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.
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.
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:
When I made the decision in late 2013 to close NEast Philly, offers poured in to keep the site running. Many community groups, politicians, universities, bloggers and local newsies offered to either fund the site, host pieces of the archives or keep the site alive with some kind of fresh content.
I found it surprisingly easy to envision all of these possibilities. After five years of closely managing the site and being extremely careful about affiliations, once I made the decision to close up shop, letting go wasn’t as hard as I imagined. But I knew I wanted to find the right fit for the archives — a place where I could be proud to send people looking for the content, where it would all be in one place, and where related content already exists.
That transition is now complete.
NewsWorks launched at 12:01 a.m.Nov. 15, 2010. And I get to be a part of it.
I’m the Feed Blogger for NewWorks, the new online initiative from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate. I’m responsible for making sure readers in the Delaware Valley know what’s happening in the region — right up to the minute. By working with other journalists to report stories as they happen and aggregating content from other small regional sites, I update the Feed up to five times and hour.