The Knight Foundation is putting $345,000 into Project Liberty, a digital media incubator housed in the headquarters of Interstate General Media, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.
Knight “supported the initial launch,” its release says; clients at the incubator “receive access to Philly.com, Inquirer.com and PhillyDailyNews.com as a platform for launching their new products.”
Knight’s press release says Philly.com “has incorporated several innovations from current and former incubator residents.”
For example, tapCLIQ’s mobile relationship management and advertising platform has been integrated into Philly.com’s mobile app, successfully attracting advertisers such as online grocer FreshDirect and Susquehanna Bank.
Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Knight’s Philadelphia program director, writes that Project Liberty “is a learning ground for local college students and a magnet for attracting talent to Philadelphia.”
The New York Times, Turner Broadcasting, The Boston Globe, KQED and PRX house incubators in their offices. “A lot of companies have good ideas, but they need a test to say, ‘Is this actually a viable media product?’ and I think we have this exceptional audience — this tech team based in the newsroom,” New York Times editor Aron Pilhofer told Poynter’s Mallary Tenore in January.
In related Philly digital news, Joel Mathis writes about Inquirer Social Media Director Daniel Rubin’s site The Talk, which shares photos and stories from the Inquirer (along with a daily code that gets you in to the paper’s premium site).
Inquirer.com looks like a website put together by print journalists. The Talk looks like a website put together by a web journalist. It’s more visual, more dynamic, and — in this 21st century era of personal branding — it’s built around Rubin himself. That’ll probably irritate some old-timers, but the overall effect is to give the Inquirer‘s content a fresher, more welcoming edge.