This column about was spiked by the Philadelphia Business Journal

Ahead of the fifth annual Philly Tech Week back in April, consultant and Drexel University chairman Stan Silverman, who writes a regular column for the Philadelphia Business Journal, decided to write about and my work there.

Unfortunately the Business Journal’s leadership flexed its editorial discretion and spiked the story. It wasn’t the first time we heard something about us was dropped by the publication — Silverman told me he never had a column idea killed like that before by his editor.

One can’t know exactly why but one might come to assume it’s a rather petty swipe at us, as they see us as a kind of competition. I hope we can all appreciate the irony that during this very same Philly Tech Week, we happily included and helped to promote a Business Journal event, their IT awards. Oh it’s too perfect.

I guess it’s just the difference between the open web and ugly legacy tendancies.

Read Silverman’s column, which he published on his personal site, here.

Final words on the reprisal of the young cop and the student journalist

It’s very easy to politicize what is around us. I fight that urge, too.

Whenever accusations about cops and misdeeds make their way into headlines, most of us either rush to defend them or revile them. Wherever we rush to usually has to do with what camp we most align: either (A) policing is damn hard work and those who do it don’t get enough credit or (B) police officers have enough potentially unchecked power to make us uncomfortable.

Of course, like with most things, the truth manages to be both.

More than a year ago, I wrote about then-Temple University student journalist Shannon McDonald and the contested reporting she did on Philadelphia Police Officer Bill Thrasher. Last month, something of a conclusion was finally met.

Continue reading Final words on the reprisal of the young cop and the student journalist

The chair that’s reserving your snowy parking spot in Fishtown

I’m no serious driver, but I’m fascinated by car culture in all its forms.

Like the severity with which parking is taken in many urban neighborhoods in even transited cities, Philadelphia certainly included. My own new neighborhood of Fishtown has all the makings of a fight to be had: long-time residents, a conflicting gentrifying population, limited parking, middle class to working class and, recently, a historic snowfall.

Where even the mayor seems to support saving street parking if you’ve cleaned out a spot and the requisite question comes of what that all means, I’m slowly developing my own opinion.

I’ve been in neighborhoods where people reserve parking year round — around a quickly expanding Temple University community with serious town-gown issues — and so these topics seem to vary. But mostly, I figure you ought to have a majority of these requisites to toss a chair of bucket to block off street parking.

  1. Snow storm or some other limited or relatively rare happenstance that dramatically limits parking
  2. You dug out the spot
  3. It’s in front of your house
  4. It’s on your block
  5. You’re elderly or infirm
  6. You have children younger than five
  7. You’re grocery shopping, moving or something else involved lugging or carrying from your car to your house
  8. It’s for fewer than 12 hours
  9. Only one per household

Metro: Double-byline front page on wrongful firing

Daniel Bryant outside the Chop Shop on Temple University's Main Campus. Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro.
The complainant outside the Chop Shop on Temple University's Main Campus. Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro.

I reported on a wrongful termination suit and received a double-byline, front-page story in today’s Metro in Philadelphia.

[He] wears women’s clothes because he says they better show off his feminine features.

Read the rest here. The Metro story has been kicked offline, but you can find coverage in the Inquirer here. Pick up a copy if you’re in town and can find it. Below I have some quotations from the owner accused of the wrongful termination below.

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Closing @Domelights: Of course squelching racist police babble is wrong


I seem to recall seeing some petty ugly things written on Domeights, the online forum for the Philadelphia police community that was shut down by its owner after the threat of legal action.

Of course, I also remember a lot of mundane content, jokes, commentary and other arcane back-and-forth that is the staple of most Web message boards. But that’s not going to be the subject.

The site, which is operated by city police sergeant but is unaffiliated with the department, caught heat following another public display of racial infighting in one of the country’s largest municipal law enforcement agencies. The Guardian Civic League, an organized group of black police officers, is calling for the removal of the site and has named a host of individuals, in addition to the police force and the city in a law suit.

Continue reading Closing @Domelights: Of course squelching racist police babble is wrong

Philadelphia Inquirer John Yoo controversy doesn't seem to be much of a controversy anymore


Well that was a lot about nothing, no?

A Web site, Fire John Yoo is tracking all the news of the now dying coverage of John Yoo, who wrote controversial legal notices on torture during the Bush administration, and the virtriol surrounding his being retained as an op-ed columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

There were protests across the country calling for Yoo to be fired. He wasn’t. And, as news is want to do, it seems to have all but quieted. That’s how John Yoo became a household name and will soon be forgotten.

Inquirer Editorial page editor Harold Jackson, if not perfectly, did, I think, correctly assess the situation and why the controversy may not have been worth it all.

Continue reading Philadelphia Inquirer John Yoo controversy doesn't seem to be much of a controversy anymore

What was lost in the coverage of a student journalist and a Philadelphia cop

Update: 7:40 p.m. on April 23, 2009: The involved officer was suspended with intent to dismiss. That news also came from the Inquirer and Daily News.

Update: 10:12 p.m. on May 6, 2009: Ms. McDonald was the feature of a cover story in the Northeast Times.

The attention has probably subsided enough to write this now.

Shannon McDonald, whom I’ve known for nearly two years, got a round of 15 minutes of fame she didn’t quite want.

On March 31, the Philadelphia Daily News ran a story on the growing ire of a group of the city’s black cops.

The controversy surrounded around a single officer, and, it seems, Shannon started it all.

At least a month before, the 21-year-old senior Temple University journalism student had to write a feature story for a class. So, thinking a cop-ride-along would be a simple, strong and fast assignment for a class she’s eager to finish, Shannon contacted the 22nd Philadelphia police district, which covers her assigned Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.

Then she wrote, as would surprise no one who knows her, a tidy, professional 900-word profile on Bill Thrasher, the officer with whom she rode. That was in February. It was a school assignment.

I spoke to her after the ride along.

“How was it?” I asked.

“OK,” she said, in a way that makes me certain she neither expected nor wanted any attention for the story.

It took a month for her expectations to be proven shortsighted.

Continue reading What was lost in the coverage of a student journalist and a Philadelphia cop