Community newspapers: a panel and their use of the Web at PhIJI


Community newspapers in Philadelphia remain wary of the Web, if any stock is to be paid to a morning panel from a journalism innovation conference held this month at Temple University.

Technically Philly was a partner in hosting PhIJI

Technically Philly was a partner in hosting PhIJI

Their thoughts just might be relevant to community-focused news gathers across the country.

Hosted by Temple’s journalism department, the Philadelphia Initiative for Journalistic Innovation was a day’s worth of smaller sessions focusing far less about the plight of big newspapers and more about smaller, more entrepreneurial ventures. Yes, the future of news just might be a series of conferences about the future of news, but I was happy to see a greater focus on the business side of the industry.

With the help of supportive chair Andy Mendelson, Temple journalism professor George Miller put together one of the first future of news conferences I’ve seen that tried to really pay attention to sustainability through profit. There’s incredible value in that, so I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Along with my two fellow co-founders of Technically Philly, I presented twice a session called ‘Be a Publisher Now’ on free tools that news-organizations and bloggers could make use of to create become more efficient and better prepared. See our presentation slides here.

I also got the opportunity to sit in on a session focused how community newspapers were dealing with the 21st-century’s dramatic paradigm shift in news-gathering. That’s where I was left more than a little puzzled.

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Blogging for Big Kids


Blogging for Big Kids

Small Business Social Media Mentoring Tele-class | Nov. 23, 2009

How to take your blog to the next level with more sophisticated, low cost features like web video, photo slideshows, free Google apps, social media integration and ways to have fun with it while jamming some traffic to your site. This is how you create a place for customers, clients and friends to know what you’re offering, how to get it, why they need it and make it look good for low cost. [Description here]

You can also download this as a PDF here.


A. Introductions

  1. What’s your 30-second introduction?
  2. I’ll pull up some of your WordPress sites you built since the previous session
  3. Why I’m worth your time — I’ll give a quick intro, so you don’t think I’m making everything up

B. What you’ll leave tonight with

  1. A clear understanding of why a small business might blog and how
  2. Tools to automate and promote your blog
  3. Tools to liven up your blog content

C. Rehash last week’s session

  1. Domain=Address; Hosting=Land; Platform=House
  2. Small businesses should use blogging to build relationships and authority
  3. You should only be blogging if you’re passionate (brief and easy to read)

D. Evangelical Embed

  • Use the existing multimedia world (i.e. Every minute, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.)
  • for photo slideshows on or otherwise
  • Youtube for video on or Viddler otherwise

E. Learn to hug RSS

  1. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a chronological feed of your content (Often “”)
  2. Plop that on your Facebook page
  3. Automate those pretty little sidebars with links to social media accounts and content

F. [If time] Give in to Google

  1. Gmail account
  2. Feedburner
  3. Google Calendar

G. Take Aways

  1. Small businesses blog to create connections, build authority and share information
  2. Tools to liven up your blog content: existing video and photos or your own
  3. Tools to automate and promote your blog: RSS feeds with social media and others on your site
  4. If you need any additional help, contact me and maybe we can work together on this stuff.
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Biden defends hyperaction at Committee of Seventy breakfast

Biden at Seventy breakfast edit

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the annual breakfast for political watchdog group the Committee of Seventy on Nov. 23, 2009 inside the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue Stratford. Photo by Christopher Wink

Gov. Ed Rendell walked onto the stage in front of several hundred guests at the Committee of Seventy‘s annual breakfast and made a joke at the expense of the political oversight group’s president, Zach Stalberg.

“Don’t you think Zach was a lot more fun when he at the Daily News?” Rendell asked of Stalberg, who was an editor at the Philadelphia tabloid before departing for a gig at Seventy in 2005.

The featured guest of the affair was Vice President Joe Biden and, like Stalberg before him, Biden seemed all business.

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Metro: Adding human color to a Northeast Philadelphia fire

Naja Wigglesworth was happy to be alive after jumping from her apartment building during an early-morning fire.  Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro

Naja Wigglesworth was happy to be alive after jumping from her apartment building during an early-morning fire. Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro

I was able to humanize a bit the standard spot news metro fire story yesterday, when I covered a five-alarm blaze in the Burholme section of Northeast Philadelphia for Metro.

It wasn’t the fire and it wasn’t the screaming but God who woke up Naja Wigglesworth early Sunday morning, the 23-year-old says.

She was on the second floor of the Austin Manor Apartment building in the Burlholme neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia when it went up in flames around 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Read the rest here.

So often, because of time constraints, coverage of these tragic fires are just rehashing of deaths and times and places, without accounting for the people who endure a great deal. I was happy I got to hear from residents about their experiences.

Below, local TV news coverage of the fire and an interview that didn’t make it into the front page story.

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Number of Views:6017

Bicycle enforcement campaign launched by Philadelphia police


Update 11/22/09 @ 12:06 p.m.: Signs of this enforcement from Philebrity and the Inquirer.

Philadelphia police are introducing a bicycle enforcement campaign beginning tomorrow in Center City.

Forgive the lack of a direct focus on journalism, the future of news and my clips on this, but, as someone who uses bicycling transport fairly regularly (to save money and get exercise, something any freelancer would understand the value of making habit), it’s an issue I take seriously.

If you’re down, read some of my perspective and watch a video about police officers in another city using “discretion” with such bicycle street-law enforcement.

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Number of Views:12328

Weekly in print, daily online: the new slogan of The Temple News

It was sometime this month two years ago that, while still an undergraduate at Temple University, I started tossing around what I hoped to be a new tagline for The Temple News, the college newspaper on North Broad Street.

Weekly in Print. Daily online, I suggested.

I wrote it on a piece of paper and posted it in my cubicle, as editorial page editor. In the mid-1990s, our newspaper staff rather presciently decided to move from printing three days a week to just once, having already dropped from a daily a few years earlier.

The intent, a front-page story read at the time, was to reduce costs at a time when the Internet would soon be the source of all news. Gosh, they were a bit too early, but dead on. So, they’d update daily online and follow-up with the biggest stories weekly.

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Number of Views:3076

Committee of Seventy: Highlights of November 2009 Philadelphia election


Every Election Day since November 2004, with an occasional exception, I’ve worked with the Committee of Seventy, a more than century-old political oversight nonprofit in Philadelphia.

I always come away with stories.

As I did in last April’s primary, below, I’ll share some of the best from last Tuesday’s election, a relatively low-profile affair, including just a couple citywide offices and a dozen state and municipal judicial positions.

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Number of Views:4342

Distribution or content: which is king?

bk_crowncardTheKing_en_01Is distribution king, not content?

That’s the question posed here by Alana G.

Consider a simplified 2×2 matrix: content is either good or bad and distribution is either good or bad. Bad content with bad distribution is going nowhere. Good content with good distribution is in the best position to succeed. But there’s a lot of sports content that lives in the other two quadrants. There are distribution resources being wasted on bad content, and there are plenty of small bloggers making good content with bad distribution. This last category of unseen content may be even better quality than some of the content with good distribution, but this content will not float to the top on its own. [Source]

I like this 2X2 model of bad/good content and bad/good distribution.

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Number of Views:10822

Phillies theme songs: music for Philadelphia baseball

When my reporting career starts intersecting with World Series baseballtwice — why wouldn’t I keep coming across Phillies theme songs?

Ill State of Mind by NeeKo ft. Deanie Marie, as I previously shared.

Goin’ Back to Philadelphia, PA- A Tribute to the Phillies by Bobby Burnett

This is played in the ballpark after a Phillies home win

Fightin’ Phils by Richie Rosati 2008

Fightin Phils Anthem – Tone Love

Parading Down Broad Street

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Phillies Go Hard” by Jakk Frost

Others listed here.

Number of Views:9041