And now for something completely different: Working at Billy Penn

My new workspace in the Billy Penn offices

My new workspace in the Billy Penn offices

I now work for Billy Penn. The Philly news site, not the person.

It was a tough decision to leave NewsWorks after four years (and they didn’t make it easy to say goodbye), but as the title of this post suggests, I’m ready for a new challenge.

The bootstrapped site (formerly known as Brother.ly) is the work of Jim Brady and Chris Krewson, and I’m thrilled to be working with people who really understand news from a consumer’s perspective. We’re operating under the tagline, “a mobile news platform for a better Philly.” Continue reading

Finding a new home for NEast Philly’s content

d1c762a0-9de0-4563-8b69-db1bb21253c2_400x400When 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. Continue reading

How to explain your social media job

social iconsI was recently invited to speak to students in a social media innovations class at Temple University.

I’ve been doing social media professionally for about five years, but I still haven’t found the best way to explain to people what it is I really do and how I do it. It became clear to me during this class why that is.

Though I work closely with the marketing and membership departments at WHYY, most of the social media work I do is concentrated in the newsroom. And the social media I use with my journalism students is also news-based. It wasn’t until I found myself talking directly with students whose career paths are more business-oriented and product-based that I fully realized why it’s so hard to explain social media positions.

“You pretty much can’t teach anything these days without incorporating social media.”

Bingo. That was on one of the (rather boring-looking) slides I brought with me to the class. Everyone uses social media, and because there’s no one clear purpose for it, there’s no quick explanation for how to use it. Continue reading

Why I closed my Philly-based hyperlocal news site

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Two months ago, I wrote my last post for NEastPhilly.com, the hyperlocal news site I started in 2008 to cover Northeast Philly — a large part of the city that, to date, gets little media attention.
For a large part of the last five years, I lived and breathed NEast Philly. I wanted to leave a little bit of time between that and posting my thoughts here.
Here’s some of what I learned over the last half-decade, and what went into my decision to shut down. Continue reading

What my multimedia journalism students will learn this semester

Our classroom at Temple University's Center City Campus

Our classroom at Temple University’s Center City Campus

The Spring 2014 semester at Temple University starts today (we’re delayed a week because of snow and ice), and as of 5:30 p.m., I’ll be back in the classroom with junior and senior journalism undergrads. We’ve got 15 weeks to explore multimedia storytelling. Here’s some of what we’ll do: Continue reading

Teaching Temple University journalism students again

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It’s been three full years since I taught journalism at Temple University, but I’m back in the swing of things. This semester, I’ve got two full sections of seniors in various stages of boredom and panic.

We’ll be working on multimedia storytelling — telling complete, visually appealing news stories and publishing them to websites students will make for themselves. Continue reading

Temple University alumna profile: Patricia Romeu

I profiled producer Patricia Romeu for Temple University's alumni magazine.

I profiled producer Patricia Romeu for Temple University’s alumni magazine.

I had the opportunity to interview film producer Patricia Romeu to be featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Temple (formerly Temple Review), Temple University’s alumni magazine. Romeu was to be one of the alumni spotlighted in the issue, so my task was to talk to her about what she does and how it relates to her experiences at Temple. Continue reading