Philly Tech Week: introducing event series growing innovation impact

PHILADELPHIA — Regional technology news site Technically Philly has announced today that it is organizing the first ever Philly Tech Week to be held across the Philadelphia area April 25-30, 2011.

Philly Tech Week will be a week-long celebration of technology and innovation in Philadelphia. The annual week of events is intended to grow the impact of this innovative region through programming focused on technology, collaboration and improving Philadelphia

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How do I choose a payroll services company for my business

When I am unsure about something, I tend to over-indulge in the research.

So, when my two colleagues and I decided that, despite our size, we thought it was worth the cost of hiring a payroll services company to withhold taxes for Technically Media from the very start, I knew I’d be indulging.

In the end, we went with a Center City Philadelphia representative from payroll services giant Paychex.

Let me tell you a bit about the process, in case you have a small business that might want to outsource that work as we have.

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Why Journalism should be like the catering business

I was inside Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia’s beloved, 70-year-old artisan cheese shop and gourmet delicatessen, when something very apparent sunk in for me.

They’ll sell me a block of Manchego sheep’s milk cheese for $5, or bratwurst or beef from the region for a few dollars a pound. It’s profitable and prominent.

But I’d bet Di Bruno Bros. makes a lot more money per minute of staff effort on its catering business than any retail experience it could create. Rather than having one person buying one block of cheese, any successful retail operation wants to use its economies of scale to up production and get more revenue for its effort by servicing tens or hundreds of people at the same time.

If you have a news site, then what is the back-end service that is really going to make the money needed to fund journalism?

That is a long-held foundation of retail service that journalism should take a lesson from. (And it’s just one more lesson we should be learning from other low-yield businesses).

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Universities should host the newsrooms of their neighborhoods

Universities should host the newsrooms of their neighborhoods, towns and counties. If a university has a journalism department, college media and audience, this seems like a foregone conclusion.

Picture Temple University. It is a big, diverse, robust, public research university with a clutch of respected professional schools and an expansive undergraduate population that has been slowly and controversially expanding into at least four different, distinct, overwhelmingly black neighborhoods around it.

When you drive south on I-95 east of Philadelphia at night, look off to your right while only the tallest skyscrapers are yet in view a few miles in the distance, the blur of bright lights made of a dozen square blocks and a cluster of high-rise buildings among a swath of stout two story row homes is the university’s main campus.

Halfway between those stadium lights and Philadelphia’s iconic City Hall is another beacon of light, that old White Lady, 400 North Broad Street, the legendary location of the Philadelphia Inquirer and its sister paper the Daily News.

Mood lighting isn’t the only lesson Temple should take from the investigators of the Inquirer.

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Philadelphia Republican Party: a new home for my senior thesis

Back in July 2008, I finally got around to updating a WordPress.com I had been using to track the work I was doing on my undergraduate honors thesis researching the future of the beleaguered Philadelphia Republican Party.

Two and a half years later, in looking to get a jump start on a 2011 resolution of ordering my online presence, I have abandoned the WordPress.com and brought that blog, its research and my final research paper to a subdomain here.

THESIS.christopherwink.com

I won’t be updating it. Rather, I just wanted a more stable, professional and suitable location to some dated work of which I am still proud and, believe it or not, I still get emails from people closer to what I covered than I certainly am.

Give it a look (perhaps most specifically the research paper from May 2008) and let me know what you think.

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Constitution Daily: the best of the National Constitution Center blog

This month, in announcing my new full-time role with Technically Media Inc., I briefly noted that we had launched Constitution Daily, a new blog platform for the National Constitution Center.

A move of that magnitude, I think, deserves a bit more detail.

Last January at the prestigious Union League after speaking on a panel about the future of journalism, I met and started a dialogue with David Eisner, the new CEO of the National Constitution Center, an innovative museum and event space devoted to the U.S. Constitution that is based in Philadelphia.

By May, we agreed that NCC needed to toe into the waters of content to grow its own audience who could become supporters, donors and visitors. In June, we started that work with an asset analysis and creating work flow and a platform direction.

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Overwhelmed or underwhelmed: you’re probably going to be one, so choose

A friend mentioned to me that, in the end, he’d rather live his life being underwhelmed, rather than always feeling overwhelmed.

For him, he says he enjoys his life best when he avoids stress and appreciates simple pleasures. For me, he said, I’d rather take on some stress to accomplish something I believe has impact.

Which makes sense: humans aren’t particularly good at striking balance, so we move to one extreme or the other. So which would you rather?: to be underwhelmed or overwhelmed.

As in most cases, there’s value in both. It’s just important to know which you’d rather, so as not to find yourself in a life short of your goals.

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How to be a freelance journalist: real advice from another young, unknown journalist on freelancing

I am not going back to freelancing.

Last month, I came on full-time with Technically Media, a company I helped launch and produces Technically Philly.

Still, going back on my own, in some form, has returned me to thinking about and combing through some of the advice I collected in 2009, during my year freelancing.

Too many of those perspectives and resources seemed valuable to not share.

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Focus: my goal for 2011; Growth: my experience in 2010

About a year ago, in December 2009, I was sitting in my living room with two friends.

I had no heat, two plastic chairs and a coffee table. I was chasing down the last of that year’s freelancing invoices to make about $16,000.

I was certainly still privileged for an endless list of reasons, but, to put it shortly, for a lot of reasons, 2009 was a miserable year for me. The three of us all had disappointing years. We all agreed that 2010 was going to better. Much, much better.

What I did do last year was reflect on 2009 and decided upon a theme: slow start.

I haven’t paid it much mind until now, but I think that’s a great task, summing up a year and trying to move in the direction of another for the following year. In that post, I suggested 2010 would have to be a year of ‘next steps.’

Basically, I need a thousand flowers to bloom so I could see which one I wanted to pick.

As expected, 2010 was a much, much better year. It was a year of tremendous growth for me, and, yes, next steps, as I’ll reflect upon below.

But now, with all of this growth, it is time to pick. Fitting the professional goals and the personal resolutions I’ve set, my theme or my overarching goal for 2011 is focus.

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My 10 Most trafficked posts of 2010

You can learn a lot by looking at what you’ve done over a year.

So, while I try to get better at making goals and sticking to them, I have an eye to my work here, because this has always been a place for experimentation and learning, where I develop my thoughts, my writing and my style.

So, like I did last year and the year before, I’ve looked at the 15 most trafficked posts I’ve written here.

Looking at the list I think there are two specific lessons to be learned:

  • Original Reporting rocks — It’s just what I saw in Technically Philly’s roundup of top stories. In this list of 10, seven featured first-issue original reporting, two offered insider commentary and one offered a strong opinion. No aggregation, summaries or general perspective made it to the list, though I do all those kinds of posts too and those kind of posts dominated my 2008 list and had more influence on my 2009 list.
  • Time matters — This site gets a relatively low-level of traffic (the top post on this list received fewer than 500 hits this year), so the sheer amount of time a post is up is magnified. With bigger traffic sites, the first week of traffic can largely overcome a long tail. However in my case, just one of the 10 posts was created in the last four months, and I don’t think that’s due to lack of relatively meaningful content. So, with lower traffic sites, the longer a post is up has a greater impact on its overall traffic than with higher traffic sites.

That said, here are the posts. Draw your own conclusions:

10. Newsworks: WHYY online news brand launching means a lot to these legacies — Nov. 22

Find the other nine below.

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