Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is Philly a Hotbed of Journalistic Activity? Sort of.

Things are brewing in Philadelphia, a city where the dominant local TV newscast featured smiley cartoon clouds until a few years ago and the two main daily newspapers are owned by one company.

Here are just a few things that have happened over the past few months:

• The Inquirer, Daily News and are under new ownership, and they have big plans.

• Larry Platt, the former Philadelphia Magazine editor, will soon become the editor of the Daily News.

• The William Penn Foundation has given a grant of $2.4 million to Temple University to incubate a networked journalism project (full disclosure: I am part of the Temple team working on the project).

• J-Lab doled out $5,000 awards to 14 Philly collaborative journalism projects. The awards were funded by the William Penn Foundation.

• The Journal Register company has big plans to launch a hyperlocal news portal in the region.

• WHYY launched Newsworks, a hyperlocal/ arts/ public affairs journalism site that has partner news organizations around the region.

• has set up hyperlocal news outlets around the city and region.

• Fox29 changed their news format to be more like cable-news, featuring lots of commentary.

• Most of the local broadcast outlets have begun airing live newscasts at 4:30 am (Fox29 starts at 4:25 am).

• Rumors persist that ESPN will set up shop in Philadelphia (as it did in Chicago and elsewhere).

• The word on the street is that the New York Times wants to set up a regional hub in Philadelphia, as it did in San Francisco and elsewhere.

• Philly-based Comcast, which recently received FCC approval to acquire NBC Universal, is reportedly creating an interactive, web-friendly cable box that includes news options.

• Temple University launched a television station that will broadcast news, as well as other regular programming.

• Several other journalistic outlets have popped up: Flying Kite, Philly Sports Daily and Tek Lado, among others.

• Personally, I am working with a group of people to create a quarterly, print local-music magazine that will debut in March, with 10,000 copies distributed around the city.

What happens next is as uncertain as ever. But Philadelphia is in play.


  1. As it should be. Metro Philly is a huge market.

  2. Don't forget the new look site at War News Radio at Swarthmore College:

  3. Also don't forget the full-time freelancers working the streets.

  4. I should also mention that City Paper has a new publisher. And both City Paper and the Philadelphia Business Journal have new top editors.