Beat reporters: stop hanging out with other journalists and spend more time with your community

I say this fully admitting I’m an active, proud and lively member of the Pen and Pencil Club, a private journalist’s association and bar in my hometown Philadelphia.

Journalists, especially community and beat reporters, should spend a lot more time with their communities than with other in news media. For sure, you can get great professional development and important understanding from meeting with your colleagues. But count up the number of hours you spend with other reporters and compare it with your community in person: which one is the bigger number?

This was among my clearest points from a talk I gave at the third annual Entrepreneurial Journalism Educators Summit organized by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Below are my slides and some notes.

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How I described what I do for a living to a classroom of first graders

If you can’t describe what you do to a child, you don’t actually know what you do.

Sure, in an era of disruption and distraction, we are changing and evolving roles and organizations and missions rapidly enough that to kids and even other adults outside our industries, the details can get fuzzy. But the idea here is that your core purpose has almost surely been seen before.

So can you describe what you do at its simplest form?

I got this challenge when I agreed to do a Career Day this month at Adaire, a public K-8 school in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia in which I live. (The school has a fun history dating to the 1890s, including the above-depicted first building and a more conventional one used today)

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Cybersecurity is about to get a whole lot bigger

The cybersecurity community will need to widen its focus, both for talent attraction, collaborative defense and inclusion.

That was the basic premise of my keynote this morning at the inaugural Cybersecurity in Action, Research and Education conference. Since I am not a cybersecurity executive or academic, my goal was to simply share some interesting examples of the cyber conversations that our team at Technical.ly is dutifully reporting on.

Find my slides and links below.

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Here’s the audio from my on-stage interview of Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney

In front of an audience of 150 civil servants and economic development executives from throughout the mid-Atlantic, I interviewed last week Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney for the second annual Rise conference on civic innovation we at Technical.ly organize.

Find the transcript and write-up here. Below listen to the audio,

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How Open Source is Changing the World: my keynote speech at FOSSCON

To an audience of 100, I gave the keynote at FOSSCON, a one-day, open source conference held in Philadelphia for attendees from around the country this Saturday. (I also covered the event for Technical.ly here).

It was easily the most technical event at which I had a prominent speaker role — usually, I’m a side show to offer reporting background on a related issue. This time, I was closing out the event, which featured prominent open source leaders. But I wasn’t there to offer technical insight — which I don’t have — but instead meant to take reporting perspective and put it through the open source lens.

My title was “How Open Source is Changing the World,” and the argument was that open source software culture has shaped so many other changes happening in local tech communities — how technical recruiting gets done, why governments are pursuing open data, where tech businesses are locating.

I did an OK job at this.

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Temple University’s Fox School honored me with the ‘Self Made and Making Others’ award

I’m proud to say that the Fox Business School of my alma mater Temple University honored me with their third annual ‘Self-Made and Making Others’ award during the Be Your Own Boss Bowl.

The honor is a recognition for entrepreneurial work that helps others do the same. I gave a keynote address to students and other alumni, which I wrote out and shared below but mostly just used as notes.

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Choose a time, not a place to live: my piece for our live Technical.ly podcast

I helped organize our first ever live Technical.ly podcast and, in addition to helping to produce the event, I put together one of the main pieces.

My point? We don’t really choose a Place to live. We choose a Time in a Place to live.

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