In March 2010, American Journalism Review wrote about J-Lab’s recommendations in “Exploring a Networked Journalism Collaborative in Philadelphia,” a consulting project for the William Penn Foundation:
To set the scene, the foundation had commissioned Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, to examine the state of public affairs reporting in the city and offer recommendations for bolstering it. She compared newspaper coverage in August 2006 and August 2009 and television coverage from one week in May 2006 to one week in May 2009. While she found coverage of public affairs in the city had plummeted, she also discovered a “fairly robust blogosphere.”
Schaffer recommended that the Penn Foundation bring together bloggers–especially the dozens that loosely follow journalistic standards–with creative technologists who build applications such as searchable databases. Bloggers and technologists would then join Philadelphia’s established media players to foster a Web site for news on public affairs, one that would showcase its own content, including coverage of city government and local trends as well as investigations, and aggregate the work of outlets in Philadelphia and its suburbs. “As community Web sites or blogs emerge, they’d be welcome to join as affiliates,” Schaffer says.