One Percent for Art Ordinance: in Philly, a percentage of all public construction costs must go to art

In Hawthorne Park at 12th and Catharine in South Philadelphia, this lectern was commissioned to commemorate a speech in 1965 that Martin Luther King Jr. gave on that spot when it was a housing project. It was funded as part of the city’s ‘One Percent for Art’ ordinance.

Visiting the freshly renovated Hawthorne Park in South Philadelphia recently had me reading casual references to this city’s celebrated, half-century old One Percent for Art Ordinance. Though I’ve come to know it and it’s often called a major reason for this city’s reputation for public art, I haven’t been able to find much writing of its roots.

Since so many other cities have followed this trend, I thought it was worth sussing out where the idea originated.

Continue reading One Percent for Art Ordinance: in Philly, a percentage of all public construction costs must go to art

A reporter is only as good as his sources (are organized)

The old saying goes that a reporter is only as good as his sources.

To tell or find a story, one needs to have the resources and access to perspective and insight. In my few years as a journalist, I’ve taken considerable effort to build relationships and gather sources.

That mostly amounted to piles and piles of business cards. Thankfully, two tools have allowed me to take considerable control over that mess.

First, almost since the very beginning of my collecting sources in college, I have obsessively updated my contacts in my Gmail account, including emails, phone numbers, even birthdays and mailing addresses when possible. Taking it further, I include headshots and a description of when I first met the person and what their relevance is, to ease my ability to remember the person.

Second and most recently, with my first smartphone and Macbook following this and this,I’m able to sync those Gmail contacts to my phone, allowing me to have access to those contacts more readily, as I try to develop as many text and Gchat relationships, it’s proven a great tool.

Which is good, because as important as it is to have good sources, it doesn’t matter if you can’t find them.

District 172: John Perzel coverage for NEast Philly, funded by JLab


Though I took part in three of 14 JLab-funded Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund projects, first announced here last fall, I led one of them.

For Northeast Philadelphia hyperlocal NEast Philly, I helped lead the editorial direction of a project called District 172: the politics of change after state Rep. John Perzel.

Following the indicted former state Speaker of the House, whose corruption trial has been postponed until the fall, we covered what the impact the loss of a 30-year state leader would be on his district, particularly a small swath that had served as his political base.


Find all the coverage here.

I had the following roles:

Who is teaching the next generation of journalists?

Editors have been cut. I assume there are more young journalists freelancing and those with staff jobs can’t be getting the same attention. College journalism professors are almost all naturally inclined to a generation no longer here.

Who the hell is teaching the next generation of journalists?

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I hate PR-infused e-mail quotes

Some folks in public relations relish the opportunity for their clients to respond to journalists in e-mail.

The message can be crafted, measured and direct. Really, it ought to be a great opportunity, but most times, in my experience, I see the difference between a wizard in media manipulation and some hack. The lessons are for reporters and PR reps alike.

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My 10 favorite journalist bloggers

There are blogs and there are bloggers. There are mainstream blogs and there are those that aren’t.

Blogging, in my mind, isn’t necessarily, but a new transition that is one part of a test of big media. Can they develop and innovate quickly enough?

Below find my 10 favorite journalist bloggers: reporters associated with a mainstream medium who actively blog.

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My five favorite pieces of journalism ever (and of 2008)

Ever think about the best stories you’ve ever read?

What’s special about newsprint is how we clip those stories. We save them. I wanted to collect my favorite journalism pieces of my short life and share them with you. I have wanted to do this for sometime.

Below, find my five favorite and a slew of my favorites from 2008, more generally than my favorite Philadelphia pieces of the year that I shared earlier this month.

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SHRM: Smart Wireless Connectivity Key to Data Protection

My first story for the Society of Human Resource Management magazine appeared online yesterday. It focuses on the dangers that face mobile employees who use unsecured wireless networks and what human resource professionals need to know about the trends.

You can’t read it because it’s by subscription. Instead, I’ll give you my lede and what I cut from my first clip in a trade publication.

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Newest BNET Energy-industry blogger, me

Talk to me in a few weeks. I ought to be some sort of expert on the global energy industry.

Largely on the back of my internship with the Philadelphia Business Journal and my blogging experience in a variety of venues, I am proud to say that I’ve gotten a gig blogging on the energy industry for BNET Industries, an industry-news provider and subsidiary of CBS Interactive.

That means I have a steady alternative revenue stream – for the time being. It isn’t full-time, so no health insurance, but for a freelance journalist, it’s a golden gig to get some steady money (more tips like that in a future post).

Continue reading Newest BNET Energy-industry blogger, me