ave; Josh Marcus, Azavea; Greg Wilder, Myna Music

As I first shared last month, we at Technically Philly last week hosted Switch Philly, a tech demo event that we hope to host with some regularity and served as our first major, paid event.

It is the first in a series of events that a big part of making TP a sustainable business.

On the night of one of the most meaningful playoff baseball games in the sport’s history, we welcomed 170 people into the historic Levitt Auditorium of Gershman Hall at University of the Arts to hear five local companies pitch their latest, greatest innovation in just seven minutes, with no PowerPoint presentations allowed — though we made an exception.

That crowd included Councilman Bill Green, Inquirer columnist Mike Armstrong, RobinHood Ventures co-founder Ellen Weber, Genacast Ventures Managing Partner Gil Beyda, Independents Hall co-founder Alex Hillman and dozens more venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, journalists community leaders and more.

It was — for a tech business demo event — fast-moving, crowded and inspiring for the continued acknowledgment of this region’s technology community. We hope to have our next in early 2011.

Below, find a roundup of the successful event, including video, media coverage and more.

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SugarHouse Casino: Thoughts from a gentrifying homeowner in the neighborhood

The back of SugarHouse Casino on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. Its restaurant and walkway offers pleasant views of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Last month, my neighborhood helped to make Philadelphia the largest city in the country with a legally-sanctioned casino.

SugarHouse Casino opened in mid-September, as scheduled.

The six-year battle to bring casinos to Philadelphia is not one I want to remark much on. If you want to hear argue for or against the existence of casinos in urban communities, you’ve come to the wrong place. Isaiah Thompson at Citypaper is downright obsessed with reporting on why casinos are in the net bad for communities.

That’s not what I’m writing here for.

By the time I bought my home in Fishtown, the neighborhood that the casino arguably resides within, SugarHouse was already coming. That argument was over with.

What was still up for debate were two issues that I did care about, if a casino was going to come to my neighborhood.

  • I wanted the casino to embrace, enhance and help develop its portion of the Delaware River waterfront, so we could start embracing this beautiful asset of ours and do so through the sensible, efficient use of commercial development.
  • I wanted table games to supplement slots machines so, in my experience, if there was going to be gambling, it might go beyond the droning, heartless slots. (Basically, I have friends who would play blackjack for a night socially; they wouldn’t dump coins in a machine).

This weekend, I enjoyed the beautiful weather by taking a leisurely stroll through the casino’s compact 45,000 square-foot innards and the compound that surrounds it. In an hour’s time, my initial reaction was that, if a casino were to come to Philadelphia and considering much of the debate and compromise that has come with it, what SugarHouse is to date isn’t so terrible.

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Sarah Palin likes Lee Ellen Pisauro

In an unexpected collision of various interests of mine, a political celebrity came across and shared the music video of a family friend.

Northwest New Jersey school teacher and mother of two Lee-Ellen Pisauro has spent a few years now sharing her experiences and emotions — particularly related to her youngest son, who has Down’s Syndrome — through music. Picking up a few gigs in local bars, then national awareness walks, working with friends to produce a CD and, most recently, sharing a music video for a particularly personal song.

We’re not sure how just yet, but somehow that video came within ear shot of former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who shared it with her followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Then Politico went and picked that up.

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