How the web continues to shape campus life: Temple Review

More than 20 years after the Internet and web-based technologies stormed onto college campuses, the life of a university student is still rapidly changing.

So goes the focus of another feature I did for the newly rebranded Temple University alumni magazine.

Read the story here or see the sleek new design here [PDF].

As usual, below I have some background and interview extras that I cut from the story.

Continue reading

Number of Views:10127

Online News Association national conference should come to Philadelphia: here are 10 reasons why

I have been blessed to attend the last two national Online News Association conferences, one in D.C. and last year’s in Boston.

This year, the celebrated, 13-year-old organization will host its annual event of more than 5,000 members in San Franciso to offer some geographical balance to the affair. There is some call for a Midwest event in 2013, which might make sense, but whether it’s next year or in 2014, the conference, expo and meeting of the minds of news innovation should happen in Philadelphia.

Updated: Apparently Philadelphia is booked for 2014. So, uh, 2015?

I’m part of a small group in Philadelphia lobbying for the effort, which includes a formal application process, and that application is being submitted. Still, I felt it worth sharing what appears to me to be the clear reasons why this would be an easy decision.

Here are 10 reasons:

Continue reading

Number of Views:7851

Hosting free events: why charging a small sum can add more value

The 2012 BarCamp NewsInnovation was the first to have a paid entrance -- $5 -- which lowered RSVPs and raised attendance from 2011, which likely took on a much larger casual interest from being listed on the Philly Tech Week website. *Also, 2011 and 2012 featured hackathons, which added some attendees overall. These figures do not include them. **I added this graph to this post AFTER the last BCNI.

Later this week, I’ll help organize the fourth-annual BarCamp NewsInnovation.

It will again be, in my biased opinion, among the most meaningful media un-conferences in the country. We’ll have an open news hackathon again, ProPublica social media editor Daniel Victor will talk strategy and representatives will talk shop from legacy media powerhouses and independent news startups from throughout the eastern seaboard and beyond. That rocks.

REGISTER HERE!

Beyond all that, the biggest change in format is that, for the first time, we’ll be charging $5 for admission for the day-long event, which includes breakfast, lunch, happy hour and appetizers, in addition to concepts and conversations of note.

Continue reading

Number of Views:6367

Facial detection can be blocked by changing the spatial relationship of your features: notes on event with artist Adam Harvey

Painting like this on your cheekbones is more likely to throw off facial detection technology than other methods, according to a thesis from artist Adam Harvey. Image courtesy of Harvey

Facial detection can be blocked by changing the contrast of and spatial relationship between key facial features.

So, though growing a beard might throw a casual human glance off, the growing process of computerized recognition is rarely tricked, because it focuses primarily on the T made by your eyes and the bridge of your nose. You’d be better served by painting on your cheekbones like above, a discovery that was part of a masters thesis from artist and photographer Adam Harvey. Harvey does research on tricking facial detection technology.

That discovery was among the coolest lessons I took from moderating a Q&A seminar hosted by the Academy of Natural Sciences as part of the kickoff of the Philadelphia Science Festival. Called Hiding in Plain Sight, it was also one of a number of events done in partnership with the second annual Philly Tech Week, which I’m helping to organize this week.

There were others — Harvey noted that he focuses on facial detection, instead of facial recognition, because the former has to happen first. Roughly 40 people listened, if only in part, to Harvey’s compelling presentation and his answers to questions from me and the audience, seated in a crowded Frankford Hall last Friday. The major kickoff event followed.

Continue reading

Number of Views:6046

Philly Tech Week presented by AT&T: the second annual celebration of innovation

More than 80 events celebrating technology and innovation in the Delaware Valley are taking place over the next few days as part of the second annual Philly Tech Week presented by AT&T and organized by Technically Philly.

We first introduced this second year last fall. I am enormously proud to follow the work we managed last year.

Number of Views:5869

Ph.ly: the Philly URL shortener and weekly email that will make you a better Philadelphian

Meet Ph.ly, the local URL shortener and the curated weekly email that will make you a better Philadelphian.

Try the tool and add your email here.

Last week, we at Technically Media announced that we launched Ph.ly, which has two primary features.

  1. URL shortener with a Philly focus — Try ph.ly/connect to see how domains can be shortened more beautifully and more relevantly.
  2. Weekly curated email of the three biggest pieces of local journalism — If enough people add their emails to the list, we will curate the three most meaningful pieces of local news and information to allow more Philadelphians to more easily consume the best of all the region’s content creators. It’s a hope to create a common set of facts for Philadelphians. Perhaps it’s a model for other markets.
Number of Views:48140

To develop a community, you first need a common set of facts

In journalism conversations, there is a lot of concern about the need for a public square, a place in which a community can learn and share a common set of facts.

It’s something I’ve talked about in research from the Knight Foundation. The concern of filter bubble, in which the personalization of the web allows us to only reach information that confirms our beliefs, rather than challenges it.

Nationally and in some cases statewide, there is a growing patchwork of meaningful journalism practitioners. Though lacking in many ways, there is a wealth of niche and hyperlocal news providers developing in many corners of the country.

But the hole remains in broader metro regions, where broader metro daily newspapers have been hardest hit. They were, largely, the purveyor of these common sets of facts to build broader community.

We aren’t witnessing the end of this powerful form, I believe, we are simply waiting for the transition.

Number of Views:10969

Philly Weekly cover story on Technically Media, Philly Tech Week and our roots

Proud to say that popular alt-weekly Philadelphia Weekly put a feature story about my Technically Media colleagues and I on its cover this week.

Thanks to freelancer and ReadWriteWeb scribe John Paul Titlow for the interest, PW editor Nina Hoffman for editing and young Karrisa Olsen for taking some photos. A few others are here.

Under different leadership, this is the same publication that not too long ago poked some fun at us.

Find the story here or browse the issue here.

Number of Views:5846

Connect Philly: tool to locate free wireless hotspots in Philadelphia launched by Technically Philly

Find the nearest free wireless internet hotspot in Philadelphia by using Connect Philly, a new mapping and text message tool we at Technically Philly released last week.

The tool, which can also be reached by ph.ly/connect,

The tool, which is meant to be a part of the digital access conversation, was unveiled formally with an event in City Hall, featuring Mayor Nutter and a panel discussion I moderated on improving access and literacy online for low-income Philadelphians.

Continue reading

Number of Views:33287

7 projects I started before Technically Media and why they failed

The home page of SussexToday.com, a proposed hyperlocal for Sussex County, N.J. as Patch.com was being expanded by Aol in mid-2009.

For any venture or project that reaches any remote level of success, there are surely failures that surround it.

By any standard, Technically Media is no more than a very small success, but before building that small business, I’ve had more than my fair share of failures. Being no stranger to rejection, I’ve tried my best to learn something from the handful of efforts (mostly other niche sites) that I helped launch around the beginning of 2009 in the hopes of finding a media venture of success — underemployed and without many opportunities.

Below, I share seven projects I tried launching before Technically Media, why they failed and what I learned.

Continue reading

Number of Views:5821