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15 things Ice T said during an insightful speech at an MIT event I also spoke at

Approach pitching a reporter like any business act, with purpose. I gave an updated version of a presentation I’ve given before on how to get your business media attention, with my continuing to evolve thoughts about the process, as an editor and reporter, to a Small Bytes entrepreneurship conference at MIT in February. But the keynote was rapper turned actor Ice T and proved interesting to be sure.

He was funny, smart and, truly, actually fairly insightful. He knew who he was and was playful about that but he had a long life of experience. It made me think about how valuable time-developed wisdom is. Pop culture or not, he had some wonderful stories with practical thoughts.

Maybe the personally most amusing part was that because I spoke right before Ice T, he watched my talk and referenced it a few times, referring to me as “the reporter.” I will smile for years in the future whenever I think of Ice T saying, after I addressed the crowd and told them that the media doesn’t owe anyone any favors: “Like the reporter said, no one gives a fuck about you.”

Though I was expecting to mostly just be amused, instead, I found myself jotting down a few notes worth remembering. Find them below.

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How civic engagement is changing in Philadelphia

The ways that civic engagement is changing in Philadelphia was the focus of a short keynote I gave to help kickoff the Penn Public Policy Challenge at the Fels Institute of Government on Friday.

I focused on the public-private efforts that have been a defining part of the civic-minded technology community I’ve covered in Philadelphia for the last years. I spoke to about 40 mostly Penn graduate students who will be participating in the competition over the next few months. Find my notes below.

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Civic hacking helps us understand bigger social problems

Civic hacking is the act of using simple technical solutions to address or better understand bigger social problems. That’s something I found myself saying in an effort to better convey why open data and digital civic engagement isn’t just a distant issue for technologists but instead the conversation of transparency for today.

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A photo of a Serengeti lion from a web interactive from National Geographic.

Innovative News Storytelling: 5 ways and dozens of examples

Define the mission underpinning the work of your news organization, and then allow yourself to experiment with new and potentially better ways of telling stories.

That’s my interest in finding new innovative storytelling methods, and so I was excited by the chance to share examples with nearly 100 reporters and educators who visited a session I cohosted during a national news innovation conference in Atlanta last week.

Know why you’re doing your coverage and find the method that best creates that outcome. While that may mean a beautiful, highly produced product like the Serengeti Lion web interactive from National Geographic, depicted above, my focus here is sharing low-cost or free ideas for inspiration.

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Before speaking before this Online News Association 2013 national conference session audience, I was on a Google for Media panel.

5 things I told Google about innovative local reporting online

Before the full Online News Association conference kicked off in Atlanta, I was on a panel discussion about lessons from local reporting online during an event Google held for members of the media.

I was joined by Joaquin Alvarado from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Thomas Wheatley from Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and Bryan Leavoy from WSB-TV and the moderator Daniel Sieberg from Google.

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Judge your social media identity by whether you’d want to hang with yourself at a bar [Knight event]

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I’m only as good as my audience is — if they’re the audience you want to know about your work and I have more of them than you do, you want coverage from me. That’s the value proposition of media coverage as I tried to convey it on a panel discussion I was a part of yesterday.

I was proudly asked to be on a panel about media relationships at the first ever day-long Philadelphia grantee conference from the Knight Foundation. The logic was to offer some programming and bring together the 100 or so grantees that Knight has touched in Philadelphia. Held at the Barnes Foundation, I was honored enough to be in the audience, set aside speaking.

Full Disclosure, I was there because Technically Philly is a grantee — Knight was a generous support of Philly Tech Week.

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Civic Innovation: my answers to 7 questions I asked this Mayors’ Innovation Summit panel

Textizen CEO Michelle Lee giving her lightning talk before our panel on civic innovation, which featued, from left, Michael Brennan of SecondMuse, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems, Keya Dannenbaum of ElectNext, Alex Hillman of Indy Hall and myself.

Textizen CEO Michelle Lee giving her lightning talk before our panel on civic innovation, which featued, from left, Michael Brennan of SecondMuse, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems, Keya Dannenbaum of ElectNext, Alex Hillman of Indy Hall and myself. Photo lovingly stolen from Aaron Ogle.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors held its annual Mayors’ Innovation Summit in Philadelphia last week, and I moderated a panel Friday morning focused on ‘civic innovation,’ a fancy phrasing for a new era of groundswell public-private partnerships growing out of technology and creative communities across the country.

As is custom, I shared beforehand some questions I wanted to ask the group, and while we didn’t get to all of them because we got into some good conversations, I figured I’d share my perspective on those questions.

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