Acts of journalism are challenging and at times infrequent things for local news organizations. Pushing a community and seeking to find outcomes through difficult questions is the best of what media can do. Balancing that with the work tied to creating a sustainable news venture is a consuming one. Here’s where I am in my thinking about that process.
When we launched in 2009 what has since become Technical.ly, we always prepared for a content mixture that would include information and community journalism. We were trained in a newspaper worldview that put a type of ethical paradigm and professional standards that we embraced, even as we challenged its traditions.
Along the way, I found out that I want to build something that could have an impact. Pessimists are nothing but spectators and reporters are almost always pessimists.
After four years with the same Technical.ly Philly WordPress theme and six months after our Baltimore launch, we united our brands with a complete redesign under Technical.ly in March.
The design was led by Tom Rose and we partnered on the WordPress development (WordPress multisite) with WebDev Studios. We’re still making our way through bugs and looking toward a second phase, but I’m proud enough of a few design elements that I want to share.
My colleague Brian Kirk and I put no less than a year of thought into the effort, so we offered considerable direction and then watched Tom and WebDev exceed in making those plans a reality. Read a more general assessment of the redesign on our company blog here, and find a recap of our old site here.
Below, find some small elements that I’m most proud of and think should inform your design work.
Both Technically Philly and Technically Baltimore were honored in the prestigious annual ‘Best of’ lists from their respective city magazines this year. It’s really validating and rewarding to get nods in two different cities from prestigious city magazines.
Rather than recite the more than 80 events and 150 partners, I thought I’d share a few Instagram photos I saw that helped me feel the week was growing and proud about my involvement. That’s mostly because the photos were taken by people I didn’t know.
The regional distinction that the Philadelphia technology and business community is trying to carve out for itself is integral to the continued improvement of attracting and retaining talent, and that has little to do with the fool’s errand of trying to recreate itself as a far smaller, broad-based Silicon Valley copy cat.
What’s even better is that, with the help of more than a dozen partners, we’re also organizing the inaugural Baltimore Innovation Week the last week of September, featuring more than 20 events.
It’s an entirely new challenge to go to a new city, though we’ve spent at least a year familiarizing ourselves with Charm City and its meaningful, passionate technology community and have hired a full-time reporter there. Our goal is to take what we’ve learned in Philadelphia and do it better in another city we love: connect entrepreneurship, enterprise, digital access, smarter government and creative and artistic communities at their intersection and try to use news as convener and connector to raise awareness and strengthen their impact on Baltimore.
Let me know if you know anyone we should know. It’s a thrilling opportunity.
The internet doesn’t forget. So I often stockpile perspective (links) for the future.
In 2009, we at Technically Philly were digging our heels into looking at how diversify revenue for a local community news site. In the end, the largest driver turned out to be events, specifically the annual Philly Tech Week we organize. Before then and after some advertising, jobs board and light underwriting revenue, we toyed with donations, gettingsome prominent support and the requisite pushback.
In all the experimentation back then, I saved some great insight, much of which has been relevant lately. As we move back to a new form of that older conversation, I wanted to share a few takeaways from my reading back in 2009.