JLab Enterprise Reporting Fund: Abandoned City and Broadband2035

Two more collaborative Philadelphia reporting projects in which I was involved have finished recently.

Part of the JLab-funded Enterprise Reporting Fund that paid for the NEast Philly District 172 project I shared recently, Abandoned City was a partnership between Technically Philly, PlanPhilly and CityPaper and Broadband2035 was a partnership between Technically Philly and PlanPhilly.

While I was involved with some strategy, reporting, introductions, planning and, for Broadband2035, I led the relationship with the city’s Planning Commission (more on that below), my colleague Brian James Kirk really led our roles in these two initiatives.

Abandoned City, depicted above was an investigation of vacant property in Philadelphia and its impact on communities.

  • CityPaper led the reporting and devoted a cover story and other print space for reporting
  • PlanPhilly offered additional reporting, editing and the web platform
  • Technically Philly initiated the partnership and worked with a developer to visualize and map those findings.

Broadband2035, which is ongoing, investigated the impact access to affordable broadband has on low-income communities

  • PlanPhilly offered reporting, editing and guidance
  • Technically Philly led the reporting, worked with the city’s Planning Commission to incorporate broadband plans into its comprehensive Philadelphia2035 vision and hosted the series page.
Number of Views:3655

White House Urban Entrepreneurship Forum: speaking on public-private partnerships

White House Urban Entrepreneurship forum Better Together panel, featuring (from left) moderator Kathleen Warner from Startup America; Doug Rand from the White House Office of Science and Technoogy; Sherryl Kulman from the Wharton Program for Social Impact; Prof. Youngjin Yoo from Temple University's Fox School of Business; Jane Vincent from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Dept and, behind the camera, me.

One of seven White House Urban Entrepreneurship forums across the country was hosted at Temple University in Philadelphia Monday, and, in addition to Technically Philly being a media sponsor, I served on one of a dozen panels.

Find the Livestream and Technically Philly coverage of Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s address here.

I was on a panel called “Better Together: Public-Private Partnerships to Accelerate Urban Entrepreneurship and Startups.”

Unfortunately, our time was truncated due to a late start, so I spoke briefly once and answered one question.

I spoke about Technically Philly involving itself in connecting startups and entrepreneurs with the city, by way of Philly Tech Week, the Open Data Philly initiative and further fostering collaboration in various corners of the region’s technology community.

White House officials are holding these forums, from Newark to New Orleans, to connect and discuss ideas with local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Philadelphia’s forum coincided with a meaningful minority business event. The forum was co-hosted by the White House, The Office of Mayor Nutter, U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, Labor, Treasury, Education, and several federal, state, and local agencies.

Number of Views:17258

Selling Out: why some acquisitions are good and others are bad for Philadelphia business

Remember: I am an individual who is a technology reporter. These are my opinions and should not reflect those of my company Technically Media, nor its technology news site Technically Philly.

Online auction giant eBay bought for $2.4 billion King of Prussia-based e-commerce powerhouse GSI Commerce in March, and I spoke briefly about the deal on WHYY.

As NewsWorks reported, there was immediate concern about the loss of local jobs through contraction and restructuring. In my conversation, I pushed on the notion that there is important value for the region’s perception as a technology hub to have significant exits to point to.

This acquisition, I suggested, can be seen as a good thing.

In doing so, I raised the ire of Old City coworking space Independents Hall co-founder Alex Hillman, who told me he felt strongly that growing companies in Philadelphia was a lot more important than selling out to bigger players elsewhere.

This post is going to argue that we’re both right.

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Number of Views:14589

Temple Review: why big companies still lead innovation and how that’s changing

How large technology companies still lead innovation in the world is the focus of a freelance story I wrote for Temple Review, the alumni magazine of Temple University.

Read the story here or download the PDF here, on page 24.

An earlier nut graf: Innovation has been seen as strictly in the purview of tiny, agile startups, taking an idea and bringing it to market. But as the speed of new technologies continues to quicken, the need for large businesses to help bring products to market becomes even greater. So big corporations are not only playing a remarkably underplayed role in innovation, they are also innovating in how they change the world altogether.

Give it a read and then check some of the extras from my interviews that didn’t make it into the piece.

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Number of Views:5540

Clay Shirky: “News has to be subsidized, and it has to be cheap, and it has to be free”

Academic Clay Shirky tossed down another great post ahead of an undergraduate course he’s teaching at NYU. In the end, he calls for more chaos — more competitive approaches to creating meaning news for citizens, beyond news for consumers.

You ought to read the whole piece, but here are a couple of my favorite parts:

This system was never ideal—out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made—and long before Craig Newmark and Arianna Huffington began their reign of terror, Gannett and Scripps were pioneering debt-laden balance sheets, highly paid executives, and short-term profit-chasing. But even in their worst days, newspapers supported the minority of journalists reporting actual news, for the minority of citizens who cared. In return, the people who followed sports or celebrities, or clipped recipes and coupons, got to live in a town where the City Council was marginally less likely to be corrupt.

“There are only three things I’m sure of: News has to be subsidized, and it has to be cheap, and it has to be free.”

If we adopt the radical view that what seems to be happening is actually happening, then a crisis in reporting isn’t something that might take place in the future. A 30% reduction in newsroom staff, with more to come, means this is the crisis, right now. Any way of creating news that gets cost below income, however odd, is a good way, and any way that doesn’t, however hallowed, is bad.

Number of Views:3190
District172-wide

District 172: John Perzel coverage for NEast Philly, funded by JLab

 

Though I took part in three of 14 JLab-funded Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund projects, first announced here last fall, I led one of them.

For Northeast Philadelphia hyperlocal NEast Philly, I helped lead the editorial direction of a project called District 172: the politics of change after state Rep. John Perzel.

Following the indicted former state Speaker of the House, whose corruption trial has been postponed until the fall, we covered what the impact the loss of a 30-year state leader would be on his district, particularly a small swath that had served as his political base.

 

Find all the coverage here.

I had the following roles:

Number of Views:3337

News Frontier Database from Columbia Journalism Review: Technically Philly and NEast Philly included

The Columbia Journalism Review launched this year its News Frontier Database, meant to be a curated directory of independent online news organizations, included the two niche sites on which I collaborate.

See the entire News Frontier Database here.

Technically Philly was an early listing, having been contacted by CJR in March and launching in early May. See that listing here.

Northeast Philly hyperlocal NEast Philly was recently added too. See that page here.

Including those two, there are just four Pennsylvania sites listed, all from Philadelphia, including also PlanPhilly, with which Technically Media is now doing some work, and another FactCheck.

Number of Views:3230

Tweroid: When is the best time to be tweeting?

I tried out the Tweroid service. [Updated: I also tried the service for @TechnicallyPHL]

The value proposition is to sign in, wait an hour or so, get an assessment of when your followers are most active online. The ask might be to then starting tweeting at those times to have the biggest impact.

So, according to this, for maximum audience, I should be tweeting at noon and in the 4pm hour on weekdays

I’m left wondering if that’s the value of social media — directing your gaze to the biggest crowd, or if it should be more spontaneously. As metrics can continue to deploy

Number of Views:4622

Steps to incorporate a business in Philadelphia (or elsewhere)

Last month, I described the process of dissolving the Technically Media general partnership, so I wanted to close the loop by quickly sharing our process for incorporation.

Mostly, this was a lesson in paying for a lawyer — doing it (mostly) right is worth paying. But I also wanted to share a few lessons I learned and some resources I used.

Why we decided to incorporate: (a) I expressed concern that as a new homeowner, I wanted greater protection from liability for our work (like liable or breach of contract concerns), and, as an added benefit, (b) we wanted to be W2 employees of our company, for the credit value of guaranteed payments. Moving forward, we also recognized (c) the benefit for the possibility of hiring employees.

Find the steps and resources below.

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Number of Views:7031

Technically Philly team photos by Neal Santos

Technically Media co-founders Sean Blanda, Brian James and Christopher Wink. Photo by Neal Santos

All photos by Neal Santos while preparing for a Technically Philly Technology Leaders Breakfast photo shoot back in March.

See the other team photos here. Below is one of the photos from the next morning’s leaders breakfast, which

Number of Views:9163