News Frontier Database from Columbia Journalism Review: Technically Philly and NEast Philly included

The Columbia Journalism Review launched this year its News Frontier Database, meant to be a curated directory of independent online news organizations, included the two niche sites on which I collaborate.

See the entire News Frontier Database here.

Technically Philly was an early listing, having been contacted by CJR in March and launching in early May. See that listing here.

Northeast Philly hyperlocal NEast Philly was recently added too. See that page here.

Including those two, there are just four Pennsylvania sites listed, all from Philadelphia, including also PlanPhilly, with which Technically Media is now doing some work, and another FactCheck.

NBC Philadelphia ‘Request for Proposals Cooperative Arrangement with Non-Profit Local News Organization’

As part of its agreement with FCC to take over majority stake in NBC Universal, Comcast pledged to, among other things, bolster local news.

A half dozen NBC local affiliates, including Philadelphia, announcing a request for proposals to partner with nonprofit news organizations is just that.

I’d sure hope attention is being paid by WHYY and its NewsWorks initiative and the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network, both of which could create some dynamic, interesting partnerships with a broadcast outlet with a large online audience to boot.

Applications are due next Friday, July 22. Details and applications here.

So I guess Philly.com is going to launch a South Philly hyperlocal site

Last week I saw Mike Topel got a ‘digital content’ promotion over at Philly.com.

Then he tweeted he was “starting a hyperlocal project,” and followed that up by calling for South Philly activists.

It’s worth noting that I’d bet a lot of old head Inquirer folks will remind others that the paper tried something not unlike hyperlocal with its Neighborhoods initiative, dropping Inqy staffers to every gosh darn civic meeting around. It didn’t take, from what I hear.

That said, this is surely part of what Dan Victor and company are doing over there, and I’m always excited to experimentation. I support people doing anything with a plan. Maybe it’ll fit into my vision for what Philly.com should become.

Business Insider mention of Technically Philly

Early last month, a contributor to the Business Insider dropped the Technically Phillly name and some other references to the Philadelphia online indie media scene:

Hyper-local advertising and content. Speaking of my home base of Philadelphia, the hyper-local eco-system here features sites of every make and model. Examples: PhillySportsDaily.com leaves local sports radio 610WIP.com & 950TheFan in the dust with its 24/7 online sports coverage & analysis. Gawker-influenced; Philebrity.com, probably assisted in the decline of our once great alt-weekly: City Paper. Smart and dominant technology coverage of ‘Philacon Valley’ by the young team at TechnicallyPhilly.com certainly must embarrass the top brass at the legendary Philadelphia Business Journal. And if you taste-test the foodie editorial of JerseyBites.com, it’s easy to imagine this content eventually being licensed or sold to The Food Network or Fodors. MORE

Thanks Mel.

Someone else is doing a better job of tracking community news sites

About a year ago, I hadn’t come across a good list of someone trying to track all of the community news sites worth covering. So I did so myself.

I only recently come across someone doing a much better job of it, so I’ll leave it to her.

For the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Michele McLellan has dug in and created four main and seven overall categories for the always growing list of community sites.

It’s interesting to watch these numbers swell. Below, check out her categories and follow links to her lists.

Continue reading Someone else is doing a better job of tracking community news sites

Newsworks: WHYY online news brand launching means a lot to these legacies

A lot of legacies over at WHYY are going to be forged with whatever comes out of Newsworks, the online news re-branding and redevelopment initiative from Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate that I first wrote about back in April.

In short, NewsWorks, which had its official launch last Monday, Nov. 15, is WHYY’s new online news brand, serving as home to its existing journalism, in addition to (A) new columns, (B) calls for community contributions and (C) a trial hyperlocal push in northwest Philadelphia.

It’s a big bold swing and at least four years in the making.

Indeed, where Newsworks is a year or two from now will mean a great deal to the entire news ecosystem of Philadelphia, at least. Some of those people who come to mind:

Continue reading Newsworks: WHYY online news brand launching means a lot to these legacies

Patch is about as evil as Starbucks (and that’s less than you might want to believe)

Is Patch evil?

That was the wildly well-remembered question asked by Robert Hernandez at a lunch keynote panel during the Online News Association conference, which I was able to attend. Hernandez was asking Aol CEO Tim Armstrong, whose company owns hyperlocal news and information platform Patch and who was on stage with NPR President Vivian Schiller.

I’d say the answer is simple: it’s not.

Continue reading Patch is about as evil as Starbucks (and that’s less than you might want to believe)

Twitter is stupid and other lessons in hyperlocal content strategy: NEast Philly at BarCamp NewsInnovation

The second annual BarCamp NewsInnovation was held last month at Temple University — see my notes here.

In addition to sharing all the failures we’ve had at Technically Philly, I spoke with founder and editor Shannon McDonald about the progress we’ve had with Northeast Philadelphia hyperlocal NEast Philly, including most prominently the breakdown of where our content was coming from.

See here the notes from our 2009 BarCamp presentation on being an online news startup in a print-heavy community.

Below find the notes and slides from this year’s BarCamp presentation entitled: Twitter is stupid…and other foundations of our content strategy.

Continue reading Twitter is stupid and other lessons in hyperlocal content strategy: NEast Philly at BarCamp NewsInnovation

Four Cs of developing communities on the Web

Photo from Flickr user Leo Reynolds

I’ve been asked a dozen times in the past few weeks what it takes to develop communities on the Web. There isn’t any scientific response, but I’ve started thinking about four Cs that come to mind.

  1. Connection — Whether it’s a geographic or topical vertical, or one strictly based around a product, organization or experience, there has to be an identifiable reason for people to come together around a single site or platform.
  2. Consistency — If it’s going to be once a week, or once a day or five times a day, you need to remain consistent in connecting with your community
  3. Communication — Dialogue is sticky. Active communication online around your audience keeps people around and coming back.
  4. Compelling content — What is going to bring that community back to that blog, or social media account or forum or mobile application? It needs to be content in one of its many forms and it has to be related and compelling to your audience.

What am I missing?

Photo from Flickr user Leo Reynolds.

BarCamp NewsInnovation 2: Who I’m hoping to meet

Nearly 200 journalists, bloggers, innovators and technologists have signed up to attend the free-to-attend second national BarCamp NewsInnovation un-conference held this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Temple University in North Philadelphia.

Last year, lots of attention came from the first national un-conference dedicated to news, information and journalism, and it was when I first became exasperated with the conversation that revolved around advertising and advertising alone as a print mode.

I spoke about community news sites with my two co-founders of Technically Philly and the upcoming challenges of branding online in a print-heavy community with the founder of NEast Philly. In both cases and what I felt was a bit of a trend, the conversation revolved around — even in April 2009 — about what had gone wrong and what we all were going to do about it.

In October, lead BCNI organizer Sean Blanda asked what should be different about the second. Lots of suggestions came his way, but I think one will happen a bit more naturally.

I’m expecting much more of a conversation about what we are doing now about the ‘future of journalism.’ So looking at the long list of attendees, I already have in my mind a handful of people who are doing things that I’ll be interested to meet.

Continue reading BarCamp NewsInnovation 2: Who I’m hoping to meet