Stories that never ran: What does a sex columnist look like?


Sex columnists seem to have something in common.

That was a thought that came to my mind last January, while talking at the beginning of 2009 to friend who wrote a sex column for his college newspaper. None of my existing freelance contacts seemed all that interested in the topic, so I went shopping for someone who was.

I found a buyer in a Web site for sexuality, but I was just developing my freelance career and not yet stern in my not-writing-for-free policy, so I agreed to finish a draft before agreeing to terms.

When it came in, my editor balked, the economy worsened, advertising declined and freelance budgets were continually slashed, and so the story has sat ever since. Today, I share it here: a profile of the mindset of someone who just might be a sex columnist.

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Number of Views:9176

Technically Philly praise: two years of tweets

Short of taking a trip to the Library of Congress and pouring over the Twitter archives, lots of tweets of value have been lost, particularly for us at Technically Philly.

What we took for granted as testimonials and perspective from many in our community and out, we did a poor job of archiving that public dialogue. To keep that from happening, in addition to pledging to ‘favorite’ more tweets of value or interest, I’m going to keep track of them by updating this post.

There’s value to following the good and bad of what they say about you, of course, to note how it changes and to address your place in a community.

If it’s of any interest, below, see more than a dozen tweets that we did save since June 2009 and some in the Unsolicited Praise portion of our media kit.

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Number of Views:2524

WordPress themes I’ve seen used well

There are oodles of WordPress themes, and I’ve gotten the chance to play with the backend of more than a few.

While I wouldn’t want anyone to go and brand on the same theme, I do like the idea of showing folks how top flight products can take hold on little more than a template. Below, I share a handful of WordPress themes I’ve seen used and used well.

Take it as motivation to find your own. Let me know some others you dig, by sharing in the comments. I won’t use yours, if you don’t use mine!

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Number of Views:4767

How to switch from Facebook groups to pages

When I first came on to Back on My Feet at the start of 2010, our Facebook presence was off.

We had a Facebook account — officially named “Backon MyFeet” to fit naming restrictions and even then against the social network’s terms of use allowing accounts for only individuals.

The vanity URL, of course, had already been reserved for that account. What’s more, we had three Facebook groups for our two chapters (Philadelphia and Baltimore) and one for Washington D.C., where we were expanding to that March. All three had different style — i.e. a hyphen between organization and chapter name — and different utility.

We needed a change.

(We’re mostly assuming here that a Facebook Page is probably what you want, but compare them with Facebook groups and get more about that fight with Mashable here.)

While other work was warranted, I’ve found that one of my first objectives is a task that lots of groups, organizations and people have had to complete: transitioning Facebook groups to Facebook pages.

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Number of Views:5130

Travel writing and why no one wants to hear about your European backpacking

Travel is most often the privilege of the privileged. Two years ago last month, I was returning from a trip that was certainly a great privilege.

If you can’t go out to eat with friends without referencing something you learned or experienced from some travel experience you had, then I think you’re doing it wrong.

Great travel writers, I think, tend to have always done so for a personal love for travel — not primarily to be a travel writer or to tell someone else about what you did.

Of late, I was reminded.

There are nearly a dozen different, conflicting things I believe strongly about travel:

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Number of Views:5384

Reporting for Metro Philadelphia


Metro (June 2009 to present): I regularly contribute news stories and short features to the Philadelphia edition of the international newspaper. I also occasionally fill-in for staff reporters. See examples of some of my larger stories here.

January 2010 Invoice

  1. Christopher Wink N Electric Assist Bicycle
  2. Christopher Wink N Bradley Ericson Entrepreneur Q&A 1/4/10

December 2009 Invoice

  1. 12/21/09: 3.5 hours, 1:30 to 5 p.m. (Delilah Winder Taxes 12/22/09) 70
  2. Rosemary Feal MLA 12/22/09
  3. End-of-year Philadelphia Statistics
  4. 12/20/09: 4 hours, 2:30-6:30 p.m. (Fishtown plow streets 12/21/09; Holiday shopping brief 12/21/09; Man on the street snow 12/21/09; City snow removal data 12/21/09) 80

November 2009 Invoice

  1. Christopher Wink N Devon Theater 11/20/09 $125
  2. Christopher Wink N Burholme Blaze 11/23/09 $25
  3. Christopher Wink N Old City shooting brief 11/23/09 $125
  4. Christopher Wink N Thanksgiving Bicyclist 11/30/09 $125

October 2009 Invoice

  1. Christoper Wink N Dressed as Yankees fan 10/23/09 150
  2. Christopher Wink N PPA Parking Wars 10/1/09 150
  3. Christopher Wink N PPA QA 10/5/09 75
  4. Christopher Wink N Buffalo wings 10/15/09 100
  5. Christopher Wink N Geert Wilders 10/20/09 30
  6. Christopher Wink N WS playoff guide-KILL 10/28/09 50
  7. Christopher Wink N Fans in wrong city 10/28/09 250

September 2009 Invoice

  1. 17 hours at $20 =$340 ( Tues 9/8: 8:30-5;30 (9 hours) Wed 9/9: 10:30-6:30 (8 hours)
  2. Michael Vick story 8/9/09 125
  3. Death of American post office 9/2/09 $100
  4. Reporting: Colleges 9/9/09 $25
  5. Mural Arts 9/9/09 $100
  6. Sunday 9/27: 12:30-6= 5.5 X $20 = $110
  7. Monday 9/28: 10:30-7= 8.5 X $20 = $170
  8. Sticky Duct-taped cat 9/30/09 $100
  9. Young and unemployed 9/30/09 $100

August 2009 Invoice

  1. Science Cheerleader 8/20
  2. Babbette
  3. Temple Tuition
  4. Wrongful termination
  5. Plan C

July 2009 Invoice $150

  1. Casino story
  2. Two small items
Number of Views:2001

Everywhere I am online and why consolidation is still necessary


Nearly two years ago, it was apparent to me that, with the explosion of Web communities, it was necessary to be everywhere online.

Lame? Yes, maybe, but your byline is your brand and all of that goodness. That’s still true, but can we agree there still room for consolidation in our Web presences?

By a rough count — and I mean rough because I got bored quickly — I think I have worked up more than 60 profiles or pages or public accounts or what have you. That’s absurd.

As Web communities mature, so too will our ability to discern what has value for us and our interests, and the list of these stupid profiles will become more and more ridiculous. OK, we already know what’s good and what’s not, but the something must shift.

Just what will that maturation or consolidation look like do you think?

And only because I wouldn’t want my idle research to go to the wayside, below, I plunk down all those online presences I counted.

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Number of Views:4019

Announced proposal for William Penn Foundation hyperlocal investment

William Penn News Roundtable small

One half of the influential round table at the unveiling of a proposed William Penn Foundation news innovation involvement.

Forty leaders in Philadelphia media were on hand last week for the unveiling of a structure to develop more public affairs journalism in the region, as proposed by a university research center on behalf of the William Penn Foundation.

From 8:30 a.m. to after 2 p.m. on Jan. 7 inside the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission conference room of the American College of Physicians Building in Old City, a series of discussions focused on bolstering the next generation of news gathering in Philadelphia around community-building and replacing competition with collaboration.

Explicit details were left slim to encourage a dialogue, but loosely defined, Jan Schaffer, the executive director of American University-housed J-Lab, recommended an aggregated content hub that could be supplemented by a limited editorial team. The funded sustainability of that recommendation was not detailed, but rather suggested to be put off for three years until an appropriate level of support was developed, she said. Hers were only recommendations for the Penn Foundation. No action was announced, nor taken.

Rather, Schaffer, a former Philadelphia Inquirer business editor and Pulitzer Prize winner, led a fact-finding research project for the better part of 2009 on behalf of the Penn Foundation, which included more than 60 interviews and ran from July to October. The day was her chance to gauge response. She has not yet submitted a formal proposal but, she said, expects to do so this quarter. Last week’s open unveiling and ensuing feedback would inform her final suggestions, she said.

The ramifications of what Schaffer proposes could have a historic impact. That is, if anything happens at all.

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Number of Views:15113

New Jersey: the global epicenter of hyperlocal news


Update: See October coverage from Newsweek and N.J. Monthly.

When the media history books (ha, I mean, media history e-reader files) look back at the beginnings of online hyperlocal news, there will be a clear battlegrounds.

New Jersey.

Gannet has gone big in the Garden State with its InJersey collective, and the New York Times first dabbled in town-specific news with Maplewood. Baristanet, the gray old lady of hyperlocal news, calls Montclair, in Essex County, home, and, while it has pushed into Connecticut and onto Long Island, AOL’s Patch network got its roots in the Jerz.

The reasons why, of course, are pretty clear.

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Number of Views:7744

Welcome to Fishtown

A crazy thing happened on Dec. 2. I closed on my first home, quite an end to a decade of transition from childhood to adulthood. Something worthy enough to update a bit on.

I’m in the heart of the Fishtown neighborhood of the riverward section of Philadelphia, once a place exclusively for working-class (white) families that has the hipster and artistic communities now that often lead to gentrifying. It’s two El stops, a 15-minute bicycle ride or a 40-minute walk from Old City, full of Dietz and Watson delis, modest rowhomes and pickup trucks with ladders. Now I’m there, too.

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Number of Views:8365