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Notes From The J-Lab Findings Event

Yesterday, my father and I attended the J-Lab presentation on collaborative journalism in Philadelphia.  It was us, and then every big player in Philadelphia media.  I shook hands with David Haas, chairman of the William Penn Foundation.  He’s the nephew of Otto Haas, who founded Rohm & Haas.  Otto endowed the foundation to:

Improve the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children’s futures, and deepen connections to nature and community

David was there to possibly write grant checks for what the J-Lab recommends.  I found it amusing that while the rest of the room was probably preoccupied with getting some grant action, my father talked to him about Bridesburg and how he knew his uncle.  There was a real reporter from the New York Times was there, he was in charge of digital initiatives.  So were the editors of our own Daily News and Philadelphia Business Journal.

It was so cool being at the bottom of that barrel.  I finally got an outside view of what some in the media thought of us.  Before the meeting I didn’t think we belonged at that table, but afterward I realized that there wasn’t a meeting without us.  We had arrived.  I kinda feel really stupid because I had walked into that meeting really insecure about my place in this new media shift.  I didn’t really research what J-Lab and other foundations were created to do beforehand cause their websites really does a great job of explaining what we do.  Check out the Knights Citizen News Network’s new media kit videos if you’re interested.  They pretty much acknowledge that we have a central place in news these days.

Anyways, they’re proposing to aggregate original content on a new central website.  Kinda copying things that are being done in other parts of the country.  We’re all on board.  Anything we can do to shine a light on Frankford is pretty much our mission statement.  There’s not really a question as to whether the Frankford Gazette wants to be selfish with the original content we produce.  The proposal really had more consequences for the established media in the room.  They make money with their content so they started talking about monetization.  Which is when I got up to leave.  It was a good time though but they seem to only be in proposal mode without any dates set forth.

Here’s some of my other notes, it was really cool that I was repeatedly asked not to quote people directly to ensure honest feedback:

  • Totally out of place here
  • thought it would be more ground breaking but its far more of an establishment vibe
  • so many people I’m not going to have to say anything
  • there are real journalists in the room
  • we’re the least trained so we must be  the bleeding edge
  • I was called a media maker
  • community journalists are becoming trusted sources of information
  • they have a term called “niche-based”, I think that’s us
  • niche based outlets can relinquish stories outside your mission to those whose job it is to cover them(that’s why the frankford gazette doesn’t report murders anymore, takes care of that)
  • got mentioned a screen shot of us included in the powerpoint presentation instead of young philly politics, that’s a win
  • I wore a dress shirt, I should have worn a white snake tee shirt and let everyone see my tribal tattoos.

5 thoughts on “Notes From The J-Lab Findings Event

  1. […] father-son team that founded neighborhood blog Frankford Gazette was present, and son Jim Smiley shared his notes from the meeting, including this: “Not once did I hear about increasing the voice of the originators of local news. The […]

  2. ‘taken down my previous comments!’ you’re such a baby.

  3. I’m on the road so I can’t really respond with links but I now feel I was incredibly unprepared and uninformed about the j-lab thing.

  4. When i heard about this my first reaction was: it sounds like the liberal media is trying to find a new outlet for their propaganda by perhaps starting up their own local online news outlets and are trying to see how best to format it to look legit.

  5. […] The only other time I’ve been around journalists talking about being journalists was J-Lab’s presentation on the state of Philly’s online journalism and my biggest takeaway from that was that content is king.  It really opened my eyes as what it […]

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