Leaving Back on My Feet as Media Director: what I’ve done in a year

An emblematic photo of a portion of my work with Back on My Feet, as taken early in the morning of the second day of the third annual Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20in24 race event, having coordinated an intervivew of Philadelphia chapter Executive Director Sera Snyder and Fox 29. For the 20in24, every major outlet in the region covered the event.

I am leaving my role as Media Director for Back on My Feet, the running-based program to combat homelessness.

I tendered my resignation last Thursday, Nov. 11 and our staff was alerted Monday. My last day will be Friday, Dec. 3, so I’ve offered a full three weeks to help the transition process at an organization with a mission that has come to mean a great deal to me since joining in January.

I’ll be sharing in greater detail here what exactly I will be doing, but, in short, I am taking a full-time opportunity with the media company I helped launch by way of starting in February 2009 technology news site Technically Philly.

Yes, things have been going well there since.

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‘Net neutrality’ future is about authority: Speaking at Philly NetSquared

Politics of the Social Web Philadelphia NetSquared panel on Wed. Nov. 10, 2010, including, from left: Rachel Colyer, Organizing and Communications Manager of the Media and Democracy Coalition; Bryan Mercer of the Media Mobilizing Project; Susan Gasson, Associate Professor of the iSchool at Drexel, and myself, representing Technically Philly. The event was live streamed, from which this screen shot was taken. About 20 people were in attendance at the American Friends Service Center.

Understanding the difference between the theoretical concept’s debate and the more practical policy conversation over authority is key to furthering the conversation on so-called ‘net neutrality.’

That was the central-most, on-going theme of my remarks on a panel that focused on the growing conversation about requiring, among other things, internet service providers to maintain equal access and speed to all portions of the internet.

My remarks came as one-fourth of a panel titled “Political Issues of the Social Web: Nurturing or strangling social web opportunities” and hosted byPhiladelphia NetSquared, a group that, as it describes itself, “gathers together nonprofits and activists, tech leaders and funders, and everyone who’s interested in using technology for social change.” Because its members include many nonprofit leaders, my role with Back on My Feet was noted, but my perspective was much more influenced by my Comcast coverage for Technically Philly.

The panel discussion, held last Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 at the American Friends Service Center at 15th and Cherry streets in Center City Philadelphia, was part of Net Tuesdays, a free monthly event series from Philly NetSquared.

Though a discussion on the ‘Political Issues of the Social Web’ could have any number of directions — including, but certainly not limited to, the federal broadband stimulus initiatives and universal access broadband policy and a very powerful conversation about the meaning the social web has to democracy and revolution — our conversation, with some variation, focused more tightly on the very timely conversation on net neutrality.

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Digital camera: choosing a multimedia device for a nonprofit content creator

After my first asset analysis joining Back on My Feet in January, it was beyond the pale of question that we needed a camera that could get our organization content — photos and video — up and moving quickly.

I was looking for a camera that was the following:

  • More durable than the personal camera I had, enjoyed but kept having it fail on me
  • Better lens for clearer video zoom and photo quality
  • No more than $500 and preferably nearer to $200

Upon some research and inquiries, I recommended we spend more than $300 on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20. Complimentary CNet review here.

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How to draft a media kit: lessons from Technically Philly

Almost two years ago, we at Technically Philly first launched our media kit.

We followed it up with advertising packages, which I think are more important once your product is a recognized brand in a community, but a media kit is important still.

After fielding a few questions of late from those interested in what is necessary to get started, I thought I’d answer here.

First, don’t forget: a media kit is meant to quickly, effectively inform and attract interested buyers into a media property, particularly one they may not know well.

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Patch is about as evil as Starbucks (and that’s less than you might want to believe)

Is Patch evil?

That was the wildly well-remembered question asked by Robert Hernandez at a lunch keynote panel during the Online News Association conference, which I was able to attend. Hernandez was asking Aol CEO Tim Armstrong, whose company owns hyperlocal news and information platform Patch and who was on stage with NPR President Vivian Schiller.

I’d say the answer is simple: it’s not.

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Rally for Sanity from Jon Stewart was long in ideas but maybe short in practice

Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

I was in Washington D.C. on Saturday when the Rally for Sanity, put on by the crew at the satirical Daily Show, which is already been billed as the Woodstock for my generation.

I didn’t really see or hear much,  as there were some big audio problems and, well, maybe as many as 215,000 people were there. But I suppose that won’t much matter.

I was there, or near there, specifically, and, of course, there in the broader sense of being 24 at a time when people my age were trying to do something.

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Online News Association conference 2010: OK, now let’s work together

Online journalism has seen advances editorially, technologically and, more recently and perhaps more importantly, in sustainability, but the industry has yet to efficiently mature its methods of replication, according to my experience last week at the 2010 Online Journalism Association conference.

In spring 2009, major conversations were still focusing on what direction anyone should be headed, as the inaugural BarCamp seemed to suggest, and by last spring, the BarCamp conversation had grown enough to have presenters narrowing onto funding. Last fall, Jeff Jarvis held the Hypercamp conference at CUNY which largely focused on business models for niche sites, and, at the beginning of the year, the William Penn Foundation was focused on create an editorial investment in local Philadelphia public affairs news.

ONA 2010, in Washington D.C., showed another march in the broad conversation of those interested in the future of news, seeming to correlate a connective maturation in those three issues of primacy — editorial, technology and business — but there felt like a lack of real shared and collaborative best practices.

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Voting information in Philadelphia

Major contentious midterm elections take place the nation over today.

Despite the enthusiasm, I’m the reason why getting 60 percent of 170 million registered U.S. voters out there would be a triumph.

I’m fairly politically aware — even my interests are more in local policy than national — and have been involved in government and campaigning in the past. But, like most Americans, I have an excuse.

I spend most of the time leading up to an election pondering the journalism around it, listening and debating both sides — in short, seeing the election through my own prism (in my case, that means something of a balanced journalist).

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Knight Arts Challenge in Philadelphia: my seven submissions

Today is the deadline to put 150 words together that could help change the direction of arts in Philadelphia.

The Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia is a three-year, $9 million initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We’re seeking the best ideas in the arts. We’re investing $9 million, to be matched by other funders, to impact the arts in your hometown. We are seeking the most innovative ideas in the arts to inspire and enrich Philadelphia’s communities. [Source]

Philadelphia is just the second city in which Knight is running this arts challenge, following the foundation’s home of Miami. Get your questions answered here or submit here.

On a train ride home, I brainstormed a dozen ideas for the arts challenge, seven of which I thought were clear and concise enough that they’d be worth submitting. While only a couple directly relate to my work with technology community news site Technically Philly, as venture capitalist Fred Wilson recently wrote (H/T Karl Martino), there is great cross over between a maturing creative economy and an aged arts world.

So, I find it relevant to share what I’ve submitted, which I will do below.

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Fund My Media J-Lab ONA pre-conference highlights

The J-Lab Institute for Interactive Journalism held a pre-conference called ‘Fund My Media’ before the launch of the Online News Association annual conference Thursday.

Building on last year’s pre-conference before the ONA national event in San Francisco, the morning of discussions, speakers and panels were decidedly focused on keeping online editorial products alive: from foundation support, to events to other for-profit revenue. The event preceded the ONA conference held today and tomorrow.

You can watch the archived livestream of the morning’s sessions here.

Full Disclosure: In conjunction with the J-Lab Networked Journalism Collaborative project and funded by the William Penn Foundation, the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning has generously sponsored and supported my attendance here.

Yesterday’s ‘Fund My Media’ morning series of sessions were inventive and practical. Jan Schaffer and crew put together a rich, insightful, varied and fast moving event. It was a pleasure.

I shared a slew of thoughts, which I think will be updated, but here are some first thoughts for those who weren’t as fortunate to attend, and perhaps even those who have:

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