Think like a reader: Tips from my ONACamp presentation in Indianapolis


First let me say the day-long mini conference the Online News Association invited me to present at in Indianapolis was impressive in many ways.

  • There were some great presenters from all over the country, including Storyful’s Mandy Jenkins, who shared useful some social search tips without overstating the obvious.
  • The Indianapolis Star was a great host (they have Mt. Dew cans!), and people drove from as far as Ohio and St. Louis to attend.
  • Attendees were a refreshing mix of reporters, editors, producers and social media managers from all kinds of publications (shout-out to Angie’s List, who showed up 15 strong).

ONA does these “camps” regularly, and I was invited to present alongside Josh Stearns, director of journalism & sustainability at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and a must-follow source for local news engagement strategies. Continue reading

Doing more with less in a newsroom: My BarCamp News Innovation presentation


The very first presentation I ever gave to group of professional peers was at Philly’s BarCamp News Innovation in 2009. I was about to graduate from Temple University’s School of Media & Communication and had just launched NEast Philly. Along came the first-ever BCNI and a couple hundred journalists eager to talk about news. Conveniently located in Temple’s Journalism School building, no less.

Six years later, and I’ve presented twice more at BCNI — three years ago on behalf of NewsWorks, where I was transitioning a breaking news blog into a social media strategy, and two weeks ago in my current role as Billy Penn’s community manager.

I prepared a few slides, seen below, about Billy Penn’s strategy for doing more with less and making our five-person team look and feel more like 50. Some highlights: Continue reading

Panel appearance: Discussing news industry trends and obstacles with fellow Temple University alumni


What are the obstacles and opportunities in today’s media landscape? I spent a couple hours on the evening of April 23 talking about just that with David Board, dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, and three of my fellow alumni: Kurtis Lee of the Los Angeles Times, David Wood of The Huffington Post and Steve Capus of CBS Evening News. Continue reading

How I do my job using just the contents of my purse



I’ve always admired Philly-based visual marketing firm Curalate‘s #MarketingMix Instagram feature that takes followers inside the bags of industry professionals.

The idea is pretty simple: marketers upload photos of the content of their bags that help them get their jobs done. The visual web experts at Curalate add the banner, a filter and a description of your work, and the internet handles the rest.

It’s fascinating to me how photos of wallets and devices and the occasional pack of gum can tell you so much about a person’s job. So I was pretty excited when, after just a few tweets with Curalate, I found myself holed up in a phone booth at my coworking space artfully arranging the contents of my purse to share with the world. Continue reading

Questioning Philly’s mayoral candidates at the Fox29 debate

#fox29demsdebate on Thursday, April 23, 2014 at St. Joseph's University

#fox29demsdebate on Thursday, April 23, 2014 at St. Joseph’s University

Six Democrats are vying to be Philly’s next mayor, and with the primary less than a month away, Fox29 hosted one of three televised debates to get the candidates to talk about important Philly issues.

These candidates’ schedule are absolutely ridiculous, with one 60-hour stretch including no fewer than 10 debates. But televised debates are king because of the accessibility. Along with journalists from students from St. Joseph’s University and journalists from Fox, 900AM WURD and Al Dia, I represented Billy Penn on the panel. Continue reading

My keynote address at the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association community engagement workshop



I had the opportunity Nov. 13 to geek out with other community managers and socially savvy reporters when the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association invited me to keynote their Sharon Johnson Memorial Workshop on community engagement.

My speech focused on what I refer to as “maximizing the message and minimizing the messenger” — basically, putting news and information ahead of an organization’s brand.

The work I do at Billy Penn revolves around engaging different communities according to their preferences, and making sure the first thing we do is inform them. So often — because it’s so easy for content to get lost online — news organizations make it a point to remind their audiences who’s informing them. Only News 1 spoke with this councilman about this issue! Our reporter Jane Schmo attended a major education meeting and has all the details for you! Where’s the information in those sentences? Why have we forgotten that our job as news professionals is to inform people?

I kept my speech to about 15 minutes so everyone at the workshop could have a full half-hour to ask questions of me and others, and to share their experiences with community engagement. There were about 25 people in attendance, and I think this is one of the most productive conversations about industry issues that I’ve been a part of in these workshop settings. It doesn’t matter if you work at a small startup like I do, at a legacy newspaper covering state politics, or for a smaller publication covering local issues — everyone has community engagement tales to tell and scars to show. Continue reading