Category Archives: Philly

A hosted blog at Philly.com to subscribe to: One Step Away

One Step Away is a monthly ‘street newspaper’ produced by people experiencing homelessness in the Philadelphia region. I always make sure to pick up a copy once or twice a month from its many vendors in across Center City, some of which are authors in the paper.

Philly.com has been hosting a number of blogs on their site over the past few years, some of which have brought it much controversy, but this one should not, it helps raise the voice of those whose voice needs to be heard. Check out the One Step Away blog at Philly.com.

See Philadelphia in a new (and old) light: Developing Philly and The Great Experiment

“Developing Philly” just posted the fourth update in its ongoing series to share the evolving and growing Philadelphia technology and media scene with the world. Each episode is under 15 minutes and is worth every minute of your time.

I feel so much a part of this, and I hope you do too. We are making this happen.

Here’s the latest:

Make sure to catch the all of the ongoing series!

Along similar lines, but coming from a place that is less from the ground up and focused on Philadelphia’s place as “America’s first city” is “The Great Experiment”, which recently published an inspirational trailer you have to see:

To my friends and family who are stuck thinking about Philadelphia in a negative light, who have never seen the city for all it is, the truth of our home is varied and exciting. There is so much to do, and so much to fight for. I’m proud to still call this city home.

Read how a few Philly students organized themselves to a few hundred to be heard

AxisPhilly: Isaiah Thompson: “How a few Philly high school students organized themselves into a few hundred in four days”:

It began, not surprisingly perhaps, with a modest online message.

About two weeks ago, school district officials had announced, once again, a serious hole in the District’s budget and had laid out, once again, severe cuts that would be implemented if a roughly $300 million hole wasn’t filled — this time invoking layoffs and cuts to programs, especially arts and extracurricular.

And as students pondered cuts to their favorite programs, the irony that last Friday would mark “Teacher Appreciation Day,” was not lost upon them.

Make sure to read Isaiah Thompson’s full story at AxisPhilly and get inspired, and maybe let the district and state know these ever increasing cuts are unacceptable.

For more on the impact of the cuts, read Rebecca Poyourow’s editorial at Philly.com.

“Rebuilding the News”, How Did We Get Here and Why?

All great innovations come from an alchemy of the present *built* on the past. If you can tear it apart, see it from multiple perspectives, and observe the feedback loops that feed into the systems that drove you where you are currently, then you have a powerful tool.

That’s what makes C.W. Anderson’s “Rebuilding the News: Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age” important.

Far more than a “how the sausage is made” account of how things worked for a period of time (see the bravely open piece from “A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013″, by Alexis C. Madrigal in the Atlantic), or a historical record, it peels the onion on 2000-2010 newspaper media, and reveals the opportunities, stress, and strain of the time and lessons that can be derived from them.

I’ll have it on my bookshelf next to “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, since it seems to be so reflective of it, without intention of it.

You know, “How the Sausage is Made” is a terrible metaphor, one that I never heard until I worked at Philly.com.

In a conversation I talked about sharing the some of the decision making workflow (why do certain stories make it to the home page, how can something or someone influence that), with users of the site. When I brought up this idea, someone replied that “No one likes to see how the sausage is made.” There were nods to the wisdom of this assessment, and the conversation moved on.

Me? I can’t help but watch “How It’s Made” in marathon sessions where I melt into the couch. I like inside baseball knowledge, it gives me context into why things work the way they do, and how they came about.

I believe on a visceral level that when a group is attempting to do something “new”, and they refuse to even acknowledge the experience of the past, what you end up with is more of the same, or more of what took place further back in history. Sometimes that’s appropriate. Those lessons give you an advantage and a springboard to success. Sometimes those lessons can teach us what not to do.

That’s why I’m so optimistic about where we are now. There are a lot of lessons that are being put to practice by organizations and people all across Philly. That alchemy of past and present is in full swing like never before, with the belief you need to keep, that you can make things better.

Disclaimer, yes, I’m in this book. Philly Future is in this book. Norgs is in this book. So are many people who I respect and admire who have worked so hard over the past ten years, in a tumultuous line of work, that is important to our world, are in this book.

And part of me feels a little bit shamed for letting my participation in all this drop on the floor 7 years or so ago. But only a little since I wouldn’t trade these 7 years for anything. So, for some closure, I’m going to follow Chris Wink’s advice and ‘write that post’ sometime soon.

For more on the book:

Listen to a great interview with C.W. Anderson at newbooksincommunications.com.

Read Mathew Ingram at paidContent, “The biggest roadblock to media success? A traditional culture of journalistic hubris”

Buy it: “Rebuilding the News: Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age”

Technically Philly launches their redesign

Technically Philly launched a new version of their website this week. It is a fantastic redesign and kudos to all.

There is a subtle shift that’s taken place here, that deserves some additional congratulations. Homegrown Technically Philly is now an organization that has a presence across a growing number of cities, and the domain name, site design, and name, reflects it. So get used to calling ‘Technically Philly’, found at technicallyphilly.com, simply ‘Technical.ly’ at found at technical.ly.

Here is a nice video about what they are about: YouTube.com: TP:

Philly is getting some good reviews

Ryan Briggs in Next American City reports that families are staying put in Philly and Baltimore downtowns:

While urban revitalization is often stereotyped as dominated by young
professionals and retirees, Census data found that the Greater Center
City area had an even balance of all age groups. Data from the year
2000 indicated an average household size of 1.7 people in the eight
ZIP codes. That figure had ticked up to 1.75 by 2010 — a trend CCD
attributed to couples opting to raise children in the city.

And from Philly.com comes news that Philadelphia is listed in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Destinations for 2013:

Forget the cheesesteaks and tri-corner hat, Philadelphia is becoming
known as an art capital. In addition to the world renowned
Philadelphia Museum of Art, the formerly remote Barnes Foundation , a
once private collection of Matisse, Renoir and Cézanne, has a new
central location. And it’s not just the big museums – Philly’s gallery
scene is exploding with new venues like the Icebox garnering
international attention and turning the Northern Liberties and
Fishtown neighborhoods into the new hot arts hub. First Fridays , the
monthly gallery open house, long a tradition in Old City, has expanded
to the refurbished Loft District, where the party goes on in a host of
new bars, clubs and live music venues.

The Atlantic Cities: “In Philadelphia, a Porch for an Entire City”

The Atlantic Cities: Kaid Benfield: In Philadelphia, a Porch for an Entire City:

If you care about green cities, you have to like a lot of what’s happening in Philadelphia lately, from land use planning to watershed management to the greening of vacant and blighted lots and, now, the opening of a lively new public space that makes the city a better place to live, work and visit. In particular, last week I learned about The Porch at 30th Street Station, a very promising new plaza just outside the city’s iconic train station. The creation of University City District, an organization dedicated to revitalization and community improvement, The Porch opened last fall and has been hopping all summer with activity. It is at once ambitious and low-key.

Hidden City Philadelphia on the S.S. United States

Hidden City Philadelphia, a blog you should be reading if you’re not, has a few recent posts on the S.S. United States including pictures and an interview with Steven Ujifusa who recently had a book published about the ship.

Hidden City Philadelphia: Meredith Broussard: In Love With A Ship And Its Architect

Hidden City Philadelphia: Matthew Christopher: The View Inside (And Out) The Dazzling Ship

Related:

Plan Philly: The SS United States: Until the first blows fall