Why this reporter agreed to be in a digital divide ad campaign


KEYSPOT is the branded network of computer literacy centers in Philadelphia, including city-backed rec centers, Free Library branches and private nonprofit efforts.

Since their federal stimulus-backed launch in 2011, we at Technically Philly have reported on the effort, including the impact, small numbers and celebrated successes. That’s presumably why I was asked to be one of a handful of people included in a public awareness advertising campaign — which also included rapper Freeway and has run on a few outdoor billboards, on SEPTA subway cars and in some train stations.

I’ve had a few questions privately and publicly about the appropriateness of a reporter/editor to be involved in such a campaign, so I thought it was worth sharing my logic.

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Number of Views:1538

5 Instagram photos from Philly Tech Week 2013

The third annual Philly Tech Week was the largest yet, and its impact was clear.

Rather than recite the more than 80 events and 150 partners, I thought I’d share a few Instagram photos I saw that helped me feel the week was growing and proud about my involvement. That’s mostly because the photos were taken by people I didn’t know.

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Number of Views:532

Intern syndrome


When you worked under someone who will never be able to see as you as anything more than subordinate: intern syndrome.

Like many industries facing a disruption, experienced leaders that have earned their leadership through seniority rightly question a newer, younger cohort that asks a lot of questions and experiments with process. I think that’s partly the reason for sometimes uneasy relationships I’ve had with more veteran colleagues of mine.

(Read: our struggle at Technically Philly to establish any meaningful content partnerships, our decision to expand to other markets and, sure, the fact that BarCamp NewsInnovation will often have more people from other cities than the Philly daily papers).

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Number of Views:6096

Campaign opposition research is a type of investigative journalism


What we have lost in investigative reporting units at news organization in the last two decades will be at least partially replaced by mission-orientated groups that can find other value for doing such work.

Foundations, think tanks and mission-minded nonprofits may be the more ethically normalized groups, but in elections and government, the idea of campaign opposition research will almost surely come to wider prominence. The idea that a campaign would hire investigators, lawyers or others to dig up shortcomings on political rivals is not new at all, but we’ll hear more about this.

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Number of Views:22184

Photos, video and social media at events are our newest form of applause

A photo of the crowd at an All American Rejects concert at Xfinity Live in September 2012.

A photo of the crowd at an All American Rejects concert at Xfinity Live in September 2012.

Creating media continues to become easier and more varied every day. Humans are the only species to develop the practice of recording history.

So whenever we are in a moment we regard as a distinguished experience — travel, first-time moments, extraordinary circumstances — we are bound to have this motivation to record that history as best we can.

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Number of Views:8399

5 things I told a classroom full of journalism students yesterday


There are at least five big things I’ve learned about reporting for a living over the past few years since graduating college and some stories to back it up.

That amounted to my half hour talk and Q&A period with a classroom of students at my alma mater Temple University in the capstone on Monday. I called myself the ghost of the near future — having graduated in 2008.

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Attract and retain new young, educated people but keep our cities distinctive [Knight Milennials]


Cities want to attract and retain young educated talent to fuel their knowledge economies, drive a tax base and create a community that can continue to grow by welcoming more new people in the future. Modern markets are insatiable and indefinitely incomplete.

That’s the clearest, simplest mission I can glean from all the chirping about celebrating gains Philadelphia has made in its old brain drain problem.

But last week at a Knight Foundation session with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, I wanted to push that thinking forward in two ways that I don’t think I hear often enough in that conversation: (a) the idea that too much change can in effect take away what is distinctive about a city and (b) that any real success would improve the lives of existing Philadelphians too, not just push them out like in other cities.

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Number of Views:7964

Categories are themes and tags are topics: WordPress users

Word cloud of terms used on this site, as of March 1, 2013, using

Word cloud of terms used on this site, as of March 1, 2013, using

WordPress, among the most popular web content management systems in the world, offers users an out-of-the-box solution to organize content in two ways: tags and categories. To better understand those words, I’ve taken to referring to tags as the topics of the site and calling categories the themes of the site.

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Number of Views:6952

Publishing is no longer the end of the reporting cycle, it is the middle

Even new views of data-driven journalism too often sees the release of coverage to be the end of the reporting process. Where is the action?

Even new views of data-driven journalism too often sees the release of coverage to be the end of the reporting process. Where is the action?

It was onceĀ  that in the reporting process, publishing a story was once the end.

Get an idea, find a source, develop a story, write and edit, then publish and hope the impact comes from elsewhere. Wrap advertising around the printed product and move on to the next issue.

No longer. News organizations have a responsibility for action to make their communities better. The tools and opportunities and methods for transparency are too rich. The need is too grave.

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Number of Views:11335