AxisPhilly is a non-profit news and information organization that seeks to provide citizens of the Philadelphia region with high quality, multidimensional public interest news and information.
Our goal is to promote transparent and accountable civic leadership and engaged communities.
At AxisPhilly, we plan to go deep on issues with original reporting, data analysis and interactive tools to help you understand the issues, as well as forums to explore possible solutions.
We want to provide more context, not just more content. We are less about breaking news and more about news that breaks through. News that breaks through the clutter, interactive tools that break through to understanding, stories that reveal and illuminate the challenges facing our city and region.
The mission of AxisPhilly is to provide the essentials you need to be an informed citizen because an informed citizenry is the bedrock of our democratic system.
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.
Julia Bergman (@JuliaBergman215) is a reporter. She returns to Philadelphia after working for two years in New Mexico, first as a political reporter for the Roswell Daily Record and later as news director for KBIM Radio. Julia has a journalism degree from Indiana University and has interned at the Center for Investigative Journalism in London.
Sarah Cho (@sarahcholive) is marketing and development director. 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 interim director and editor. A Philadelphia native and an award winning journalist with decades of experience as a reporter, editor and columnist, Tom 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. Tom 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.
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.
Patrick Kerkstra (@pkerkstra) is a contributing reporter. He is a journalist with a long history of investigative reporting and political analysis. A native of California and a graduate of UCLA, Kerkstra covered city government, development, higher education and the Iraq War as a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than a decade. Kerkstra has won numerous state and local awards for his reporting, including special recognition in 2012 from the Weiss Award for Investigative Journalism for a series of stories jointly published by PlanPhilly and the Inquirer on Philadelphia’s delinquent property tax epidemic.
Carla Robinson (@phillycarla) is a contributing reporter. 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.
Isaiah Thompson (@isaiah_thompson) is a reporter. Previously, he 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.
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.