AxisPhilly is a non-profit news and information organization that seeks to ensure the citizens of the Greater Philadelphia region have high quality, multidimensional public interest news and information, transparent and accountable civic leadership and engaged communities.
At AxisPhilly, we believe in advancing new forms of journalism that make issues more understandable and compelling and that integrate new methods of involving readers. We plan to go deep on issues, providing original and curated reporting, data analysis and interactive tools to help you understand the issues as well as forums for you to explore possible solutions.
Our goal is to provide more context, not just more content. We will be less about breaking news and more about news that breaks through. News that breaks through the clutter, tools that break through to understanding, conversation that breaks through to action.
Most important, we let your voice be heard. Rather than just offering comments on articles, we create discussions around issues. We also are recruiting people who want to be part of our Public Insight Network – essentially sources who share their expertise, experiences and insights.
AxisPhilly is incorporated as the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network Inc. Its initial funding was through a $2.4 million grant from the William Penn Foundation to Temple University’s Center for Public Interest Journalism. It has applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status.
Neil Budde (@neilbudde) brings more than three decades of media experience to his role as founding CEO of AxisPhilly. Most recently, he was president of DailyMe, a start-up focused on delivering personalized news. Previously, Budde served as vice president and editor in chief of Yahoo! News and founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal Online (WSJ.com). He has more than a decade of print newspaper experience, including at USA Today, The Louisville Courier-Journal and The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Budde was also involved nationally in the Online News Association, serving on its board for five years, and The News Literacy Project, where he is a board member and treasurer.
Carla Robinson (@phillycarla) is editorial director. She brings more than 20 years of news publishing experience, half of it in Philadelphia. She is most known locally for creating “Urban Warrior,” a Philadelphia Daily News column she designed to help find practical solutions to the problems that Philadelphia residents face. Robinson also helped Philadelphia earn recognition for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation with “Boundless Philadelphia,” a web-based resource for both tourists and residents.
Casey Thomas (@caseypt) is news applications editor. Casey builds tools to help readers better understand and access public data and assists journalists with reporting projects. Previously, Casey worked at the Philadelphia Water Department, CHPlanning Ltd., and Cingular.
Solomon Jones (@solomonjones1) is senior writer and multimedia producer. He is the author of eight novels including the critically-acclaimed “Pipe Dream” (Random House), has been featured nationally by NPR and CNN Headline News. Formerly a creative writing professor at Temple University, Jones is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Essence, Newsday, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He is the creator of Words on the Street, which works with national and local partners to help students improve literacy through writing. Jones, a lifelong Philadelphian, is also a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. His latest novel is “The Dead Man’s Wife” (Minotaur Books). Listen to Solomon discuss AxisPhilly on Power99.
Isaiah Thompson (@isaiah_thompson) is a reporter at AxisPhilly. Previously, covered Philadelphia issues for City Paper for the past four years. Among his projects was the collaborative effort “The Abandoned City,” where he directed a team of reporters from PlanPhilly and TechnicallyPhilly who dug into the city’s vacant land issues. His honors include 2010 and 2011 Pennsylvania Keystone awards and a 2011 grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Previously, he was a reporter for the Miami New Times.
Pam Selle (@pamasaur) is a news application developer and community evangelist. Active in the development community as a hacker, speaker, blogger, and instructor for organizations including Girl Develop It, Pam will help connect AxisPhilly with local developers and others interested in supporting our work. She was most recently a software engineer at Paperless Post, and previously worked in political and non-profit web development.
Julia Bergman (@JuliaBergman215), reporter, returns to her hometown after two years in New Mexico, first as a political reporter for the Roswell Daily Record and later as news director for KBIM radio. She has a journalism degree from Indiana University and has interned at the Center for Investigative Journalism in London.
Jeff Frankl (@jefffrankl) is a news application developer. He studied sociology at Haverford College while hacking for the student computer group, which led him to a career in coding for social justice. Jeff also moonlights as a freelance website developer for nonprofits at frankl.org.
Sarah Cho (@sarahcholive) is office manager. Prior to joining AxisPhilly, Sarah worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Office of Technology Management. She holds a JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Tom Ferrick Jr. (@TFerrick) is an award-wining journalist with decades of experience as a reporter, editor and columnist. A Philadelphia native, Ferrick attended Temple University and worked for United Press International in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Later, he joined the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he specialized in government, politics and investigations. In his last nine years, he also served as a metro columnist. Ferrick was founder and senior editor of Metropolis, a local website that specialized in commentary and in-depth news and analysis. He is the winner of numerous journalism awards including a Polk Award and a World Hunger Award. In 1980, he was among the Inquirer reporters awarded a Pulitzer prize for coverage of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.
Emaleigh Doley (@emaleigh) heads up AxisPhilly’s litter project. She is also the Audience Engagement Editor at the urban affairs journalism publication Next City. Her civic and professional work revolves around communication – how we build connections, the stories we tell, and how we share them. She is interested in projects that interact with the public in new ways, cause a scene, work to build community or enhance city life (even greater if its all of the above). Emaleigh has a background in public relations, and has previously worked with dozens of Philadelphia-based design, museum, and cultural organizations. She is also a co-organizer of a citizen-driven effort to revitalize one Philadelphia city block through small-scale urban interventions, alongside her sister Aine. Find out what’s happening on W Rockland St.
Amanda Bennett is executive editor/projects and investigations for Bloomberg News. She was editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer from June 2003 to November 2006 and prior to that was editor of the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky. She also served for three years as managing editor/projects for The Oregonian in Portland and was a Wall Street Journal reporter for more than 20 years. She is the author of six books including “The Cost of Hope,” her memoir of the battle she and Terence B. Foley, her late husband, fought against his kidney cancer. She is a member of The Pennsylvania Women’s Forum, is on the board of advisers of the Temple University Press, and is on the board of Rosenbach Museum, a Philadelphia museum of rare books.
Art Howe is a former journalist, publisher and co-founder of two mobile technology companies — Verve Mobile and Pop Mobile. Previously, Howe led a group that acquired Village Voice Media, LLC, the nation’s leading publisher of alternative newspapers. In the 1990s, Howe was president and publisher of Montgomery Newspapers, which he built into the Philadelphia region’s largest group of suburban newspapers, magazines and specialty publications. In 1998, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher’s Association awarded Howe its inaugural Ben Franklin Award for publishing excellence. Howe began his career as a writer for a number of mid-sized and large daily newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer. His writing was recognized in a series of awards, including the Scripps Howard Public Service Award. In 1986, Howe was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Howe later directed the Inquirer’s circulation marketing and strategic planning departments.
Thomas Jacobson has been Interim Dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication since July 1, 2009. Before coming to Temple, Jacobson was at the State University of New York at Buffalo for 17 years where he served as Chair of the Department of Communication, was Interim Dean of the School of Informatics, and founding Director of the Informatics Research Center. He has also been a visiting professor at Northwestern and Cornell. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington.