The tool, which is meant to be a part of the digital access conversation, was unveiled formally with an event in City Hall, featuring Mayor Nutter and a panel discussion I moderated on improving access and literacy online for low-income Philadelphians.
Editor’s Note: I’ve given this presentation several times, so it’s been updated through the years. I’ve also written on this subject here and here — and here.
When pitching your venture or product, send a business or technology reporter a three sentence email, explaining in super simple language (a) what your project is, (b) why it matters and (b) who you are.
See my presentation slides above or find it here and past writing on the subject here and here. My colleague Sean Blanda has a post giving broad advice here, which includes a great list of questions to be prepated for, though I was a bit more specific to the 30 entrepreneurs in the room on starting the conversation. Details on my slide below.
First, let’s acknowledge that three years is not a terribly long time.
Still, I’m proud that three years ago last month, Brian James Kirk, Sean Blanda and I launched a blog to cover the technology community of Philadelphia. Three years later, we are full-time employees of a growing business with a good reputation.
In that time, we’ve had some accomplishments that are worth being proud of. It’s been a learning experience to be sure.
First, our organization is changing in lots of ways.
In short, the two biggest trends I feel have happened are that (a) we rely considerably less on other media than we did when we started and (b) many, many more people reach out to us directly than in the beginning. OK, that may seem obvious.
Perhaps more interesting is my overall assessment that, despite what I might want to believe, relatively few stories are based purely on a hunch, a thesis or an idea of mine. They happen — and I’m proud when they do — but, like journalists have always been, my role is still more to give context and connect dots.
We at Technically Philly are in the process of hiring our first reporter — to begin as an independent contractor expected to make something like $30,000 in a 12-month period. That’s a respectable, entry-level salary for a young, hungry reporter in a big market.
Unless you think otherwise. A freelancer friend of mine gave me a little grief, said she had a $30,000 salary when she started in 2004, expecting the total to have gone up in the ensuing years. I tried to remind her that in the years since she started, the momentum on subscription declines and advertising reductions have accelerated, not to mention a recession that stalled, if not shrunk, salary growth.
In short, her argument seemed to redouble my confidence that our small startup, for-profit technology news site was doing alright to budget $30,000 for a young reporter who would focus on reporting, social media and outreach. Her argument did something else though. It made me think there may still be shocks left in this generation-long restructuring in news from higher-yield print monopoly to lower-yield, online competition.
The open calendar of events was first held this past April, attracting more than 4,000 people attended at least one of 65 events held throughout the city and surrounding counties during the inaugural celebration. See my roundup of the event series impact here.
Find the story online here, and my section here. Go buy a copy.
I was included for being one of three co-founders of local technology news site Technically Philly and being involved in the development of the city’s startup and hacker communities. I was perhaps most pleased that I have so far survived the Philly.com comments, mostly because I have helped build a small for-profit with three full-time employees.
While I am certainly proud to be included, I am humbled knowing that there are so many other young Philadelphians making great change. There is no way this list of 10 could do that justice. It’s just a highlight of some of us, and I’m proud to be part of it, but I am more than aware of how many others could have been on this list.
For the record, though, I am only 25, not 27. I should also say that I am certainly nervous about being included because of my relatively small contribution at such a young age. I look forward to being involved in much more in the future.
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.
It is the last major feature of the Transparencity grant project I’ve been leading, and one of the more detailed investigative reports I’ve done in my journalism career. The feature, which details the nearly two-year struggle to go public with a project with internal support, is meant to show the lessons learned and obstacles faced in the hopes that future city agencies can more efficiently release their data publicly for development and citizen use.
Give it a read, for lessons to be taken for any local government. and then find some of what didn’t make it into the piece below.