First thoughts on Axis Philly next steps: journalism collab CEO leaves

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After four years of planning, there will be another strategy direction in the coming months for the collaborative journalism effort that has been an interest of the high-profile William Penn Foundation for the better part of a decade.

Last March, some movement was taken by Neil Budde, the former news executive who was brought into town to take leadership of the now branded AxisPhilly.org, but, citing a growing gulf in expectations between him and funders, his departure was announced earlier this month after just a year and a half on the job. As it was said in the official release: Budde agreed to step aside “in light of its inability to raise sufficient second-round funding to support an aggressive initial business model.”

In other words, Budde spent more and made less than his funders desired and was heading in a direction that didn’t have the full support of the leadership and advisers at the Center for Public Interest Journalism, which is housed at Temple University and is administering the William Penn grant (updated: changes at the top of Temple’s communications school may also impact here, I’m reminded). But, as I’ll share below, Budde might likely argue he didn’t get the time he needed to get where he wanted to go.

In either case, in the coming weeks, an advisory board, foundation officials, consultants and university administrators will lead a group of identified stakeholders and Axis staff members through another strategy effort to, again, steer what is left of the funding toward a goal that, at its origins, was to grow the level of public affairs journalism and civic dialogue in Philadelphia.

As an interested observer and in an effort to gather my thoughts, I want to share here what I think could come next for Axis Philly, expecting to want to refine this after getting feedback. As per usual when I write these things, this is a massive collection of thoughts, not a neatly curated treatise.

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First 100 days as CEO of the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network: advice for Neil Budde

Neil Budde in July 1997 as Wall Street Journal interactive editor. Photo by Ted Thai for LIFE magazine.

A leader for a major public affairs journalism project at Temple University in Philadelphia began his role last week.

I was excited to find in February that Neil Budde, whose claim to fame is being the founding editor of WSJ.com, would be the CEO of the new, temporarily-named Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network. Everyone closer to the project than I and others who know Budde in other ways have all had positive remarks.

The impact of an organization like that on information communities in Philadelphia can be a thrilling thing to watch. By way of full disclosure, I did have early-stage conversations about the position and the project on the recommendation of others. That said, I’m eager to have further discussion with Budde.

With all that said, I wanted to share some thoughts on what goals Budde might seek in his first 100 days the PPIIN CEO.

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MinnPost CEO Joel Kramer: notes on dinner with the founder of the profitable news nonprofit

MinnPost CEO Joel Kramer has dinner with a collection of Philadelphia journalism stakeholders.

A small group of journalism practitioners in Philadelphia were treated with the chance to have dinner and throw questions at MinnPost CEO Joel Kramer Tuesday night. Kramer is the former publisher of the Minneapolis Start-Tribune and a frequent example of success in growing public affairs journalism online.

I was blessed to be among them and certainly took the chance to ask an array of questions about his efforts of building a statewide public policy news nonprofit that I haven’t seen answered in the considerable coverage of his efforts.

Among the celebrated local news representatives there was the newly named CEO of the local journalism institute at Temple, Neil Budde.

Though much more was handled in the 90-minute conversation that followed a public Q&A session that I heard was well-attended and lively, I wanted to share some notes I took out of this more intimate, though on-the-record, setting.

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Neil Budde named founding CEO of Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network [Press Release]

Neil Budde, founding editor and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Online

News has broken of the new CEO of the multi-million dollar journalism initiative housed at Temple, a project I’ve written about before here, but I hadn’t seen any confirmation posted yet, so I thought I’d share the press release from Temple that was sent my way.

PRESS RELEASE:

PHILADELPHIA – The Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater (www.cpijournalism) has named Neil Budde as the founding CEO of the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (PPIIN).

Budde (pronounced buddy) will lead the development of PPIIN (a placeholder name until the organization is founded and branded), a collaborative organization intended to help increase the amount and quality of news and information in the Greater Philadelphia region. It is funded through a $2.4 million grant to the School of Communications and Theater from the William Penn Foundation.

Budde was hired for his demonstrated management skills in enterprises involving journalism and technology, and his experience in anticipating and successfully accommodating for innovations and trends. Budde was most recently executive vice president at ePals and president of DailyMe, a start-up focused on delivering personalized news and information. Prior to this, Budde served as editor in chief of Yahoo News and founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal Online (WSJ.com). Budde was also involved nationally in the Online News Association, serving on its board for five years, and The News Literacy Project.

Continue reading Neil Budde named founding CEO of Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network [Press Release]