BillyPenn.com is a Philadelphia news website designed for mobile devices and written for the under-40 crowd.
– I keep our newsroom and our website running on a daily basis by fine-tuning pitches, assigning stories, building newsletters and editing content.
– I work directly with the VP of sales and events to plan and execute monthly events, develop sponsorship packages and curate attendance for events, which are Billy Penn’s primary revenue stream.
– I’ve helped hire and on-board more than 10 people in Philadelphia, and have played an integral role in the parent company’s expansion in multiple markets by developing newsroom strategies and best practices.
– As the first hire of the bootstrapped Billy Penn, I developed the site’s strong voice, started the social media accounts and helped launch the first version of the website in 2014.
NewsWorks.org is the news website of WHYY, Philadelphia’s public media station.
– I managed a $1 million grant project from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that united three smaller projects with several consultants across multiple WHYY departments. My team developed mobile apps designed to gamify audience acquisition and a proof-of-concept analytics dashboard that combined site traffic, membership numbers, donor amounts and listenership data.
– I created individualized social media plans for 15 newsroom staffers, which were written into their annual company performance goals, and worked with the marketing department to test social media fundraising campaigns.
– I appeared on live TV during the 2012 presidential midterm election to share social media trends as results were tallied.
-In my four years at NewsWorks, I worked with the online newsroom, radio programs, grant writers, fundraisers, database managers, accountants, marketing managers and event planners.
NEastPhilly.com (since archived) was a daily online publication for Northeast Philadelphia’s 400,000 residents
– I launched NEast Philly in 2008 to fill a coverage gap; the area at the time (and once again) is served only by a weekly newspaper.
– I assigned and edited stories, wrote articles, facilitated content partnerships, organized events and pursued revenue and grant opportunities, as well as monitored the 25,000-plus social media audience.
– I shut down the site in late 2013 when I moved away from the area to pursue other professional goals. The archives are now available on PlanPhilly.com
I teach journalism students at Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication
– I most regularly teach Multimedia Storytelling, an upper-level course that builds on students’ multimedia skills while breaking their hard news habits. We practice web headlines, craft strong ledes and fill the class website with videos, audio slideshows, maps, feature stories and more.
– I began teaching in July 2010 as part of partnership with Temple University and the School District of Philadelphia, and went on to teach grammar and AP Style to Temple freshman and multimedia publishing to seniors. For three years, I assigned and edited stories by student reporters of Temple’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods newsroom-style class.
Philly QuizWorks: While leading a $1 million grant project at NewsWorks in 2014, I also came up with the idea for this app-based Philly trivia game, designed by P’unk Avenue, to be used as an audience acquisition tool.
Covering midterm presidential election in live TV: As the nation waited to hear if Barack Obama had been re-elected in 2012, I joined political reporting veterans like Dick Polman on live TV for WHYY to discuss election-related social media issues, including the legality of tweeting photos from the polls.
Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund: J-Lab awarded funding in late 2010 to a handful of Philly news partnership projects, including this one I pitched and led for NEast Philly and Philadelphia Neighborhoods about how a neighborhood had to rebuild itself after its biggest political champion was charged with corruption. Reporters working for both publications continued to cover the issue two years later.
Multimedia investigative reporting project: WHYY received a grant in 2012 to follow a person’s genealogical roots, and my boss asked me to share my story about having no idea where most of my family originated (Scotland? Ireland? A Native American tribe?). I spent a few months researching my genes with the help of the Genealogical Society Pennsylvania, and ended up producing a package of web, TV and radio stories in partnership with my NewsWorks colleagues.
Metro content partnership: When Metro’s Philadelphia paper was looking to expand advertising opportunities, the staff sought out my publication, NEast Philly, to provide targeted content. For the first half of 2010, I wrote and edited stories that appeared in a weekly Northeast Philadelphia section of the newspaper.
The Eagle Eye: Under the Prime Movers High School Journalism program, I helped students at George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia launch and maintain a website for their school newspaper during the 2009-2010 school year.
PRESENTATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
ONACamp Indianapolis 2015: I was invited to co-present with Josh Stearns, who at the time was the director of journalism & sustainability at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Our talk at the day-long mini-conference focused on community engagement, and my piece of the presentation encouraged journalists to think like readers.
BarCamp News Innovation 2015: At this un-conference for media professionals across the country, I spoke about doing more with less in a newsroom alongside Wall Street Journal Visuals Producer Dave Cole. We were able to highlight the differences, advantages and disadvantages that come with being in a very small or very large newsroom.
Future of Journalism Panel 2015: I joined fellow Temple University Journalism alumni Kurtis Lee, Dave Wood and Steve Capus on a panel moderated by School of Media and Communication Dean David Boardman in a discussion about media, journalism school practices and professional standards.
Philadelphia Mayoral debate panel 2015: I was among a handful of media panelists to question Philadelphia’s six Democratic mayoral candidates ahead of the 2015 primary election. The debate was televised on Fox29.
Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association keynote address 2014: My 20-minute speech and the panel that followed at this community engagement workshop focused on “maximizing the message and minimizing the messenger.” We discussed best practices for social media, blogging and aggregation/curation.
AWARDS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Award: I was honored to receive this award in 2010 for an interview I did with a Philadelphia police officer that led to an internal affairs investigation.
Philadelphia City Paper Choice Award: I was among good company in 2009 when City Paper honored me for my controversial interview with a Philadelphia police officer.
David E. Brace Scholarship for Community Service: Awarded to me during my final days as a Temple University student, this scholarship will always have meaning for me because it honored my love for and dedication to community journalism. I received the award for my reporting work for Philadelphia Neighborhoods and for starting NEast Philly.
VOLUNTEERISM AND BOARDS
Temple University Department of Journalism advisory board member: This board meets every spring to unite faculty and alumni to review best practices and discuss curricula
Fishtown Neighbors Association board member: This volunteer board, under which I serve as Safety Committee chair, coordinates neighborhood cleanups, facilitates community meetings and initiates urban design changes.
Spirit Newspapers advisory board member: This board of professionals, educators and readers meets annually to discuss content strategy and revenue health.
I’ve grown multiple local Facebook pages and Twitter accounts past the 20,000 mark (from literally zero), and I know my way around WordPress. I’ve hosted an accidental reddit AMA, led a $1 million grant project and coordinated a two-day event for 20 public media innovators. I launched, registered and closed my own media business.
I’m a 2009 graduate of Temple University with a degree in journalism, and proud managing editor emeritus of The Temple News.