Monthly Archives: June 2011

Philly’s Online Ad – I mean News – Association goes off with a hitch

It was great to see 15-20 online journalists turn out Wednesday night for the inaugural happy hour of Philly’s Online News Association chapter, a great turnout considering the limited amount of promotion and summer’s siren call of the shore. We had a wide range of publications represented, lots of friendly people, some great journalism-y discussions, a few job leads and $2 off beers. Can’t complain about any of that.

Triumph Brewing Company was a great host, aside from one slight error on our welcome sign (this is for real):

Co-organizer Amy Fiscus, who called in the reservation, logically explained: “I was hoping to attract some people who’d give us money.”

They printed out a new sign for us and we had ourselves a good time. Details coming soon on next month’s happy hour.

(If you’re new to ONA Philly, get updates about future events by signing up on Meetup, joining the discussion in our Facebook group, or following co-organizers Amy Fiscus, Christopher Wink and me.)

Introducing the Philly chapter of the Online News Association

ONA Philly’s first happy hour
6 p.m. Wednesday, June 29
Triumph Brewing Company
117 Chestnut Street
RSVP here

There are a lot of great online journalists in Philadelphia, but we aren’t talking to each other as much as we should be. Let’s change that.

Enter the Online News Association, a national organization that claims over 1,600 members. It has chapters in places like New York City, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle and Toronto.

Now we have our chapter. In each of those cities, web-minded journalists gather IRL to discuss best practices, show off innovative projects, network with like-minded people, or just throw back a few beverages and meet some interesting folks. I personally attended several of those local meetups when I lived in D.C., and found them professionally inspiring while I also made some great friends.

The first few events during the summer will simply be happy hours, geared toward just meeting each other and gathering ideas about what ONA could do or be here. When fall arrives, we’ll also incorporate some kind of instructional component, usually to learn about interesting projects that are happening here in the Delaware Valley.

Who’s it for? We’re not too caught up in the definition of “journalist,” so anyone interested in online journalism is welcome. Our doors are open for students, beat reporters with 30 years of experience, independent news site operators, free lancers, spare-time bloggers and everything in between.

Fear not, those who can’t make it this month; we’ll try to have one gathering per month. Please RSVP here, and also join the ONA Philly Facebook group for further discussion.

Questions? Ask me or co-organizers Amy Fiscus and Christopher Wink. Hope to see you there. prominently links to Technically Philly, angels rejoice

We saw a small but significant milestone at this morning.

Should you have visited the site between roughly 10:15 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. this morning, you would have seen this:


It’s significant because this is the first time has directly linked to an external blog from a prominent spot on its home page, taking readers directly off the site. According to Technically Philly‘s Christopher Wink, it netted them over 600 referrals, which passed Reddit and Hacker News as the most single-day, single-source referral traffic they’ve ever received.

A quick sausage-making recap: Wink alerted me via Twitter to a post that looked like it would have mainstream appeal. I agreed and sent an e-mail to our team of web producers. They agreed to offer up the valuable real estate in a way the site historically hasn’t done.

No, I don’t expect a party to be thrown in our honor. I know some people will roll their eyes and make comments about it being 1998 and such.

But this is a clear step toward opening’s gates, which is something people like Wink have been waiting for us to do. I’m not rolling out any Mission Accomplished banners, as there is a looong way to go, but it’s great to see a tangible step.

If you’d like to debate the merits of this, or how success will be defined with such an approach, let’s feel free to discuss it in the comments.