Update on staff search process and development of Center for Public Interest Journalism and networked news organization
The development of the networked journalism collaborative project is progressing, and we are focused on the initial start-up needs of identifying permanent leadership for the organization (with a working title of Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network, or PPIIN) recommended by our planning process. This work is occurring in parallel with the establishment of the Center for Public Interest Journalism (CPIJ) at Temple University as a resource to support the incubation of the PPIIN, as well as on-going field building for the public interest journalism community in the Philadelphia region. To do this, a group has been formed to support the development of the project, including Tom Jacobson, Interim Dean of the School of Communications and Theater (SCT), Joe McLaughlin, Director of the Institute for Public Affairs, and George Miller, Professor of Journalism. This group meets regularly with staff of the William Penn Foundation to share updates and discuss next steps.
The main focus of the group’s work is two-fold, and intended to support the incubation of the PPIIN:
1.) I have been working in a project management capacity to support the launch of the CPIJ at Temple, which will serve to incubate the PPIIN and to serve as a way to for the collaborating news organizations to access the resources of Temple, including its journalism school, Metropolitan Policy Indicators Projects, and many other University programs. The Center will have an advisory board composed of faculty from Temple’s schools and departments relevant to public interest journalism and public information. Among the various assets we expect the Center to bring to the project are:
- Field building through trainings and events
- One-stop shopping for the resources of the University
- Professional network building through convenings and information sharing
- Research, as needed, to inform those evaluating the nature, impact and efficacy of public interest journalism
These activities undertaken by the Center will allow PPIIN to focus on the business of increasing the amount and quality of public interest journalism in the region. In that vein, and perhaps most significantly, the Center will help fulfill the intentions of the networked journalism project to provide resources to incubate and launch PPIIN. This means staff hired for the PPIIN will initially serve in a consulting role to the Center to develop a strategic plan for the organization, develop a memorandum of understanding to guide its relationship with the University and School of Communications and Theater, and work to incorporate the organization as an independent non-profit. They’ll probably also spend some time selecting a better name than PPIIN.
2.) To move forward with staffing PPIIN, I have supported Temple with researching, interviewing and selecting a search firms who will help identify the first hire, a CEO, who will lead the organization through incubation and launch. We’re conducting a national search for this position, but local candidates are encouraged to apply. Candidates interested the position can feel free to reach out to me at michael greenle gmail.com, and I would be pleased to pass along resumes/candidate info to the search firm. Once the search firm has begun its work, and received input from stakeholders, we’ll post a job description to this site to provide a sense of the skills, qualifications and experience we’re looking for. We know the person will need the following qualities to succeed in the position:
- Experience in launching an organization and building it from the ground up
- A natural inclination to collaboration and experience working in a networked style
- An understanding and respect for professional journalism standards
- A commitment to public interest information and transparency to improve civic discourse and public policy outcomes.
Guided by the overarching outcomes we’ve established for the project, the CEO will have the opportunity to shape the project to his/her vision, particularly in incorporating the organization, assisting in governing board recruitment, leading the strategic planning process, hiring staff and establishing partnerships with other news organizations. Ample time and resources to develop the organization is particularly important because we expect it to be nimble in using new and innovative strategies to increase public interest news and information, and to be responsive to the news and information landscape as it evolves over time. This means building off of existing strengths, identifying and filling gaps, and complementing existing media sources, including the mainstream media of the Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com, news radio, and broadcast affiliates. We expect the CEO to be hired by late spring, and will keep you updated on the hiring process.
In terms of communications, this blog will feed into the website being developed for the Center for Public Interest Journalism. In the future, I will continue to provide updates, as will the Center’s Director, Tom Jacobson, and Associate Director, George Miller. When that site launches, we will post a link here, and email/contact public interest journalism stakeholders. We also expect we will have meetings with individual stakeholder groups within public interest media as the project begins to take shape and to solicit input into staff hiring decisions, field building capacities and services, and how the project should approach collaboration and partnerships. In that vein, we’ve had meetings with the William Penn Foundation’s existing journalism grantees, Temple alumni stakeholders, and thought-leaders in public interest news and information gathering and delivery (with apologies for jargon usage).
We’ll plan to keep you updated as the formation of the Center and the search for a PPIIN CEO progresses and as the networked organization is incubated and launched. Please post comments or email me with questions at michael greenle gmail com.