After trying last year, with just a week’s notice, we were able to coordinate to add to Philly Tech Week a conversation with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. I interviewed him on-stage.
Let’s start with scale: I attended a political fundraiser and wrote a check for $250.
Next, consider context: it was for someone I’ve known for longer than I can remember, among the closest of my family friends, who lived a few houses down from me when I was just a few months old.
Even still, I actually agonized a bit about the decision. Journalism is a thicket of rules and expectations and among the loudest is to stay objective in politics and distant from the money that feeds it. I was worried my donating would cloud the work I do as editorial director at niche publisher Technically Media. Here’s why I decided it was the right decision.
In April 2012, we at Technically Media announced Ph.ly, a URL shortener that had a companion content strategy — a curated weekly newsletter sharing the three biggest pieces of local journalism or civic information. Over the next 18 months, I published the weekly newsletter as a side project and experiment. Here are a few things I learned before sidelining the project by 2014.
After 18 months and two phases of the fledgling side project, we’re setting aside the monthly Technical.ly podcast.
We couldn’t invest the time into the project that it required, it didn’t fit into our short-term strategy and the audience wasn’t growing fast enough for an exception to be made. (We were only regularly getting a few hundred downloads).
Journalists have to approach issues they care about differently than others. There’s a fine line between influence and bias. I’ve joined the board of Coded by Kids, a program of coding classes for youth, and I’d like to share why.
It took me to leave rural northwest New Jersey, where I grew up, and to go to Philadelphia, where I went to college, to saddle up and actually develop a small knowledge base about Western-style horse riding.
I cleaned stalls and helped out Ike Johnstone at Belmont Stables, an historic West Fairmount Park building where Johnstone hosts the Bill Picket Riding Academy, through which he teachs anti-violence and communication to North Philadelphia kids. In exchange, Johnstone taught me some rudimentary riding skills.
On editorial teams that I’ve been a part of, two tasks not core to reporting still take up time that I think could be more automated. Both were attempted to be addressed at Canvas, the first media innovation hackathon organized by Aljazeera in Qatar this weekend.
I am proud to say I was there in Doha this week serving as one of 10 mentors for the 90 participants from 37 countries who were chosen out of 1,600 applicants (40 percent of those chosen were women). The winning projects were chosen out of 19. (Other favorites)
To promote his new book ‘Things a Little Bird Told Me,’ Twitter cofounder Biz Stone was at the Free Library of Philadelphia for a ticketed, breakfast event for which I interviewed him on stage for a half-hour before audience questions finished the morning.
My line of questions can be seen here. I tried to to steer the conversation away from what has already been said by Stone, a well-covered tech entrepreneur who is in the midst of a popular book tour, but we still hit upon some of what has already been covered: the designer by trade has focused on bringing the human touch to software.
That helps explain how decidedly simple Twitter is and how Stone’s new startup Jelly, a network-driven answer app, has stayed focused on getting social responses.