Why do so many people hate journalists so much?

Why do so many people hate journalists so much? I think part of the answer is journalism isn’t only what you think it is. Gimme a sec.

Spoiler: I’m a journalist but more properly I’m a guy who founded a local news organization 15 years ago. Still going! So my entire professional career has been spent on the sustainability of local journalism. Career choices!

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I read 56 books in 2023

Gosh, that was a lot.

How? Well, a baby waking up at 5am ended up resulting in my reading way more than usual. Poor sleep all around, come to think of it, so in some sense I hope I don’t read this many books again. I also gave up most TV weeknights, though I already didn’t watch much. Find all my reading notes here, and see the list below.

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2024 Resolutions

I’ve started 2024 to continue what I started last year.

Looking back at years of resolutions I’ve had both sorts of plans: when I wanted to make change, and when I wanted to continue the work of the year prior. This year I intend to be more of the latter — no big changes intended. My post pandemic life emerged in 2023. I hope for 2024 to be stronger because of it.

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My 2023 in review

I’ll now always consider 2020-2022 as three pandemic years, and 2023 as something resembling a return. Much of what I did this year felt like setting a new normal, which I hope to continue in 2024.

I felt more sure as a parent, got back on a plane and felt so much more was in place at work. There were challenges to be sure, but I’m heartened to look at back at something more like the open life I’ve been lucky to have. Below, I share some highlights and review progress on my resolutions.

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Economic development strategies must focus on people, not companies

Economic strategies should focus on people, not companies.

It was always true but the pandemic made it obvious, as Technical.ly reporting has shown. I said something like that in an opening keynote before leading a conversation at the Young, Smart & Local conference in New Orleans last week. I then got to lead a conversation with Dominique Clarke of Tulsa Remote and Perry Sholes. I’ve written on the topic before, but I pulled together data analysis across my reporting. My slides and other pics courtesy of the conference are below.

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Named an ‘Advocate for Equity’

Though I was confident I wasn’t going to win, this really was one of those times where I felt honored to be nominated.

I was listed among five collaborators and genuine friends as a nominee to be called a top “Advocate for Equity” by 1Philadelphia, a new initiative focused on inclusive innovation in the region. My bud Michael O’Bryan, who runs a consultancy and is a popular champion of equity efforts, took the honor at an event Saturday. It was part of what the group calls its Innovation Weekend.

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When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic

Kids who graduates with high marks at high-achieving schools were later put into a high-risk category for mental health disorders.

Something felt off, so journalist Jennifer Breheny Wallace wrote ” “Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic-and What We Can Do About It.”

I read it as a parent, so my notes are scant but the point is clear: Pushing kids for academic achievements can reverse course years later. Better to encourage a healthy and happy relationship with learning. Trouble is that short-term outcomes look good for pushing kids — grades go up — but on the longtail, they’re less happy.

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Middle managers matter: remarks at TAB event

1 in 5 professionals in the United States now manages people — major growth since 2000, as our economy has shifted. Lots of them are there for the wrong reasons. The good ones do magic. I said something like this on behalf of Technical.ly next to honeygrow founder/CEO Justin Rosenberg and ORS Partners ops Leslie Hafter at this energizing breakfast conversation put on by Matthew Saline and Mike Krupit for the TAB CEO community. Thanks for the opportunity!

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Writing for Busy Readers

More words add nuance but clutters central message. Which is your preference: the details or the point?

It isn’t always one or the other, but if you’re writing for busy readers and broader audiences, you ought focus on the point. That’s among the themes from a new book by Jessica Lasky-Fink and Todd Rogers called “Writing for Busy Readers: Communicate More Effectively in the Real World.” Add it to a helpful collection of writing about writing that I enjoy.

They have a nice simplified chart here on a site of resources. Below I share my notes for future reference.

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