Technically Philly is a news website dedicated to covering Philadelphia’s technology and startup communities. Since 2009, Technically Philly has forged a vision for technology as urban renewal by encouraging job retention and growth, addressing digital access issues and improving government transparency through the proliferation of open data. The news website is convening actionable change that technology can bring to cities.
Nearly 100 technology-themed events attended by more than 10,000 people all in a magnificent 10-day span, Philly Tech Week is a celebration of the city’s diverse tech community. The event has impact: in 2011 Open Data Philly was launched and in 2012 the City of Philadelphia announced an OpenData Executive Order. Events are as diverse as technology itself with focuses on entrepreneurship to arts to digital divide issues. See more at phillytechweek.com.
With leadership and organization, local technology communities can impact urban renewal by helping to make cities smarter. Technical.ly is a network of local technology news sites dedicated to growing innovation communities by way of coverage and events. By increasing collaboration across different corners of technology, including entrepreneurship, art, digital literacy and more, our cities can be better places. The network began in February 2009 with Technically Philly, which organizes the annual Philly Tech Week, and also includes Technically Baltimore, in addition to partnerships with other similar sites across the country.
In June 2012, Technical.ly soft launched the next in its network of locally-focused technology news communities in Baltimore. Partnering with an existing community of civic-minded entrepreneurs and hackers, Technically Baltimore launched in partnership with Startup Baltimore and began covering another active technology community that is shaping an urban revitalization. Learn more at TechnicallyBaltimore.com.
Digital access is a first step that will connect citizens to better opportunities. The need for it is nearly ubiquitous, yet in Philadelphia, 40 percent of citizens lack access to the Internet at home. Because of a charge to help bridge that gap, we launched Connect Philly. Using any mobile phone, citizens can send their address by text message to find the closest of more than 200 available Internet access points, training, and other related services. The project is emblematic of how we think journalism should be: our reporting at Technically Philly found that there was no clear data set pointing citizens to free Internet access. We worked with stakeholders to create it. And we shipped a free tool that can make a difference.
In 2011, Technically Philly featured deep, dedicated coverage and conversation around the open data and open government movements in Philadelphia under the brand of Transcparencity. Generously supported by the William Penn Foundation, Technically Philly was involved in the strategy of civic data portal OpenDataPhilly.org, kicked off a good government portion of the inaugural Philly Tech Week and regularly covered the challenges of moving forward transparency in a legacy municipal government.
With a fractured local journalism market, our audiences get smaller, and though often niche media doesn’t much need to extend beyond its existing community, when important, public-affairs journalism does come out of the patchwork of Philadelphia content creators, there is not a clear pipeline for getting broader awareness of it. An experiment with a simple concept is our answer. Ph.ly is a Friday morning email with links to the three most important pieces of public affairs journalism from that week, from any vetted, local news provider: newspaper, radio, TV, blogs, independent news sites or anyone else.
In cities that are not traditionally thought of as technology centers, it can often be difficult for startups to receive the attention and resources they would receive elsewhere. Enter Switch, a startup demo competition where five local startups all demo (no PowerPoints) to an audience of community members and a handful of judges. The winners receive a prize pack consisting of resources from the local entrepreneurial community including introductions to investors, office space and mentorship. Learn more at switchphilly.com.
For nearly half a decade, hundreds of top media innovators, thinkers and “edglings” have gathered in Philadelphia to discuss the next big thing in news and online content. The unconference has been called “Where journalism gets reinvented” and “Like a Philly Cheesesteak: messy but ultimately satisfying.” BarCamp NewsInnovation always pushes the conversation forward, both nationally and locally. Learn more at bcniphilly.com.