I spoke with a reporter a couple months ago named Sean Scully. He was fact finding about what the William Penn Foundation could do to assist emerging journalism trends as they relate to local areas. He asked a lot of really good questions, questions about how the foundation could possibly nurture and support locally oriented online communities in Philadelphia. And he asked me if I needed any money for the Frankford Gazette. He didn’t say I’d get any, but I suppose the foundation was evaluating whether funding was an issue.
I did a lot of babbling with Sean but the one thing I tried to impress upon him what I thought the William Penn Foundation could do a lot with a little by helping put local communities out on the web. I told him I’d like to see the foundation help put the local civic associations up on the web so their local residents can see what’s going on. A while back Jon Campisi wrote a piece about how no one under 40 were involved with their local civic associations. So it almost goes without saying they probably are a little bit behind the times when it comes to technology, let alone blogging. But I think it’d be a great asset to any community to have it’s CDC or civic association or town watch run a blog or yahoo group or email exchange list, or message boards or whatever. I think if the WP foundation were able to do an outreach and mentor technology use in getting out neighborhood information, it would create more informed, tighter knit communities.
Anyways, here’s my invite:
December 8, 2009
Webmaster, Frankford Gazette
J-Lab invites you to participate on January 7 in an important brainstorming and visioning session to explore possibilities for new kinds of public affairs journalism for the Philadelphia region.
Your involvement is especially valued because of your generous contribution of time and insights for a media research project J-Lab conducted with a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
At this small gathering, we expect to share those research findings and invite your feedback as a fulcrum for exploring the community’s appetite for amplifying Philadelphia’s unique media assets in innovative ways.
This convening will begin at 9 a.m., with breakfast available at 8:30 a.m. in the main conference room at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 190 N. Independence Mall West, 8th floor, (the American College of Physicians Building). We will go through lunch. In the interest of encouraging candid conversation, we ask that discussion comments by individual participants be on background, not for attribution. We also want to limit the size of the group in order to be able to have a meaningful conversation; therefore, this invitation is not transferrable.
I’ll let you know how it goes.