The Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Awards are funded by the William Penn Foundation to help develop and amplify public affairs journalism in the Philadelphia region. The goal is to help reporting projects get off the ground and to explore collaboration opportunities among various news providers in the region. The winners, selected from 27 applicants, will launch their projects over the next six months.
“The depth and breadth of the ideas submitted were impressive,” said Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab, which administers the program. “And it’s clear the proposal process got new-media and old-media makers talking to one another about partnering on the projects.”
The program originally aimed to fund 10 projects, however, the William Penn Foundation is supplying additional funding because of the range of good ideas submitted.
“We expect these awards to foster in-depth journalism on topics that need additional coverage and to demonstrate what’s possible when news organizations collaborate,” said Feather Houstoun, president of the William Penn Foundation.
The Enterprise Reporting awards are going to:
- Anatomy of School Turnaround. An examination of efforts to turn around three poor performing schools in the city’s Renaissance Schools initiative. Reporting will be by Philadelphia Public School Notebook (thenotebook.org) and WHYY in collaboration with the public broadcaster’s NewsWorks.org initiative to launch soon. WHYY will assist with additional multimedia content.
- NJSpotlight Library. To help create a digital library for the collection, analysis and presentation of New Jersey public-interest data and research reports on such topics as schools and state and local budgets. By NJSpotlight.com in collaboration with Philly.com and community web sites in New Jersey. Future plans call for seminars and workshops around the release of important data.
- The Power Map of Philadelphia. To create a web-based guide to the people who sit on the city’s governmental and quasi-governmental boards and commissions and control significant public funds with little accountability. It will reveal social and political connections, including campaign contributions. By the Philadelphia Daily News working with students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, Philly.com and WHYY.
- The Abandoned City. The City of Philadelphia is the largest owner of abandoned properties in the city. The City Paper, working with PlanPhilly.com and TechnicallyPhilly.com, will compile the first publicly accessible master list and interactive database of these properties and examine how they came to be owned by taxpayers and why they are not being sold or redeveloped.
- ArtBlog Radio. A series of podcasts and slideshows, with interviews and gallery tours, explaining Philadelphia’s contemporary arts scene. By theartblog.org’s founders in collaboration with WHYY’s NewsWorks initiative.
- La Generacion Perdida. A report on the plight of young Hispanic males in the city, a population in danger of becoming a lost generation, troubled by brushes with the criminal justice system and the highest school drop-out rate in the city. By Metropolis (phlmetropolis.com) with Al Día Hispanic newspaper.
- Redistricting the City. An examination of the issues and possible consequences of the forthcoming redistricting of the City Council districts, some of which have a history of gerrymandering. By the Committee of 70 good government group with Azavea, a local geomapping firm, and a Harvard University researcher.
- Delinquent. Nearly 20 percent of all properties in the Philadelphia are tax delinquent. This project will develop a searchable database and examine how unpaid taxes have cost the city more than $1 billion in lost revenue and thwarted development. By freelance investigative journalist Patrick Kerkstra with the Philadelphia Inquirer and PlanPhilly.com.
- Drop Zone. A youth-led investigation into why young men of color leave school. By PhillyCam, the city’s cable-access station, with the Voice of Philadelphia website and YESPhilly youth training organization.
- Neighborhood Development, Politics and their Relationship. An examination of the revitalization of a commercial corridor in Northeast Philadelphia’s Mayfair neighborhood and any ties to a local politician awaiting trial on corruption charges. By Neastphilly.com and Temple University’s PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com.
- Broadband2035. A look at the economic impact of broadband connectivity – or lack thereof – in three diverse city neighborhoods to help inform the development of Philadelphia’s 2035 strategic plan now in the works. By TechnicallyPhilly.com working with PlanPhilly.com.
- The Unforgiven. Pennsylvania is one of six states where the sentence for murder is life without parole. Metropolis, working with the City Paper and the Pennsylvania Prison Society, will employ an illustrated graphic story and text to examine the journey of one of the 2,488 Philadelphia lifers, many of whom were locked up as teens. The project aims for distribution to schools.
- Stop-and-Frisk. A video and narrative examination of the results of the Philadelphia Police Department’s ramped-up stop-and-frisk policy on overall crime in West Philadelphia since its launch in early 2008. By Scribe Video Center with WPEB-FM community radio, the University City Review and West Side Weekly.
- Shame of the City. To follow up a 2007 report, locating and ranking the top 10 drug-selling corners in the city. By freelancer Steve Volk with Phawker.com.
Many of these projects have also have started collaboration discussions with other news organizations in the city.
The awards were selected by a panel of advisors, including Joaquin Alvarado, Senior Vice President for Digital Innovation, American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio; Christopher Anderson, Assistant Professor, Media Culture, College of Staten Island; Glenn Burkins, Editor and Publisher, Qcitymetro.com in Charlotte, N.C.; Larry Eichel, Project Director, Philadelphia Research Initiative; Jon Funabiki, Professor, Executive Director and Founder, Renaissance Center for Journalism, San Francisco State University; Ellen Goodman, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, FCC’s Future of Media Project and Professor of Law, Rutgers University; Kathy Gosliner, fundraising consultant and board member, Generations on Line; Michael Greenle, project leader, OMG Center for Collaborative Learning; Jan Schaffer, J-Lab executive director.
About William Penn Foundation
The mission of the William Penn Foundation is to improve the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children’s futures, and deepen connections to nature and community. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance a vital, just, and caring community.
J-Lab helps news organizations and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways for people to participate in public life. It also administers the Knight Citizen News Network (www.kcnn.org and www.J-Learning.org), the New Voices community media grant program (www.j-newvoices.org), the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism (www.j-lab.org), and the McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative (www.newmediawomen.org).