Four ways to improve the Philadelphia magazine Web site


A host of people smarter than I am call Philadelphia magazine home.

Better writers, reporters, editors, designers, photographers and more. I suspect they know worlds more about the business model, their print product and Web presence, but I can’t help but think has a lot of work to be done.

Their lessons are worth learning for all publications on the Web, particularly magazines. Philadelphia is too large a market, and Philadelphia magazine is too historic a product for both not to be served by innovation in every field and industry.

Below see four broad areas Philadelphia magazine can improve its less-than-remarkable online product.

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Don't do it for free, freelancers

Photo by Alex Irwin. See more at

Pike Place Market in Seattle.Photo by Alex Irwin. See more at

Last month, Alex Irwin, a good friend and a very hip arts blogger and Philadelphia music writer, posted that he gave over publishing rights of two of his photos to an online travel guide for Seattle, where he was visiting his girlfriend when snapped the pictures.

Wrong move, I say. Let me tell you why.

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Will the Philadelphia Inquirer Harrisburg bureau get trimmed?

The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are officially sharing content, according to Editor & Publisher.

Inquirer Editor William Marimow and Post-Gazette Editor David Shribman confirmed that they have been swapping daily budgets since Jan. 29, the latest example of the ever-growing trend of newspapers with no common ownership or JOA trading news.

“We exchange budgets and except for the most highly-competitive stories, we will be sharing,” said Marimow. “You will see more Pittsburgh Post-Gazette bylines and photos in the Inquirer.” [Source]

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I hate PR-infused e-mail quotes

Some folks in public relations relish the opportunity for their clients to respond to journalists in e-mail.

The message can be crafted, measured and direct. Really, it ought to be a great opportunity, but most times, in my experience, I see the difference between a wizard in media manipulation and some hack. The lessons are for reporters and PR reps alike.

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Six month old trend, then I'm ready to join: is your newspaper like that too?

I am now the proud owner of an mp3 player – my first.

It’s a trend of my coming to any popular phase months too late. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not.

In anything, from electronics to music to business innovation in media, there are trend-setters, followers and late-comers. Which are you, and which is your organization?

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Newspapers: stop moving around your online articles

Let those links live.

For most newspapers, I bet, this is an issue with their content management system, but this is getting serious.

Two of my best clips ever for the Philadelphia Inquirer, including one among my favorite stories I’ve ever written, are no longer available online – even though the links are still live for a profile on state Rep. Babette Josephs and a 1000-word ditty on the nascent Harrisburg reform movement.

Someone just plum and moved them, I guess behind a paywall, though I can’t find them even there.

Why would any newspaper do that, particularly a big newsaper with evergreen like profiles and enterprise features?

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Why don't Philadelphia police and fire departments sell merchandise?

God, I could get sick if I see someone else with an NYPD hat.

But, Hell, kudos because that is brand development and, I’d bet, some additional revenue for those departments – even if lots of copycats are out there.

I could only imagine the fear is police impersonation, but I have to believe you could limit the design and merchandise to mitigate that fear.

In a city of huge bureaucracy, this could be a department of the city’s police or fire departments that could make some money. As much as those departments are reviled by some, there are those eager to support a big city’s bravest and finest. Let’s monetize that for the city.

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How, why and what should a young journalist start blogging

If you are a budding journalist, or trying to break back into the game, if you’re a writer, a poet, an editor or aspiring movie star, if you want to be on TV or on radio, why aren’t you blogging?

If only just a bit.

Newspapers are trying to establish themselves by these online rules, and some are finding much better success blogging than others. All media are finding ways to make money and find stars online.

Assuming you want to be part of both of those, you need to do something about it.

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Are WordPress, Blogger the next Angelfire and Geocities?

In the late 1990s, a host of Web sites democratized the Internet, giving the average Internet-user the chance to have his own online home.

In 2003, MySpace used the model and brought in a new age of social networking.

Last week I posted that MySpace is on the way out, and briefly mentioned that WordPress and Blogger are taking over the role of providing free, easy-to-manipulate Web presences.

Does that make them the next Angelfire or Geocities? Are they just another trend ready to be overcome?

Number of Views:4784