I’ve followed Headd, the city’s transparency movements and the open government movement for years, so I was eager to pitch and report out a more general-interest focused story. I was also excited to get the piece out to a broader audience — thanks to editor Tom McGrath for the interest and the opportunity.
It is the last major feature of the Transparencity grant project I’ve been leading, and one of the more detailed investigative reports I’ve done in my journalism career. The feature, which details the nearly two-year struggle to go public with a project with internal support, is meant to show the lessons learned and obstacles faced in the hopes that future city agencies can more efficiently release their data publicly for development and citizen use.
Give it a read, for lessons to be taken for any local government. and then find some of what didn’t make it into the piece below.
Read the story here or download the PDF here, on page 24.
An earlier nut graf: Innovation has been seen as strictly in the purview of tiny, agile startups, taking an idea and bringing it to market. But as the speed of new technologies continues to quicken, the need for large businesses to help bring products to market becomes even greater. So big corporations are not only playing a remarkably underplayed role in innovation, they are also innovating in how they change the world altogether.
Give it a read and then check some of the extras from my interviews that didn’t make it into the piece.
Following the indicted former state Speaker of the House, whose corruption trial has been postponed until the fall, we covered what the impact the loss of a 30-year state leader would be on his district, particularly a small swath that had served as his political base.
To kick off this year, we at Technically Philly ran a weekly Tuesday feature interviewing a technology community member and/or entrepreneur who left Philadelphia. It is called Exit Interview and the weekly portion of the series is winding down, with perhaps one more to run next week.
The three of us who founded TP love Philadelphia, in particular its creative and entrepreneur communities. Journalism aside, we tend to think those whom we cover are going to be a big part of improving Philadelphia, its perception, its government, its taxes and its reputation.
Journalism should uncover truths and push forward dialogue. That can come with important public affairs coverage and institutional oversight, but it can also by highlighting key issues among its audience.
So I felt strongly that to further the conversation among these communities, it was our role to face directly concerns holding it back. To do so, I led the move to bring together nearly a dozen interviews and will now roll back out Exit Interview when new perception comes forward.
A couple months ago, I announced I had moved my honors thesis to a subdomain of this site for the sake of organization and archiving. Following up on that resolution to make more tidy a rambling online portfolio, I have brought another dated, collection of work of which I am proud under this house.
See all the Episodes here and all the Archives here. Go and explore.
A few things interested me from my work in 2006:
Short, bad titles — The post headlines were all short and sometimes not even descriptive. I didn’t recognize then the importance.
I wrote a lot — I far outpaced all of my fellow castmembers in output, which is great, but I could have made much of the content terser and more straightforward.
I actually had comments — On many posts, I had a handful of comments. I haven’t transferred them… yet.
I never linked — I didn’t have a single link to a past post.
Photo albums, not in posts — Photos and the video episodes were never embedded. This is the one major change I’ve made, by incorporating them.
Yes, I called posts ‘blogs’ — But that was 2006. What’s the excuse today?
I learned and experienced so damn much — I interacted with an audience and explored and created multimedia, but ultimately, I was just a young kid learning. ..And what a clear stepping stone toward the WDSTL podcast I did while in Western Europe.
A year ago, I did a short interview with Rosemary Feal, then the Executive Director of the Modern Language Association, ahead of the group’s annual conference in Philadelphia.
The interview was due to run in the Metro but never did. With a year passed and its hook gone, I run it here for all you grammar geeks because there just might be interest in hearing the thoughts of someone who told me: “I also love the semicolon, but that’s just my personal preference.”
Earlier this month, I went on a ride-along with the West Frankford Town Watch in lower Northeast Philadelphia. For the love of hyperlocal journalism and community coverage, I put together a 2,500 word profile of the organization, with a handful of photos of mine. It was good to remember that I got into this whole scene for a love of writing. Give it a read and let me know what you think.
Mike Mawson smells something.
It’s past midnight on Comly Street near Bustleton in Mayfair. The sun went down hours ago, but forgot to take this sticky July heat with it. Mawson is riding shotgun in the sensible four-door sedan that his partner Phil Pappas drives. The West Frankford Town Watch patrol was circling around to head back south of Cheltenham Avenue to drive the streets of its namesake neighborhood when Mawson caught a whiff of something off in the still nighttime air.
“It smells like something is burning,” confirms soft-featured Pappas, 53, sitting upright with two hands on the steering wheel and dressed with purpose in matching earthtones. “I’ll pull over.” MORE