Forty leaders in Philadelphia media were on hand last week for the unveiling of a structure to develop more public affairs journalism in the region, as proposed by a university research center on behalf of the William Penn Foundation.
From 8:30 a.m. to after 2 p.m. on Jan. 7 inside the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission conference room of the American College of Physicians Building in Old City, a series of discussions focused on bolstering the next generation of news gathering in Philadelphia around community-building and replacing competition with collaboration.
Explicit details were left slim to encourage a dialogue, but loosely defined, Jan Schaffer, the executive director of American University-housed J-Lab, recommended an aggregated content hub that could be supplemented by a limited editorial team. The funded sustainability of that recommendation was not detailed, but rather suggested to be put off for three years until an appropriate level of support was developed, she said. Hers were only recommendations for the Penn Foundation. No action was announced, nor taken.
Rather, Schaffer, a former Philadelphia Inquirer business editor and Pulitzer Prize winner, led a fact-finding research project for the better part of 2009 on behalf of the Penn Foundation, which included more than 60 interviews and ran from July to October. The day was her chance to gauge response. She has not yet submitted a formal proposal but, she said, expects to do so this quarter. Last week’s open unveiling and ensuing feedback would inform her final suggestions, she said.
The ramifications of what Schaffer proposes could have a historic impact. That is, if anything happens at all.
Whether Web technology and social media can have a major impact on local politics in a place like Philadelphia or if they remain secondary tools, became the major topic and a divided one at a panel that served as the November Refresh Philly meeting.
Panel member Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg, a co-founder of progressive policy online forum Young Philly Politics, seemed dogged in his assessment that the Web remains a supplementary tool to traditional campaign field operations.
Panel member Benjamin Barnett, the micro-blogger for statewide campaign news site pa2010.com spoke about the role the Web could have in boosting the profile and followship of otherwise limited candidates, most notably citywide Republican candidate in heavily Democratic Philadelphia.
I made it to four sessions, spoke at two and helped divvy out the sponsored food during the long day which officially went from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., though I was out of the house before eight a.m. and not home before 11 p.m. (after a bumping after part).
These conferences are structured around creating dialogues and allowing anyone to speak on something important to him, so nobodies like me led sessions next door to ones held by executives, editors and reporters from places like the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, GateHouse Media, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com, McClatchy News and, likely more than I don’t know about. I mean, gees, the whole growing crew at Publish2, which develops tools for what it calls collaborative journalism, showed up.
KYW News radio Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo kindly agreed to show me the rough ropes of radio reporting and production on Monday. Below hear my report – with his lede – and the script – with much credit to Tony.
The Democratic candidate for Attorney General today challenged the way his incumbent opponent has handled the so-called “Bonusgate” investigation of the Pennsylvania legislature. Christopher Wink reports…
Hear Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett at his 2 P.M. news conference…
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Tom Corbett today filed charges against a dozen figures in the payroll bonus scandal, including former House Democratic Whip Michael Veon and current state Rep. Sean Ramaley.
Reports by two grand juries — one in Pittsburgh and another sitting here — laid out an array of accusations, including a conspiracy to deliver more than $1 million in state-paid bonuses to House employees who worked on political campaigns. Mr. Ramaley, 33, D-Economy, was accused of working full-time on his 2004 House campaign in Beaver County while drawing a taxpayer salary as a member of Mr. Veon’s staff.