My 2011 Professional Resolutions

Yes, I’m doing a resolutions post. If for no other reason than to hold myself accountable.

Looking at last year’s professional goals, which were much more about staying afloat financially, I think this year, the theme is laying the foundation of sustainability to grow a business and opportunities at journalism and the like.

I broke them out more specifically by month, as I did for last year’s personal resolutions:

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Rosemary Feal, Modern Language Association, Metro Q&A: Stories that never ran

A year ago, I did a short interview with Rosemary Feal, then the Executive Director of the Modern Language Association, ahead of the group’s annual conference in Philadelphia.

The interview was due to run in the Metro but never did. With a year passed and its hook gone, I run it here for all you grammar geeks because there just might be interest in hearing the thoughts of someone who told me: “I also love the semicolon, but that’s just my personal preference.”

Find what I submitted below.

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Story Shuffle 4: SNOW audio is live

Earlier this month, my friend Brian James Kirk hosted the fourth Story Shuffle, with a theme of SNOW.

Now, the audio from all 11 stories are up. Listen to mine here or find the others here.

My story was on attending a local high school basketball game where I grew up as an excited middle schooler. As a promise to myself, I prepared notes for my story the first time. I was interested to see if I felt it improved my storytelling, which was ultimately my goal in starting the event series.

So, I dashed down 10 bullet points a few hours before the event, gave it a once over and took to telling the story fresh and un-aided later.

One thing I learned in the ‘research’ phase was that the high school gymnasium of my childhood is named for a former coach and ‘the father of wrestling in New Jersey.’

In addition to the RSS feed, you can follow Story Shuffle on Twitter and Facebook.

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The exotic nature of local: or why generic foreign gifts suck

On Christmas Eve, why not discuss gifts.

For, what, the past few hundred years, the more far-flung and exotic the purchase or discovery, the better. Those emotions are mixed up into colonialism and exploration and Manifest Destiny and so many human and American spirits that I don’t care to explore them.

But I think there’s something changing there.

In 2005, I spent a small fortune in the local currency on hand-crafted wood carvings and jewelry from new friends and acquaintances in a Ghanian mountain village, all to be given to friends and family at home. I was back home for no more than two weeks before I showed off a necklace I was particularly fond of and someone remarked how similar it was to something she had seen at Target.

Oh.

I was brought back to this thought and what it means by a great last-page essay in the strong Philadelphia sustainability magazine Grid.

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William Penn Foundation three-year $2.4 million investment in Philly journalism

The William Penn Foundation board of directors has pledged a three-year $2.4 million grant to Temple University to incubate “a new organization designed to strengthen our region’s capacity for professionally-produced public interest journalism,” as described by strategic consultant Michael Greenle.

“This will fund journalism, support other outlets and find and cover gaps in coverage,” said Greenle in a small meeting of stakeholders yesterday. It may likely take at least a year for real momentum to happen here. Various matching grant efforts are expected to boost that overall total, in addition to future revenue plans, Greenle said.

In 2011, the grant would create a collaborative Center for Public Interest Journalism housed at Temple, which would serve three main functions:

  1. ‘One Stop Shopping’ — Centralized resources from Temple that could benefit public affairs journalism in the region (like MPIP, the computer science program, the journalism program) to be offered to partners in some way.
  2. Incubate Collaboration — This center will incubate a collaborative effort that will take a more active role in public affairs journalism that could very well look like this or portions of this. Or not. That’s to be left up to senior staff, as explained below.
  3. Host Events — Create a broader dialogue among journalists by housing the existing Phiji series and, as I thought, perhaps involving the BarCamp NewsInnovation event we and Technically Philly have put hosted at Temple.

The foundation’s interest in this space was first addressed publicly here after a stakeholders meeting last January. Greenle’s recommendations and work with the foundation follows previous research from the JLab institute announced in April. This project is influenced by proposals set forth by my colleagues and me at Technically Philly.

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Foundations should require public art displays, rehearsals and performances

The movement is already afoot, put on most prominent display by the Knight Foundation’s Random Acts of Culture, but I crave more.

Last Wednesday, I was waiting to meet someone in the food court beneath the giant Comcast Center in Center City Philadelphia. Then people started singing, as you can sort of make out in the above photo. Turns out it was a new performance by the Opera Company of Philadelphia. It was cool, not only watching the rehearsal, but all of the people stop and watch the rehearsal.

But here’s where I think it gets fun.

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The word ‘peace’ was last published more than the word ‘war’ in 1743, shows Google Books

Google Books released an incredibly interesting time-waster research tool that can graph the use of any word in six language since 1500 from some 500 million digitized books, as I reported this morning for Technically Philly.

While, as showed there, lots of interesting Philadelphia-related graphs exist, I admit that even more broad conversation-worthy displays exist. (Find the tool here)

They show things like: We haven’t written more about ‘peace’ than ‘war’ since 1743.

Other interesting graphs:

What have you found?

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Business Insider mention of Technically Philly

Early last month, a contributor to the Business Insider dropped the Technically Phillly name and some other references to the Philadelphia online indie media scene:

Hyper-local advertising and content. Speaking of my home base of Philadelphia, the hyper-local eco-system here features sites of every make and model. Examples: PhillySportsDaily.com leaves local sports radio 610WIP.com & 950TheFan in the dust with its 24/7 online sports coverage & analysis. Gawker-influenced; Philebrity.com, probably assisted in the decline of our once great alt-weekly: City Paper. Smart and dominant technology coverage of ‘Philacon Valley’ by the young team at TechnicallyPhilly.com certainly must embarrass the top brass at the legendary Philadelphia Business Journal. And if you taste-test the foodie editorial of JerseyBites.com, it’s easy to imagine this content eventually being licensed or sold to The Food Network or Fodors. MORE

Thanks Mel.

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If I had unlimited money to invest in growing Philadelphia journalism

Smart people are making calculated investments in Philadelphia’s journalism community.

It’s clearly something about which I am passionate and devoted. It’s also something I put a lot of thought into. This weekend, I found myself returning to a thought process of the past, just free associating everything I would invest in if money was no object toward growing Philadelphia journalism.

Of course, money is a big object, but the brainstorm can help. I share my thoughts below and would love to hear what I am missing or what I seem to be paying too much attention to.

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Examiner.com interview on work with Technically Philly

I was interviewed for the local vertical of Examiner.com by local marketing specialist Megan Smith.

When my firm signed new client Tek Lado – a bilingual, technology and pop culture magazine – we suddenly had to immerse ourselves in Philadelphia’s tech scene. And word on the street was that Technically Philly was one of the key places to start. I began reading the site daily, learning more about “the trends, the news and the people that affect, and the events that include, Philadelphia’s growing technology community.” In the process, I may or may not have stalked Technically Philly’s co-founder Christopher Wink to learn a little more… MORE

Read the full interview here.

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