Rules of online reporting


What the web is creating is a world in which the details can be erased but nothing is forgotten. It is a distinct change from when only that of broad interest could make it to the widely distributed vehicles of traditional media.

It was with that in mind that I told a reporter of mine earlier this year one of the golden rules of online news — take screenshots first, ask questions later — after something we were reporting on was removed from a source website. Reminding her of that prompted other rules that came to mind and after sharing them still others came to mind.

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Porn star as reporter

The adult entertainment industry has long been lauded for being a leader in embracing the impact of the web and technology on its business model. So much so that the comparisons between porn and the news industry have long been made, both in the rush online and the balance between paid content and mass traffic.

But those industry assessments lack the focus of how the the individual reporter is so much like the porn star of today too.

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Lifehacks for living in Philly (and probably other cities too)


[Thanks for the love r/Philadelphia and Zagat and Reddit again]

Update: I presented some of my favorite hacks at Ignite Philly. Watch the presentation below and find the slides here:

Any city worth its existence has enough culture that exists there that small quirks exist that can help you get by.

In my short nine years living in Philadelphia, a few lifehacks have become pretty common to me but are perhaps worth sharing.

Here are a bunch. I’d love to hear yours:

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Are you experimenting, focusing or executing?


If you are leading an organization, it seems there are three main speeds you should be going.

  1. Experimenting — new ideas, creative thought, innovation
  2. Focusing — paring down the projects and efforts to get to our clear mission
  3. Executing — moving forward toward that mission

The trouble seems to come when we’re trying to do all of them — or none of them — at the same time. That’s when we get distracted and lose our way.

Staying focused on one of those speeds at a time is more than difficult enough. Now think about being able to cycle through them in the life of an organization when you know you either need new ideas or to find a focus or to make good on that mission. That takes remarkable leadership.

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The Path Between the Seas: how the Panama Canal was constructed


The classic, National Book Award-winning 1977 historical narrative by David McCullough on the Panama Canal’s construction called the Path Between the Seas was perfect reading material leading into, during and after my 10-day trip to the Central American country.

In large scale projects, preparing to do the work is often more important than doing the work. That was likely the biggest lesson I drew from the book, which chronicled a failed attempt by a consortium of French government and business leaders to build a sea-level canal and then a painful but ultimately successful American attempt that used locks and came at the heels of advancements in understanding how to deal with yellow fever.

I also drastically underestimated the magnitude the Panama Canal represented as an engineering and public health campaign. My previous ignorance to this period of human history is embarrassing.

As I often do when I read a book of relevance to leadership and history, I share my notes here.

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