Why did you become a journalist?

Zoltan Glass: A Journalist writing in his BMW, Paris 1934 © Science & Society Picture Library, UK

I was asked what it is I actually enjoy about this journalism world, its form and practice.

So I rattled off some answers:

  • I like writing
  • I like telling stories.
  • I like getting a little bit closer to truth.
  • I like focusing on different conversations.
  • I love asking questions and learning.

All of my interest and focus on business has come from these passions, though, entrepreneurship itself has certainly become intertwined, as building your own company is one hell of an education.

My 10 Most trafficked posts of 2010

You can learn a lot by looking at what you’ve done over a year.

So, while I try to get better at making goals and sticking to them, I have an eye to my work here, because this has always been a place for experimentation and learning, where I develop my thoughts, my writing and my style.

So, like I did last year and the year before, I’ve looked at the 15 most trafficked posts I’ve written here.

Looking at the list I think there are two specific lessons to be learned:

  • Original Reporting rocks — It’s just what I saw in Technically Philly’s roundup of top stories. In this list of 10, seven featured first-issue original reporting, two offered insider commentary and one offered a strong opinion. No aggregation, summaries or general perspective made it to the list, though I do all those kinds of posts too and those kind of posts dominated my 2008 list and had more influence on my 2009 list.
  • Time matters — This site gets a relatively low-level of traffic (the top post on this list received fewer than 500 hits this year), so the sheer amount of time a post is up is magnified. With bigger traffic sites, the first week of traffic can largely overcome a long tail. However in my case, just one of the 10 posts was created in the last four months, and I don’t think that’s due to lack of relatively meaningful content. So, with lower traffic sites, the longer a post is up has a greater impact on its overall traffic than with higher traffic sites.

That said, here are the posts. Draw your own conclusions:

10. Newsworks: WHYY online news brand launching means a lot to these legacies — Nov. 22

Find the other nine below.

Continue reading My 10 Most trafficked posts of 2010

My 2011 Professional Resolutions

Yes, I’m doing a resolutions post. If for no other reason than to hold myself accountable.

Looking at last year’s professional goals, which were much more about staying afloat financially, I think this year, the theme is laying the foundation of sustainability to grow a business and opportunities at journalism and the like.

I broke them out more specifically by month, as I did for last year’s personal resolutions:

Continue reading My 2011 Professional Resolutions

If I had unlimited money to invest in growing Philadelphia journalism

Smart people are making calculated investments in Philadelphia’s journalism community.

It’s clearly something about which I am passionate and devoted. It’s also something I put a lot of thought into. This weekend, I found myself returning to a thought process of the past, just free associating everything I would invest in if money was no object toward growing Philadelphia journalism.

Of course, money is a big object, but the brainstorm can help. I share my thoughts below and would love to hear what I am missing or what I seem to be paying too much attention to.

Continue reading If I had unlimited money to invest in growing Philadelphia journalism

Voting information in Philadelphia

Major contentious midterm elections take place the nation over today.

Despite the enthusiasm, I’m the reason why getting 60 percent of 170 million registered U.S. voters out there would be a triumph.

I’m fairly politically aware — even my interests are more in local policy than national — and have been involved in government and campaigning in the past. But, like most Americans, I have an excuse.

I spend most of the time leading up to an election pondering the journalism around it, listening and debating both sides — in short, seeing the election through my own prism (in my case, that means something of a balanced journalist).

Continue reading Voting information in Philadelphia

The Wire: yeah, the HBO Baltimore drama is mad decent

I take something of pride in sometimes indulging in great cultural luxuries long after their novelty has waned.

With that knowledge, I’ll share my thoughts on finishing the complete five-season DVD set of celebrated HBO drama ‘the Wire‘ to encourage readers to watch it again, assuming you’ve seen the show at some point since it first aired in 2002.

It’s not difficult at all to piggyback that suggestion onto the concept of the state of media and the future of news.

David Simon, the creator and primary writer of the serial drama based on the inner-workings of drugs, policing and politicking in gritty post-industrial Baltimore, was himself, quite famously, a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun, giving him a career of insight.

Notably, each of the five seasons take on a different focus of the Baltimore city structure — from the drug trade, to unions to policing to, yes, reporting. So in the past few weeks after finishing the final season, I’ve delved into writing, stories, concepts and conversations. Even if you know the show well, it might be worth seeing what’s out there and, yes, connect it to media.

Continue reading The Wire: yeah, the HBO Baltimore drama is mad decent

BarCamp NewsInnovation 2: Who I’m hoping to meet

Nearly 200 journalists, bloggers, innovators and technologists have signed up to attend the free-to-attend second national BarCamp NewsInnovation un-conference held this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Temple University in North Philadelphia.

Last year, lots of attention came from the first national un-conference dedicated to news, information and journalism, and it was when I first became exasperated with the conversation that revolved around advertising and advertising alone as a print mode.

I spoke about community news sites with my two co-founders of Technically Philly and the upcoming challenges of branding online in a print-heavy community with the founder of NEast Philly. In both cases and what I felt was a bit of a trend, the conversation revolved around — even in April 2009 — about what had gone wrong and what we all were going to do about it.

In October, lead BCNI organizer Sean Blanda asked what should be different about the second. Lots of suggestions came his way, but I think one will happen a bit more naturally.

I’m expecting much more of a conversation about what we are doing now about the ‘future of journalism.’ So looking at the long list of attendees, I already have in my mind a handful of people who are doing things that I’ll be interested to meet.

Continue reading BarCamp NewsInnovation 2: Who I’m hoping to meet

The basics of a news story in five bullet points and five minutes

I shared the rough curriculum I had established for working with a journalism club at a neighborhood school before my time there was cut short.

Just a week after I took a full-time job and told the club’s adviser that I’d have to take a bit of a sabbatical from my time there, I wanted to give a primer to have a conversation about the basics of journalism with her students.

In fewer than ten minutes, I tried to bottle an entire journalism degree into five bullet points. Clearly I missed plenty.

Below, see what I shared. Let me know what giant holes these high school kids will have in their foundation because of my failures!

Continue reading The basics of a news story in five bullet points and five minutes

Five rules of freelancing I found and didn’t always follow

I pursued lots of advice in my young freelance career. A lot of it has been good. A lot of it has been repetitive.

In fact, I’ve heard five pieces of advice perhaps more often than any others. Funny enough, they may be among the pieces of advice the ones I still have the most work to do on mastering.

In hoping you can do a better job than I can, below I share the fives rules of freelancing I have been told and failed to follow most often.

Continue reading Five rules of freelancing I found and didn’t always follow