PPIIN makes debut with data-driven look at property reassessment

Even as we work to come up with a name for the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network and get it incorporated, we decided that the city’s property reassessment debate was worthy of us taking a stab at collecting resources and data to help illuminate the subject,

Visit http://ppiin.org to see the page we’ve assembled, including a Google Fusion-powered map of recent property transactions and the likely tax implications for these properties. We’re working to add more data points (we have about 300 now) to make the map more useful.

We’ll also be adding other resources and interactive controls for the map.

Give the “original” some love

I first discovered Tim McGuire’s excellent “This I believe about journalism, newspapers and the future of media” via a long “synopsis” of it by GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram, who I follow on Twitter and enjoy greatly. At first I was tempted just to read Mathew’s version, “Journalism: The best of times, and the worst of times,” and retweet his link. Then I paused and followed the link he provided to Tim’s blog at Arizona State University. I’m glad I did and I hope you will go to the original and read it as well even if I share a few passages below that I especially like.

I was struck about my behavior in this instance and my general sense of late that too often the original source of good insight can get obscured as we summarize, curate, regurgitate and re-opinionate (if that’s a word). Too often these secondary versions get more attention  than the original. I’m pledging to try harder to dig to the original source and share it, rather than just clicking retweet on an intermediary. I hope you will too.

Now, a few passages I found most relevant (though it’s so chockfull of great passages it’s hard to choose):

By the same token, the idea that legacy media can find a silver bullet such as tablets, or pay walls, or reinvigoration of old advertising models is silly and reckless. The only silver bullet is dramatic reinvention.

Echoing the value-added idea I’ve written about in the past:

If publishers think a pay wall is a seamless re-creation of the past they are indeed on the road to perdition. Increasing consumer revenue from people willing to pay should be the central idea and that only comes from adding value. Adding value to news products needs to be far more targeted than it has been.

And a theme that I hope we can work on in Philadelphia:

Covering city council meetings and boring feature stories on school principals will not cut it. Successful news operations will redefine local news as true accountability reporting in local areas. They will make the issues from that city council meeting relevant to people concerned about the livability of their city.  That will require real reporting resources and it cannot be done on the cheap.

Thanks, Tim, for an inspiring piece.

Keeping PPIIN plans “on the record”

This Wednesday evening I’ll be at the Pen & Pencil club for a Q&A session the club bills as part of its “off the record” series. I don’t want anyone to think the evolving plans for the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network are a secret that can only be discussed off the record. So let me share here some of what I’ll be discussing for those who can’t attend or who want to prepare questions.

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Pen & Pencil debut

The nation’s oldest press club will meet the city’s newest publisher next week. In an off-the-record session at the Pen & Pencil Club, I’ll be sharing my thoughts after two months in Philadelphia and talking about how the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network can help foster more and better public interest news and information and civic engagement.

Join us at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, at 1522 Latimer St.

Keeping up with Philly news — my experiment

Today marks an important day in my transition to Philly. My subscription to The Philadelphia Inquirer began. Yes, a printed newspaper arriving every morning at my doorstep is now part of my media mix.

For the past few months (even as I was still in talks to come to Philly as CEO of PPIIN), I undertook an experiment to test different ways of keeping up with Philly news. At first I wanted to try primarily digital methods.

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PPIIN – Philadelphians, Please Invent Interesting Name

I’m writing this post (and others that will follow soon) here on my personal website and on the site of the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple because the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network still doesn’t have its own, full “web presence.”

One reason is that we don’t yet have a final name or domain name, which I’ll address later in this post.

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