The Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network

The Center for Public Interest Journalism (CPIJ) at Temple University is the host institution for incubating the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (PPIIN) project. The vision for PPIIN is to provide the people of Greater Philadelphia with the information, analysis, and resources to demand high quality, transparent public decision-making and hold civic leaders and institutions accountable. CPIJ received a three-year, $2.4 million grant from the William Penn Foundation in November 2010 to support the launch and provide initial funding for PPIIN.


Neil Budde, CEO

Project Progress:

Since hiring Neil Budde in March, 2012, CPIJ has commenced a brief planning process to determine next steps. More on this process will be shared through this project page. In the meantime, Neil can be followed on twitter @neilbudde

PPIIN in the News:

Neil Budde to head new-media venture at Temple, February 26, 2012 (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Budde named founding CEO of new public interest network, Philadelphia Business Journal, February 23, 2012 (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Project Vision

The Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (a working title that is expected to change when the organization fully launches) is intended to:

  • Support a network of journalists interested in improving the quality of local civic discourse through quality content development and strong distribution partnerships;
  • Achieve sustainability through diverse financial support and multiple revenue streams and develop methods to assist its networked partners in doing so as well;
  • Support the expansion and diversification of civic engagement in public decision-making ;
  • Increase the public’s understanding of significant issues of public interest to Philadelphia and the region through media coverage and public discussion;
  • Increase the transparency and accountability of public institutions and officials.

To do this, PPIIN will:

  • Identify gaps in public interest news coverage;
  • Fill those gaps, either through original reporting or in collaboration with existing news entities;
  • Provide financial support to fund journalism;
  • Support a diverse news and information ecosystem to increase the audience reached by public interest journalism;
  • Convene network partners to provide field-building and technology resources and back-end services and test sustainability best practices as they are employed by networked journalism partners;
  • Incubate innovative projects (including making public interest news and information accessible through non-traditional reporting methods like data collection and provision, graphic design, mapping, etc.) with a focus on achieving sustainability.

By design, PPIIN is intended to be nimble and to leverage technology and new forms of news and information sharing to address public information deficits, some of which were likely seldom or never covered by traditional news outlets. For this reason the PPIIN planning process recognized that the first step should be the hiring of a CEO, Neil Budde. As a first step, Neil is expected to assess the existing public interest news and information ecosystem and develop strategies for seizing opportunities immediately while also building a sustainable organization for the longer term.

Until PPIIN becomes an independent non-profit organization (presumably a 501(c)3), Neil will report to the Director of the Center and receive support from its Advisory Board and project stakeholders in launching PPIIN. Among the tasks the CEO is expected to address early on are:

  • The incorporation of the PPIIN as a non-profit organization;
  • The recruitment of a board of directors for PPIIN in consultation with the Director of the CPIJ and project stakeholders;
  • The recruitment and development of a senior management team
  • Relationship-building with existing and potential public interest news and information stakeholders and producers and definition of how PPIIN will interact with news producers;
  • Assessing impact and assisting in positioning organizations to improve newsgathering processes and delivery mechanisms on the road to achieving greater sustainability;
  • Identifying opportunities for filling gaps in public interest news and information provision either through existing or new news organizations or PPIIN itself;
  • Identifying innovative ways of increasing the penetration of public interest news and information, particularly into underserved communities;
  • Development of a fundraising strategy and a sustainability plan for the organization that addresses network needs;
  • Developing a branding strategy (and likely new name) for PPIIN.

Additional project background may be found on the Journalism Collaborative project page.




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National Problems, Local Solutions.
The Center for Public Interest Journalism was created in 2010 to support programming and projects intended to improve the quantity and quality of public interest news and information in the Greater Philadelphia area.

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