Articles by

Jim Brady

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    Photo: The Billy Penn team does coverage of the Philly mayoral primary from a local watering hole. Courtesy of the Billy Penn. I am among a relatively small group of people who can claim more than 20 years working in digital journalism. And one of the hallmarks of that time has always been the openness of the digital journalism community. As the media landscape continues its stubborn and constant shifting, one of our best weapons remains our willingness to share information and ideas with each other. I call the phenomenon “huddling for warmth.” This open mindset was the impetus behind Billy Penn’s decision, supported by $106,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to create a living, breathing guide to mobile journalism. The guide will be created and maintained by Billy Penn – a mobile-first news site covering Philadelphia – but will also feature contributions from the broader digital community that has always been willing to share but hasn’t always had the tools to make it simple. According to a study by Pew Research Center, 39 of the top 50 news sites now get more traffic from mobile than desktop, creating a need for new ways to present stories across platforms. Because these tools emerge so quickly, it can be tough for already-busy newsrooms to keep up. For this project, Billy Penn – which I founded in 2014 as a local news platform for Philadelphia – will chronicle best practices in creating mobile journalism, designing mobile websites and addressing the needs of the mobile reader. The guide will share lessons learned from Billy Penn’s own work as a mobile-first site, and feature mobile lessons from others as well. The guide will feature descriptions and reviews of tools used to gather, publish and monetize on mobile. While many digital journalism guides lose their value quickly because of the rapidly changing state of distribution and tools, Billy Penn will update this guide on a rolling basis and open the platform so that any newsroom can contribute new information.