Social media isn’t evil

Social media has this stigma.

In the past six years, those brand-name behemoths of an industry that didn’t exist at this decade’s beginning have reached every corner of the developed world. When something, when anything reaches that level of prevalence, there’s going to be some backlash.

So, yes, a medium devoted to regular updates and structured around Web-based interactions is derided for self-reflectiveness and impersonality. But, of course, there is value to be gained, too.

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A new job: Media director for nonprofit Back on My Feet

Back on My Feet founder Anne Mahlum and members of the organization in 2007.

I’ve decided to step away from self-employment.

I’ve spent the last year of my life freelancing, by some accounts, at perhaps the worst time to do so in my life and arguably the worst time in the history of journalism.

After a meeting of the most influential media leaders in the region made clear no drastic foundational investment would be made into niche news anytime soon, I knew I needed to secure my finances — as a new homeowner, especially — and take a more cautioned approach toward building News Inkubator, Technically Philly and NEast Philly.

A funny thing happened not a week or two after I made this decision. A friend made me aware of a job opportunity I actually wanted.

On Mon. Jan. 18, I walked into a Locust Street building in Center City Philadelphia and began defining what a media director should do for homeless advocacy nonprofit Back on My Feet.

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Fishtown Spirit: A neighborhood photographer wants more neighborhood support

A portrait of romance as captured by Keith Angelitis.

My first clip for the Fishtown Spirit ran in last Thursday’s issue, and my second ran yesterday.

Keith Angelitis just started a fire in the front room of his Frankford Avenue studio. He has a jacket on and a ball cap pulled over his ruffled brown hair. Big front windows welcome the sunlight that pours in and fills his 15-foot ceilings.

He is relaxing in a wooden chair, a prominent member of an otherwise sparsely furnished room, warmed by an old wood-burning stove. In the corner is an over-sized closet that Angelitis built during the beginning of his continuous renovation of 2452 Frankford Ave. Read more here.

Below the scoop on why I got involved with the Spirit.

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Ten things a journalist should never do

Poynter curated a list of 100 things a journalist should never do.

As these things tend to do, it became a rambling collections of do’s and don’ts, but it was interesting nonetheless. Ten stuck with me as among the most important.

  1. Strive for context rather than information. Information is plentiful, context is scarce. (@rsm4lsu)
  2. Journalists should be skeptical, not cynical. (@jmestepa)
  3. Always make your last question “Is there anything else I should have asked?” (@jamessaft)
  4. A journalist should never be a friendly dog when reporting and then go snake at the keyboard. ABC. Always Be Congruent. (@carr2n)
  5. Always be willing to let any answer — including one on deadline — completely change the story’s direction.
  6. Journalists should be available. Let people know how to e-mail you, call, IM, DM or otherwise get in touch.
  7. Journalists should be active community members. If you aren’t of the people, you aren’t by the people or for the people.
  8. Journalists should be comfortable with silence during interviews. You’ll hear & learn more if you’re not talking.
  9. Journalists should never plead ignorance about the business of news, who pays, how & why. It’s not purist, it’s irresponsible.
  10. “Look for stories people might miss, even standing next to you. Be curious about seemingly ordinary lives.” http://ow.ly/IS94
Number of Views:10943

Old journalist to young: Pitied, blamed or accused

old_time_journalist

I find I get mostly two responses from established reporters when they’re forced to respond to me and my generation of journalists. It’s something I’ve touched on after events before.

The first comes teary-eyed.

Some seem to offer despondent pity and sympathy for me, for the times and power and success I missed out on, for the dark, post-journalistic-apocalyptic world I’ve entered — a sentiment that often reaches a fever pitch when we discuss my attempt to freelance full-time while starting out.

The second comes with a first full of anger.

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I love strikethrough text

I love what should be the new world of corrections.

Bow to the all-mighty strikethrough text. If someone calls you out on an error, fix it and fix it fast, but keep the mistake in with the cross out, so you don’t hide the mistake.

This shows transparency, a story’s growth and, really, keeps you, the reporter, more motivated to get it right the first time.

Print journalists take seriously the notion that what goes on the page stays on the page, but often hid behind a correction running later, smaller and being ignored. The Web combines the best — we stand by what we publish because we won’t erase a mistake.

I love the use of letting your readers kno when a story is ‘Updated’ and listing those changes at top or the bottom of the story for all your readers to see.

Transparency cannot be lost, and, like attribution, it doesn’t have to be.

Number of Views:6013

Future of News panel for Sunday Breakfast Club @ Union League

The historic, 145-year-old Union League of Philadelphia located on the Avenue of the Arts.

A tidy and frail little old man asked me to direct him to the coat rack. To walk him around the corner from the long and elegant main corridor of the nearly 150-year-old Union League of Philadelphia was my first deed.

If nothing else, it made for interesting conversation when I made it to the elaborate second-floor President’s Ballroom, featuring thirty foot ceilings, a spectacular chandelier and portraits of dour looking old white men. For an half-hour or so after 5:30 p.m., I handled a rum and coke and ambled about the pre-event cocktail reception of the Sunday Breakfast Club, a not-quite cloak-and-dagger, invitation-only private society for organization executives.

Perhaps nearly 200 members and guests of the seven decades young group patronized the open bar, chatted and nibbled appetizers. I did the same, more than a handful of times being approached by some degree of interest in the 20-something with a broken brown belt with black shoes.

No ma’am, I’m not lost. I’m on the panel to which you’re here to pay audience.

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Number of Views:64824

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

sex-columnist

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:9581

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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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:4983