Solutions Journalism used to be sort of a buzz word, a trend. I’d show up to conferences and inevitably find a session about it, half of which was spent explaining the concept and answering questions that started with, “No, this isn’t advocacy.”
After nearly three years with our small Philly media startup, I’ve been promoted to editor of Billy Penn.
This comes during an exciting time for our parent company, Spirited Media, but I’m most excited about what’s ahead for our seven-person staff in Philly.
Business and journalism rarely come together they way they should at conferences. So I was delighted to moderate a panel at the What If Innovation Festival last month at Temple University.
The festival was organized by and targeted to students at the Fox School of Business, and I moderated three lightening panels with Philadelphia entrepreneurs about starting, growing and sustaining young businesses.
I found my people in February in Gainesville. They were the speakers and guests at the Journalism Interactive Conference at the University of Florida, where I hosted a session about mobile news.
Anyone who’s been to a journalism conference knows these things can be hit or miss. The session about monetization turns out to be some guy talking about why his newspaper is the special exception to the downward spiral of ad revenue. The social media workshop is run by some newsroom’s intern whose presentation is all fluff and no strategy.
I learned a lot at J/i, but I also had some very interesting conversations with journalists and journalism instructors doing important, innovative work. I don’t love talking about journalism and journalists; I’d much rather do it and teach it. J/i was full of people just like that who were there to talk about what they’re trying and figure out how to incorporate one another’s successes into their newsrooms and classrooms.
Some exciting news: I’m now the managing editor for Billy Penn, the mobile news website I joined pre-launch in 2014.
The new title comes on the heels of a broader announcement for our company — an investment from Gannett that will allow us to hire more positions in Philly and launch new brands in other markets.
I got married. It’s pretty exciting. We tied the knot July 25 — six months ago already! — but I began my name change prep several months before that. Changing your name takes a lot of work. It’s not that any one thing is difficult or costly, but there’s a lot. And because so much of what we do online is connected, changing one thing often means having to change four or five other things.
In addition to the Multimedia Storytelling class I’ve been teaching for a few years at Temple University, this semester I’m also teaching Journalism Research.
Students in this required course, mostly sophomores, learn how to use various databases, library tools and social media to research and verify information, and then determine how to use that information in their reporting.
I gave them a pretty simple assignment for our very first class: Google me and tell me what you find. The idea here was to measure the baseline of their search skills – what are they checking, where does that lead them, and how deep will they dive?
The results are below.