Too many reporters still think they’re referees, when really, they’re in the game.
Organization-wide experiments can often be tougher to launch than learn from or reorient around. Once staff is brought on and workflows established, changing anything may be more challenging than ever launching the project to start. That’s when bold leadership is most needed.
That’s been on my mind recently when I’ve thought about the wonderful progress that has come with NewsWorks.org, the online news home for WHYY, the Philadelphia region’s public media outfit. Let’s look at its three-year history and its future and use it as an example for being bold enough to experiment and then knowing when to act on that experiment.
[Full Disclosure: I have friendships and close relationships with nearly a dozen people at WHYY and also sit on their community advisory board, but, while surely that insight informs my perspective, these conclusions are my own and don’t incorporate anything more than what is already public.]
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.
That was among the bigger conversation topics on the hour-long Radio Times episode on which I appeared this week, along with Roseann Rosenthal of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital and Bob Moul of Artisan mobile.
Content partnerships do not work, my colleague Sean Blanda posited last year.
From the very first conversations we’ve had that led to his post, I’ve wanted to prove this wrong. In truth, I do believe in the future, the expectations and roles will be sorted out, and content partnerships will be understood and successful.
But, for now, content partnerships still don’t work.
Near the close of the OpenDataRace, a popularity contest for data sets that affect nonprofit missions, I was asked onto NewsWorks Tonight, the daily, local drive-time news radio show from NPR affiliate WHYY. We recorded the segment last week and it aired Monday.
A newly funded ‘apps and maps’ studio at Temple University could be another part of the ‘connective tissue’ between early stage ideas from novice entrepreneurs and sales worthy or impact-driven ideas, I told WHYY reporter Maiken Scott last week for her story on the news.
In the world of radio, there were a few versions, and I don’t have the full version with my audio included, but below hear two of the audio pieces: one from Maiken and my audio clip that was played following the host’s intro.
Nearly a year after launching, the team behind the NewsWorks community-driven online news effort from WHYY, the Philadelphia public media organization, shared its lessons. It was the third event from a revived local chapter of the Online News Association.
After an hour of beer donated by Boxcar Brewing, sandwiches from the Trolleycar Diner and pretzels from the Center City Soft Pretzel Co., I kicked off the night and introduced WHYY editorial chief Chris Satullo.
Satullo and Don Henry, two of the many leading faces behind the NewsWorks initiative, shared five tasks they got right and five tasks they got wrong. Text of them all and video of the first few below.
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.
NewsWorks Tonight, the daily, local, drive-time news radio program on NPR-affiliate WHYY in Philadelphia, invited me on for a segment that aired Monday about the launch of OpenDataPhilly.org and other new data initiatives.
Though I was sure to note during my interview that OpenDataPhilly was built by development shop Azavea, unfortunately that was cut in the tight finalized product.
Listen to the entire show here. Below, listen to my short segment with host Dave Heller.
In addition to OpenDataPhilly.org, Heller asks me about the OPA Data Liberator project and SEPTA’s new TransitView initiative. To be clear, while related in audience and now included in ODP, those projects were not specifically created by using the data catalog’s information.
I was recently interviewed for WHYY on eBay’s acquisition of regional e-commerce powerhouse GSI Commerce, but this was the first time I appeared on the new local radio program, which launched in May.
Creating a bold and serious collaborative niche membership network with existing and emerging independent media should be a primary objective of WHYY, the Delaware Valley public media organization.
Highlighted by its six-month-old NewsWorks online news site and hyperlocal news experiment, WHYY has attempted to recast itself as something more than a stodgy PBS TV channel and NPR radio affiliate. While progress has surely been made, WHYY is short of being as fully integrated and networked as the ‘public media’ nomenclature might suggest.
Whereas Philly.com is driven primarily by eyeballs and so its strategy should reflect that by becoming a truly comprehensive portal for the region, WHYY is ‘member-supported public media,’ so its driving focus (and its relationship with Philly.com) should reflect that. I’m not entirely sure that’s the case just yet.